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There are so many different social media networks, it is often difficult to identify which one is more suited to promoting your organisation. Some of the significant differences between, and purposes of, each social network have already been discussed, but your actual choice of network will probably depend on the socio-cultural context of the social media platforms.

There are a number of differences between Facebook and Twitter, the two biggest platforms, and keeping this in mind is important when deciding your social media strategy. You need to use the right tools to engage your audience in the best way possible to maintain ongoing social relationships.

In Twitter, hashtags, trends and general conversations are constantly changing and updated as a real-time conversation. With Facebook, ‘timeless’ information and sharing means that conversation threads are easier to follow. Twitter is also better for directing traffic onto trending topics, whilst Facebook focuses more on relationship building.

The aspects that allow you to distinguish between these platforms as a means of reaching your audience are:

  • Content duration
  • Connections
  • Optimal posting time
  • Culture

Content Duration

On Facebook, the interaction on a status update can go on for hours and days. The more people comment, the more visible it is to others. The message history is recorded in one place. With Twitter, however, the maximum content duration is about 1-2 hours. Twitter is more akin to a real-time conversation, constantly changing with instant news, while Facebook is more of an ongoing conversation,

This graphic shows a cartoon figure descending a fire-escape, pursued by flames. It features the legend "In case of fire, exit building BEFORE tweeting about it"."

without being focused on time expiry.


Whilst Facebook is all about sharing photos, videos and content in a social context with friends and families; Twitter is more about networking with others on current topics – whether significant or otherwise – so the connection can be more detached.

Optimal Posting Time

Identifying the right time to post is important in targeting your audience, as users are typically on different social media sites at different times of day. Studies indicate that 5:00 pm is the optimal time for tweeting, while noon seems to be the time when Facebook status updates get the most attention. Wednesdays are more popular for tweets, while Saturdays are more popular for Facebook posting. This suggests an obvious point of difference, with current news content on Twitter versus the entertainment aspect of Facebook.


Case Study: Education Sector – The Cyber Safety Lady

The Cyber Safety Lady, Leonie Smith, says it’s important to be informed of “when to post, when’s the best time of the day, the best time of the week”.



Each social media platform has a particular ‘socio-cultural’ aspect. This culture is mainly decided by how the mass audience uses the site, and what trends people engage with.

Facebook is a lot more visual; as posts have a longer duration when people see an image, your organisation may use this to drive content-heavy posts. On Twitter, the lifespan of each tweet is very short and can easily get lost in real-time conversation, so posts may be more frivolous.

Case Study: Arts Sector – Helen Perris

Singer, song writer and music teacher, Helen Perris uses her “social media channels really differently to each other.” On her Facebook music page, she focuses solely on her music and her experiences as a musician. She posts about: “gigs coming up or songs that I’m writing.”However on her Twitter account, she is a lot more personable, “It’s about me, the whole person.” This includes her “my music, my acting, my kids, my teaching and... successes that I’ve had with students and things”. She does this so followers get a sense of the whole person, and finds that engaging with her audience “makes them more interested in what I’m doing.”


Case Study: Education Sector – The Cyber Safety Lady

The Cyber Safety Lady Leonie Smith says: “Choose a social media platform that is recommended for your industry, because not all social media platforms are the same.” She advises to start on one platform first, before moving to other platforms.


Administrators and business owners need to be well-informed about the various social platforms capacity to help them reach their goals with relevant audiences, whether for generating sales or achieving greater visibility.

This graphic shows a business meeting examining a graph. The presenter is saying: "Our Social Media is buzzing. We are trying to understand what it means!"

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