Monday, May 15, 2017

How to be a Zebra on Social Media

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68

Occam’s Razor is a theory, mainly used in medical diagnoses, that simply states “If you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.” They teach med students to stop looking for the gloriously exotic diseases, and instead see the ordinary, already right in front of them. Because social media is not a one-size-fits-most commodity, I say forget the horse. Be the Zebra!

Your audience is seeking something unique and it’s up to you to provide that for them, to lead them to your site with the carrot on the stick. Did you know no two zebras are striped the same? It’s the equivalent of a human fingerprint. They are as unique as you and I are to each other. They were designed by nature to be individuals, to not play follow-the-leader.

Zebras embrace their uniqueness, even when surrounded by other zebras. Still, they stick together and look out for each other. They’ve got each other’s backs. They are, by nature, a social group.

They’re also pretty tough, and pretty determined. If they want to get from Point A to Point B, they won’t let anything stop them. But if they don’t want to go from Point A to Point B, nothing will make them move.

Now. How can you be a Zebra on social media? Figure out where your stripes are. Ask your people what they think makes you, you; and channel that focus onto your sites. Communicate. Respond. Reply. Comment. Share. Like. But do it with your own voice.

What’s the recipe? Focus on Facebook and Twitter. That’s where 100% of your audience is. Throw in a little Instagram and Pinterest for visual, and a dash of Google+ and LinkedIn for connections. If you’re really brave, YouTube, your own blog and/or website can amplify your presence significantly.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure your media is manageable both in the morsels you’re sharing and the amount of prep work it requires of you. Success with two sites is far more delicious than burning out with four or five. [And I get bonus points for adding a foodie reference here.]

Don’t be afraid to make your own noise. If you don’t announce yourself, how will others know you’re there? Remember: Word of Mouth only works if you open your mouth!

Find a way to stand out in a crowd: How do your stripes tell your story? What is your view of the world, what do you do better than others, how do you contribute to society?

By the way, do you know what a group of zebras is called? Among other names, they’re also known as a Dazzle. I am not making this up! What other group of creatures do you know of which are so incredibly unique, they can only be compared to a spectacular jewel?

So instead of following the one-size-fits-most, in-the-box parameters you think you’re confined by on social media, try coloring outside the lines. Dazzle your world by being the best individual Social Media Zebra you can be.

How will you be a Zebra this week?

With no rules and a bucket of coloring pencils,
~Molly Jo

How to be a zebra on #SocialMedia - @RealMoJo68 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Don't approach #socialmedia with a one-size-fits-most mindset - @RealMoJo68 (Click to Tweet)

Molly Jo is a writer, editor, social media ninja, and producer of the weekly Firsts in Fiction podcast. She has been featured in children’s magazines, on blogs and devotional websites, and her short stories have earned her awards and scholarships from nationally acclaimed writing programs. She is the founder of New Inklings Press and author of The Unemployment Cookbook: Ideas for Feeding Families One Meal at a Time, and other books available through her website and on Amazon.

Her current work in progress, NOLA, is a location mystery set in New Orleans and is scheduled for publication in late 2017.

You can find her on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and her blog, Frankly, My Dear . . .


  1. Molly Jo I desire to Dazzle. I need my fellow Zebras to do that. Thank you for this amazing and encouraging article. I'm praying about how I can be a Zebra and not just Black and White. Thanks again.

  2. I will never look at zebras quite the same ever again...and for this, I thank you. :)

  3. Thanks for this It encourages me to be myself online

  4. Love, love, love this, Molly Jo. A Dazzle, huh? Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. What a great and fun post. Love that they are a Dazzle! Would you believe that this past week a zebra was running around in the backyards in a neighborhood not far from where I live? I guess they caught it. I am certain that poor Mr. Zebra was only trying to express himself. Thanks, Molly Jo.

  6. My focus tends to be Facebook-Twitter. Playing around with Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn would be biting off more than I can chew these days.

  7. Well done, Molly Jo. You've truly shown your stripes this time.