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Basic Twitter Terms for Business: What the Tweet Does that Mean?

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Twitter is a powerful marketing tool for any size or type of business, and for those new users, wading through the Twitter jargon can be extremely confusing and daunting.

Understanding the basic terminology will not only help you produce effective and engaging tweets, but it will also help you reach your ideal market or audience in the Twitterverse (the Twitter community).

Twitter

A revolutionary social networking website, Twitter allows users to post short, 140-character "microblogs" on any subject.

Username/Handle

The Twitter account name, much like a website domain name. Businesses typically use part or their entire company name as the username. In some cases, businesses may use their tagline as the account name.

Further, many businesses have sub-Twitter accounts for different parts of the business. For example, @SimplyCastNews can be an account solely used for updating followers on the goings-on in the business.

Tweet

Your 140-character "microblog," and can also be referred to as "I'm tweeting" or "I just tweeted our updates on the product launch."

@

The "at" sign is used to respond directly to another user or for other tweeters to respond to you, creating a link, as in "Great presentation @SimplyCast!" Not only does this Tweet appear on your Twitter stream, it is posted on SimplyCast's Twitter page.

"@" is also considered a "mention."

#

A "hashtag" is possibly the most crucial and useful feature of twittering. "#" designates keywords in a tweet, allowing for the Twitterverse to search everything under that subject matter. "New #marketing tools are now available at our website."

Essentially, any user searching for anything "marketing" related will have access to your Twitter stream. Though, don't get too carried away with too many #keywords in a single Tweet. Try to keep "#'s" to a minimum of two per Tweet.

Follow

Users can subscribe to any Twitter account, receiving tweets and updates.

As mentioned in one of our earlier blog posts, some new users think that by having a ridiculous number of followers makes your Twitter stream more relevant. Avoid this, and also try not to break out your contact list and follow everyone you've ever met. Follow industry leaders, relevant industry news feeds, clients and customers.

Retweet

Commonly shortened to "RT," the retweet is exactly as it sounds: you retweet a tweet from someone you follow that you find to be relevant and newsworthy to your followers.

This is very powerful for businesses, where a tweet you posted can be retweeted many times, reaching new clients.

Direct Message

Or, known as a "DM," is a personal Twitter dialogue between two users, ideal for private communication between clients, vendors or customers.

As Twitter etiquette stands, always send a direct message to a new follower or someone who gave your business a shout-out. "@SimplyCast,  Impressed with your customer service!" Remember that with any direct message, the "@SimplyCast" is counted as a part of your 140-character limit.

Watch for more tips on Twitter marketing and other online strategies in future blogs.

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