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How to Survive in the Social Media Jungle (Know Your Animal)

by David · 0 comments

To the uninitiated, social media is a jungle of unknown languages and platforms, with a river of updates constantly and steadily flowing through.

It’s a place of adventure and opportunity, of risk and danger.

Even to the experienced explorer, a guidebook is essential in navigating the trees, vines, rivers, crazy bugs and wild animals.

And as in the Jungle Book, there are tigers, snakes, apes, panthers, elephants, vultures and bears.

Which animal are you?

The Tiger (Be Yourself)

Tigers are fierce and lonesome. They do their own thing and don’t much care what other people think.

They have thousands or millions of followers, yet only follow back a handful of people. They do what they do, and say what they say, and they don’t care if they like it or loathe it.

Beware if you cross them; they can pounce on you with the full, fierce force of their following.

What to learn from the tigers: First things first on social media, be unapologetically yourself. Your followers will respect you for letting your true self show.

What you can do better than tigers: When people follow you, follow them back. That shows you care about the social part of social media, and you want to engage with your followers.

The Elephant (Be Organised)

Elephants patrol the forest in military fashion (“keep it hup, two, three, four”). For elephants, the most important thing is keeping everything organised and in its place.

The only problem with elephants is they’re not the most exciting company. Being too regimented, you can lose your sense of spontaneity and adventure.

What to learn from the elephants: Performing well on social media takes organised, regular work. Set aside time every day to update your social media accounts. Scheduled tweets and updates give your social media accounts a reliable, steady rhythm.

What you can do better than elephants: Let your hair down and have a good time. In other words, join the apes and the monkeys.

The Ape (Hangin’ Around)

The monkeys of the jungle simply love to hang out and have good times. The jungle is their playground, a place to make friends, laugh and have fun.

What you can learn from the apes: Sometimes it’s jut good to hang out on social media and have yourself a good time. Have a laugh, and have fun.

What you can do better than the apes: Apes are easily distracted by shiny objects (fire, anyone?). They can end up wasting time chasing irrelevant subjects. Keep your updates and conversation within your social media niche.

The Snake (Be Cunning)

Snakes are cunning and wily. They know what they want (to eat you for lunch), and they know how to get it (by attracting you with their hypnotic movements). They don’t let foibles about the ethics of their behavior get in the way of achieving their goals.

They’ll use any trick in the book to get ahead, whether that means doing the right thing or the wrong thing.

Lessons from the snake: It’s good to chase what you want on social media, and use tools and shortcuts (such as headline hacks and tracking your metrics) to get it.

How you can do better than snakes: The social media jungle is made up of people. If you tread on their toes to get ahead, they won’t forget. Betray people’s trust, and everyone will lose faith in you.

The Panther (Stealth Mode)

The panther moves silently through the jungle, stalking its prey. No one knows the panther is there until suddenly it POUNCES.

The panther hides under the radar, and only appears when it needs to in a sudden blaze of glory.

What you can learn from the panther: Not everything you do on social media has to be stand out material. Sometimes it’s good to be ordinary and blend into the background. That way, when you do something special, people are more likely to sit up and take notice.

Can you do better?: If the panther always hides in the background, it will never catch its prey, and ultimately it will starve to death. Even if you enjoy camouflage, be sure to throw it off from time to time to do something extraordinary.

The Vulture (Feeding on others’ success)

Vultures never kill their own prey. Instead, they let other animals sweat and risk for the kill, then enjoy the spoils. They’re the jungle’s rejects, but the fact is, they survive, and they serve a purpose.

What you can learn from vultures: Piggybacking on the success of others can help you get ahead faster. Sometimes it’s the only way to get ahead. It’s totally okay to ask A-listers to endorse you if they’ve got good reason to, or to jump on the wagon of news that’s trending in your niche. Just don’t make piggybacking your sole twitter strategy.

Don’t be a slimy vulture: Some Twitter accounts simply spew out popular posts from A-list blogs on auto-pilot. Don’t do that. It’s not a good way to build an engaged audience, and if you’re only sharing other people’s content, what are you bringing to the party that your followers can’t get elsewhere?

The Bear (Oh Wow!)

Bears are excited by everything. To bears, all things are wonderful. (“if you look under the rocks and plants and take a glance at the fancy ants…!”). Bears have no worries and enjoy a good dance and sing song.

Lessons from the bear: Be enthusiastic and excited. That’s contagious, and people will come back for more.

What you can do better: Bears are gullible creatures, and they’ll get excited about anything, whether it’s good for them or not. In your dealings on social media, only get excited about the good stuff. That will cement you a solid reputation for being reliable and a fun person to hang out with.

Dance to the Jungle Drums

Next time you’re wandering through the jungle of social media, look out for the different animals. Which animal behaviors are you drawn to? Which drive you crazier than a swarm of marauding bees?

Whatever you do, always bring some primal vibe from the jungle to your updates.

David is Social Caffeine’s acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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