If we liken social media to water, people’s social media attitude and behaviour can be categorised into the following: frogs, ducks, dogs and goats.
Frogs can spend most of their time in water; they can sleep, eat, breath and excrete in water. Similarly, there are people who, subject to availability of Internet connection, spend more than half of their waking hour checking for and making social media updates. The social media frog is often emotionally attached to social media and will refer to followers or friends as “my social media family.” Because of the emotional involvement, social media frogs do not use social media as a business communication tool.
Ducks love water but they are more intentional with getting into water unlike frogs. Ducks are the best people in using social media for business. Among Ugandan users of Facebook, I think Amos Wekesa is an excellent social media duck. I doubt if Amos’ tour and travel business does any advertisement on TV and in newspapers. But every week, Amos makes very informative posts on Facebook that has done a lot of good for both his business and the tourism sector. With thousands of followers and ability to directly exchange views with the public, Amos has become the de facto Tourism Ambassador for Uganda.
There are other Ugandan ducks on twitter such as: Mr Kabushenga with his consistent and informative posting on coffee farming and Charles Onyango Obbo who hooked me to a South African newspaper because of his tweets. In Sheila Nduhikire, NTV got itself a very good duck too.
Dogs are able to swim but they rarely get into water. Social media dogs are people who are reserved users of social media but whenever they make a post or comment it creates a lot of interest. Dogs can consider becoming ducks because they have the knack for social media. The Right Honourable Amama Mbabazi was a dog who almost became a duck on twitter.
When I tended goats during my primary school days, getting a goat to cross a stream was one of the most difficult tasks. On seeing the stream, the goat would dig its hooves into the ground and even if you pull the rope to the point of strangling it would not budge. Social media goats fear social media either out of past experience or hearsay.
I belong to a group that has 25 members. All the members except one man are on WhatsApp. That one man is a typical social media goat, often someone has to call him to brief him on what is being discussed on social media.
Irrespective of what your social media personality is, it is a grave mistake to ignore social media. Be knowledgeable and have a strategy for using social media as a business tool. Do everything to avoid being a frog or goat.
James Abola is a business and finance consultant and coach. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org