Speaking as a practitioner, I would venture a guess that social media pros rank Gary Vaynerchuk’s book in the top 10 of their preferred social media resources. His energy and expertise make this a fun read. Like his prior book, Crush It!, some of my students rave about his blunt and inspiring writing style. As an academic, however, I find it difficult to justify its very narrow coverage of social media strategy topics.
The book, in my opinion, does qualify academically as a supplementary reading for undergraduate level and MBA programs. The recommendation is based on the following:
- Gary is a real pro when it comes to advertising and social engagement. You can thoroughly trust his expertise in a broad range of media tactics. His own wine related video blog is testimony of his great success in social media
- The book is written in a very practical and transparent voice that strikes a chord with young students. Gary’s wit and cheeky barbs add a lot of reading excitement.
- The critiquing of numerous mini-cases across each of the major visual platforms lends itself well to concept understanding. He also wraps up every social media case chapter with key takeaways.
- The book is highly current and relevant to visual media.
What keeps the book, however, from qualifying higher as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.
- The subject matter is too narrow to cover more than one or possibly two classes.
- Like Michael Stelzner’s primary and nuclear fuel tactics, Gary’s jab and right hook examples are merely “mindset tactics.” This may serve well in select skill based exercises, but hardly qualifies for knowledge based exercises required in strategy development.
- Although the brand examples of what works and what doesn’t work are very pictorial and explanatory, it is difficult to frame the critique. Some are critiqued for advertising effectiveness (e.g., need bigger logos, etc.), while others are critiqued for engagement. It would have helped if the cases were used to exemplify one aspect of “jab, jab, right hook” at a time.
- Fitting exercises, quizzes and essays to the concept of ”jab, jab, right hook” would be a challenge. It is not clear from the examples what constitutes a good jab and right hook. i.e., As convincing as the concept may seem, it lacks a framework and baseline for critical thinking exercises at the MBA level.
Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book
Category: Recommended supplementary reading for MBA/undergraduate in social media marketing or IMC.
So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.