One of the biggest misunderstandings when it comes to Twitter is the difference between a mention and a reply. Most people think that they are the same thing but they are actually very different and can have a huge impact on the reach and visibility of your content. So I wanted to help bring clarity to this confusion so you can ensure maximum exposure for your content.

What is a Twitter Reply?

When we want to have a quick conversation with someone on Twitter or when we are responding to a tweet we tend to use the “REPLY” method.

A reply is a tweet starting with the “@” followed by a Twitter handle.

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When a tweet starts off with the @TwitterHandle the tweet is semi private and does not go out to all of your followers. The only people who will see this tweet are people who follow both your account and the person that you are tweeting. This limits the exposure of your message so that only a fraction of your followers will see it.

If you want to have a quick conversation on Twitter but don’t want to annoy your followers with your tweets to that one person using this method is perfect.

Where a lot of people make a mistake is when they want to give recognition to a company or person in their tweet for others to see but start their tweet of with the twitter handle. What you should do is MENTION them in a tweet.

What is a Twitter Mention?

A mention is constructed the same way as a reply, as long as the “@TwitterHandle” is not the first thing in the tweet.

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By placing the Twitter handle somewhere else in the tweet it makes your tweet public for all of your followers to see yet will still notify the person that you are mentioning in the tweet.

What you will sometimes see people do is start a tweet off with a period “.” followed by the Twitter handle. By putting the period in front of the twitter handle the tweet becomes public.

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It’s important to also know that if someone goes to your Twitter profile they will still be able to view all of the tweets and replies you sent regardless of which method you used, so you still want to avoid sending personal information like emails and phone numbers.

So, next time you want to mention someone in your Tweet think: Do I want this to go out to all of my followers or not? Then decide which method is best—“reply” if you don’t want all of your followers to potentially see it or “mention” if you do want all of your followers to potentially see it.