A LifeWay Social subscriber received the March strategy guide called 5 Simple Steps to Getting Started on Video Content and emailed me with an important question: “What is the difference between Facebook and YouTube’s cultures?”
He asked this because I explained in the monthly strategy guide that the quality and or substance of your video content may need to vary depending on if you are posting video to Facebook or YouTube because the cultures are different.
How are Facebook’s and YouTube’s cultures different? Here are three ways:
1. The creators are different.
Facebook and YouTube are both social media platforms. Most people understand that Facebook is a social media platform, but few understand YouTube in the same way. For the longest time, I simply viewed YouTube as a platform to host video content (like Vimeo, for instance). YouTube is so much more than that. YouTube has its own culture, its own drama, its own dynamics.
Facebook and YouTube have such broad user bases it is hard to lump them all into one category demographically or otherwise. But, generally speaking, Facebook creators tend to be older and more conservative (in life, politics, and otherwise) than YouTube creators.
Also, Facebook is more of a level playing field than YouTube. Sure, anyone can start a YouTube channel, but not everyone gets noticed. On Facebook, the primary purpose is to connect with people around content. On YouTube, the primary purpose is to create the content itself, and then community follows in the wake of that.
In broad brush strokes:
Facebook creators are middle-aged conservatives connecting with friends around content they share.
YouTube creators are young entertainers creating edgy content for the sake of pushing artistic and sociological boundaries.
It is almost nonsensical to call Facebook users “creators” because they aren’t set apart from the audience in the same way YouTube creators are. The “creators” on both platforms are different simply because the mediums themselves are different.
If the creators on these two platforms are different, you better believe the audiences are as well.
2. The audiences are different.
It is hard to separate “creators” and “audiences” on social media platforms, because the two groups of people often overlap.
On Facebook, the audience is the everyman. Everyday people use Facebook. Like the creators, the audience on Facebook is going to trend older, but that doesn’t mean teenagers aren’t on Facebook. It just isn’t dominated by teenagers.
An “audience” on Facebook is often just a user’s peers, acquaintances, or friends. For a brand, the Facebook audience is going to be people bought into your brand. In the same way it is hard to call Facebook users “creators,” it is difficult to call them “audiences” in the same way there are YouTube audiences.
YouTube attracts younger audiences than Facebook across the board. Obviously, some content on YouTube is geared more toward older audiences, but most of the trending and most popular content on the platform is content that is geared toward college students, teenagers, and children.
If you’re wanting to create video content for the internet and you are not sure if you should create content on YouTube or Facebook, you have to consider your audience.
Are you trying to reach a more middle-aged audience, perhaps with more conservative values? Create on Facebook.
Are you trying to reach a younger, edgier audience? Create on YouTube.
These are generalizations, and their are plenty of exceptions to the advice I am giving here. But it must be understood that Facebook audiences and YouTube audiences tend to be very different.
3. The expectations are different.
Facebook is a place to connect with friends and brands you love. YouTube is an open-source television channel with thousands of TV shows and the opportunity for anyone to start their own.
Historically, video content on Facebook has been able to be a bit less formal and more impromptu than video content on YouTube.
Because YouTube is a social media platform built entirely around video, the production expectations for YouTube content are higher than they are for Facebook content.
For instance, I can get away with using an iPhone camera for Facebook Live videos, but I shouldn’t use an iPhone camera to build a YouTube page. I could, but it is better to use a fancier camera for YouTube content, perhaps even some professional lighting.
Generally speaking, people expect YouTube videos (other than goofy viral videos) to be a bit more professionally produced than Facebook videos.
This has been true historically, but I must admit that the line is starting to blur a bit. Expectations for Facebook videos are getting higher because of the prevalence of video on the platform.
So, those are a few ways Facebook and YouTube’s cultures are different. There are many more, and I will explain all of this in more detail in my LifeWay Social Insider video this week.
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Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.