The @ Symbol
The @ symbol on Twitter, when not in an email address, is generally directly followed by a Twitter user’s handle. For example: @YourCompanyName or @YourCustomer1234. You can use it to reply to your customer (or potential customer) who may have just tweeted about your company or a product you offer.
The best way to think of it is the @ is a way to hold a public conversation with another tweeter. It lets the Twitterverse know who you are talking to, and the person you are talking to will know that you are talking to them. It’s kind of like talking in a crowd, you have to shout “Hey!” first to get someone’s attention. Once they know someone’s talking to them, it’s easier to keep the conversation flowing. The placement of your @ mention will determine who sees your tweet.
EXAMPLE #1: THE @REPLY
“Wow, just tried #YourProduct, best thing ever!”
You could respond with an “@Reply” tweet, where you start by “@” mentioning the customer:
“@YourCustomer1234 thanks so much for trying #YourProduct, we are so glad you like it.”
When you start a tweet with an @ like this, the tweet will show up on your Profile, the recipient’s Mentions and Interactions tabs, and in the Home feeds of all users who are following both you AND the person you are @Replying to. This type of tweet assures that your conversation is a little less public. To get your @ tweets seen by more eyes, see the next example.
EXAMPLE #2: THE @MENTION
“Looking for a good #product.”
You could respond with a tweet that includes an “@Mention”:
“We’ve got you covered, @YourCustomerName1138 – you should try #YourProduct it is a great #product!”
Notice that in this example, the @ mention comes later in the tweet. This makes it so that ALL of your followers can see this tweet on your Profile and in their Home feeds, in addition to the recipient of the mention.
A simple way of assuring that all of your followers can see your @Replies is to put a period in front of the @, like this:
“.@YourCustomerName1138 you should try #YourProduct it is a great #product!”
That one extra “.” at the beginning of this tweet makes it technically an @Mention (as opposed to an @Reply), making it viewable to more of the Twitterverse.