While Facebook and Twitter share certain similarities in that they’re both social networks where you can post and consume information, they’re actually two very different platforms. In a nutshell, Twitter tends to be a public, real-time feed of short thoughts, whereas Facebook is a more private network used to catalog information and ideas with friends and family. Now, Twitter has around 20% of the Internet population using it, and it’s most popular with the 18 through 29 crowd. It’s slightly biased towards women, but not by much.
Twitter is great for short, rapid communication, and it tends to be a top choice for consumers looking to get support, or provide a shout-out to brands. Twitter also has impressive mobile saturation, with around 30% of Twitter users checking their feeds, multiple times throughout the day, from a mobile device. Facebook boasts the highest percentage of users who graduated from college, so you’ll find a strong middle class represented. If your brand appeals to those ages 24 to 50, there’s an opportunity here.
Now, younger users are shifting away from Facebook and joining Instagram, or Snapchat, to communicate digitally. As for the gender ratio, it’s fairly well split between male and female users. You can be on both networks simultaneously, but understanding these differences between the two will help you determine the right strategy, so, when we think about strategy, consider that Twitter content has a short life span. Almost 90% of all engagement on a tweet happens within the first hour, and that number might shift if you do get re-tweeted by a significant brand or a person.
Now, Facebook status updates, on the other hand, can live on for several days. Facebook delivers content when it thinks it’s most relevant to a particular user. Think of Facebook as an ongoing conversation, and Twitter as a real-time instantaneous one. As you explore when and how frequently to post content, you’ll find that both networks have different optimal posting times. These times will be dependent on your audience, your geographic location, and the category of business you operate within.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend exploring both networks. Twitter is a great place for handling customer service, and providing short updates as they relate to your brand. Facebook is an excellent area to share in-depth content, and create conversations around particular topics. As we continue in this course, the differences between Facebook and Twitter will become more and more evident.