How to Reply on Twitter

In our previous post, Promote Yourself: Get Retweeted, we took a quick look at how to promote your Twitter account, and how to get retweeted.

In this post, we continue the Twitter series with a discussion of how to reply to messages on Twitter, as well as a word of caution about Direct Messages.

AttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by Luca Zappa

How to Reply

We briefly touched on replying via Twitter — start your tweet with @ and the user’s handle. Twitter automatically fills this in for you if you use the Website.

We’d like you to think before you reply, because by default, Twitter doesn’t include the content of the message you’re replying to. You should always remember when replying that your reply will be a public tweet, but without any context, nobody else will have any idea what you’re talking about, like this actual tweet: “@puppydog: Maybe in Montana!!! LOL.” That may be OK with you, but if your entire twitter stream is comprised of incomprehensible non sequitur replies to your tweeps, who’s going to want to follow you?

Be sensitive to others who may be reading your stream when replying, and if it really is nobody’s bus­iness what you’re saying, make the tweet a direct message (known as a DM) by placing a D as the first character. Be sure to use a D and not a DM. If DM is the first characters of a message, the message is a normal, public tweet.

Be Careful of Direct Messages

You are not likely to have a personal relationship with all of your followers. You may follow them back because they seem interesting, or because you’d like to get more followers. Thus you need to be careful about clicking on links from DMs. There have been many spam and phishing attempts via DM, so be aware that the URL in the tweet — especially a shortened URL — could go to a malware site.

If you’re not quite sure what we were saying in the last paragraph, here are some definitions:

  • Spam — delicious pork product
  • Phishing — messages pretending to be from a trusted source that try to get your account info
  • Malware — viruses, spyware, keystroke loggers — any type of program with a bad intent

Twitter will help you see where you’ll be taken if you click on a shortened link. Simply mouse over the link and up will pop a little balloon with the full URL.

Next up: Twitter Do’s

How to Reply on Twitter is the 113th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 310. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances


About NextPhase Selling

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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