Twitter vs Facebook: Which one should you be using?
This post is split into two parts:
Twitter and Facebook are often seen as the same type of channel, of which only one is relevant - ‘you should be on either Twitter or Facebook’. This is simply not true. In short, you should be on both.
Appearance-wise, they may look similar. Both have a profile picture, header image, description, links, timeline etc. But they each offer their own set of benefits and type of communication and language.
We’ve split this blog post up into two parts. [Part One] will explore the basics of the channels, and what differentiates them. [Part Two] will be a more advanced look into Twitter and Facebook - types of content, ways to advertise, psychology of users, demographics etc.
Twitter is a microblogging service that allows users to share bursts of information, known as tweets, in 140 characters or less. It has developed into a great platform to engage with prospects and current communities. Schools can use the service to show all of things happening at the school, in real-time.
That’s the key here. Twitter is all about real-time communications - what is currently happening at the school.
Twitter has becoming much more visual in its appearance. Photos and videos are being integrated into tweets much more frequently. And we are seeing more engagement with tweets that contain photos. Twitter now allows you to upload up to four photos into a single tweet.
With over 271 million active users, it is still a small but effective community for schools to use.
Facebook is the worlds largest social network, with over 1.3 billion users. The ability to develop a community on the platform is incredibly powerful. Schools should be using the platform to enhance brand, voice and community.
Facebook’s Timeline is designed to visual show photos, videos, links and other media.
The purpose of the channel is to develop a community that will advocate your school’s brand to increase awareness and publicity. This can be achieved by sharing content that resonates with the current community.
Your Facebook Page will also offer a place for prospects to discover what life at the school is like, through statuses, photos, videos and comments.
It should be used to showcase all of the great things that happen at the school.
Real-time vs Archive
Twitter is your what’s happening channel. This is what is currently going on at the school, with posts and activity from the diverse range of interests and activities at the school - sports, drama, music, art, science etc.
People in Twitter mode are fast-paced and what information now.
This is your place to tell every story that is currently developing at the school.
A good example is Bablake School - https://twitter.com/bablakeschool
Facebook is your what’s happened channel. This is where you showcase the best things that have happened recently. Not all stories will be told on Facebook, but the most exciting ones will be.
People on Facebook are in down-time and likely to be in consumption mode at the end of the day.
This is your place to tell the best stories that have happened today.
Take a look at how Bablake School do it - https://www.facebook.com/bablakeschool
In December, we explored the differences between Twitter and Facebook, and how this affects your school’s marketing. We’re now going to look deeper into who uses them, and how people use these two channels.
71% of adult internet users // 58% of entire adult population.
Facebook is still, by far, the most popular social network. However, growth has slowed (kinda inevitable when you have so many users already!) over the past year. Other platforms have seen large growth.
The only group to be growing fast on Facebook? The ‘over 65s’.
A list of who people ‘friend’ on Facebook:
- 93% of Facebook users say they are Facebook friends with family members other than parents or children
- 91% say they are Facebook friends with current friends
- 87% say they are connected to friends from the past, such as high school or college classmates
- 58% say they are connected to work colleagues
- 45% say they are Facebook friends with their parents
- 43% say they are friends with their children on Facebook
- 39% say they are connected to people they have never met in person
- 36% say they are Facebook friends with their neighbours
Facebook is surprisingly the most popular sharing platform for ‘personally created videos’. These are videos that people have taken on their smartphones, cameras etc.
23% of adult internet users // 19% of entire adult population
Yes, most people use Facebook, but 52% of internet users use two or more social media platforms.
Take a look at the social media matrix below to see platform cross-over.
Data via Pew Research Centre.
Psychology of user
Facebook has been built to be a timeline of your life. From the moment you are born, they want people to be sharing your story.
It has always been about closed connections, whereby friendship and an acceptance of request is needed. Tagging, liking, commenting, sharing… The life of Facebook is about sharing the lives of you, your friends, and your family.
Who do you connect with on Facebook?
Can you like brands, companies, organisations? Yes, of course. But would you say it is a connection? Probably not. People only Like brands for the discounts. Am I right?! Well, kinda. Here’s the real deal about why people become a fan of brands on Facebook:
And it gets more interesting when you break it down by brands themselves. Take a look:
Celebrities and public figures were introduced to Facebook - and yes, people Like or subscribe to them. But do they really ‘connect’? No, not really. It is more one-way communication.
Some brands might give a ‘behind-the-scenes’ gimpse, or showcase personality. But it is still a heavy one-way style of communication.
The Cristiano Ronaldo post is so heavily advertising, it is crazy!! But look at the numbers… Even more crazy.
That is the traditional nature of Facebook. However, people now want more; they want entertainment.
This is where Facebook has had to take inspiration for Twitter.
Twitter was built almost as the opposite of Facebook. It was a mobile-first, open platform that was available to anybody - you didn’t even need use your real name. Whereas Facebook was desktop, closed, and you had to be a real person, using your real name.
So the main difference with Twitter is that is it an open platform. It is kind of like the greatest cocktail party on Earth - and everybody is invited. You can go an mingle with anybody - even famous musicians, sports people, actors, public figures etc. They may not listen, but you’ve got your voice out there.
It allows you to communicate with anybody in the World.
So when people are at this Twitter cocktail party, they form groups and connections based on things they like:
- Personal interests
- People that entertain them
- Thought leaders
- Inspiring people
Twitter is also about content discovery. Twitter uses retweets and favourites, which encourage the viral nature of the platform.
A list of the most followed accounts on Twitter:
Interactions with other accounts are much more likely on Twitter. Take a look at some of the most popular UK accounts below, and notice how popular accounts are interacting.
Twitter seems to have much more open-interactions. And this is clearly due to its open nature.
Want to see how schools (or anyone!) are interacting on Twitter? Hit the 'Tweets & replies’ button to see.
- A great article about how each social channel was used to cover a breaking local new story in American via Gigaom.
- Comparison Chart with some useful stats/facts via Diffen
Twitter vs Facebook in Numbers [INFOGRAPHIC] via Forbes