What is a Quote Tweet? 8 Reasons You Should be Using Them More Often for Twitter Marketing

What is a Quote Tweet? 8 Reasons You Should be Using Them More Often for Twitter Marketing

Sometimes controversial, often misunderstood, the Quote Tweet is a phenomenal functionality that Twitter has that allows your tweet – specifically your ReTweet – to cut through the noise and add additional perspective that can help benefit both your followers and the relationship with the content creator. Knowing what is a Quote Tweet will help you leverage the power of Twitter to your greatest advantage.

When you think about it, the most important aspect of a Quote Tweet is that it enhances conversations. After all, a simple response sometimes gets lost in translation, if readers can’t find what the responder is talking about. On the other hand, Quote Tweets make it very clear what is being discussed. About the only way that you can still lose the context is if the tweet quoted also is quoting someone else. In other words, the quotes don’t “nest” like you see on old-fashioned public discussion boards.

A Short History of the ReTweet

When Twitter was first developed, it was impossible to Tweet out something that someone else had written. Part of this was because most members Tweeted out what they were doing or thinking. However, Twitter quickly became a public discussion forum, necessitating a way to quote someone. The first ReTweet appeared 1 year after Twitter launched when some manually added an “RT” in front of the tweet. In this form, ReTweeting was similar to citations in a paper, or adding quotation marks online.

However, this methodology was crude. For one thing, all the “RT” did was indicate that something wasn’t your original thought. It didn’t necessarily say where you got the Tweet from, which partially defeated the purpose. 2 1/2 years after heavy Twitter users were used to manually copying a tweet and adding a “RT” in front of it, Twitter launched the ReTweet button. When used, it identifies the original poster. This has made having conversations much easier.

So What is a Quote Tweet?

what is a _____?

In brief, a Twitter realized that the ReTweet button did not allow users to add context to the tweet, and when they did try to add an opinion using “RT” the character limit would severely limit what could be said. This is true because the quoted characters would count towards the overall limit. For this reason, people could only quote a small piece of an original Tweet if they wanted to add to those thoughts.

Naturally, Twitter users wanted better. So, 5+ years after launching the ReTweet button, Twitter added an option when selecting the ReTweet button to do a traditional ReTweet or a Quote Tweet.  The difference is that a Quote Tweet will include an image of the original Tweet. A Quote Tweet then is a ReTweet that allows you to embed your own comments above the original tweet and publish both to your followers. This way, everyone can see the context behind a Tweet.

What is the Difference Between a Retweet and a Quote Tweet?

Knowing the answer to what is a quote Tweet requires understanding all the differences between it and a ReTweet. Simply put, when you ReTweet it puts the original tweet and content creator front and center and allows their tweet to be in focus while the ReTweeter only appears at the top in mention. Think of the ReTweeter as saying “hey this is cool, but I don’t have anything important to add.” You can also see this as somewhat similar to sharing something on Facebook without commenting.

On the other hand, the Quote Tweet puts the person who is ReTweeting and their comment in equal prominence. Unfortunately, some people find that this method of interacting with someone else’s work detracts from the original. This is why the use of this Quote Tweet by many artists who say this impacts their presence on Twitter in a negative way. Because so much work comes in via Twitter, a few find that this change is an existential threat.

With that said, one thing to note is that Twitter will only allow you do either ReTweet OR Quote Tweet someone else’s tweet. This means that you should consider which option better suits your purposes. If you really don’t have anything important to say, then consider simply ReTweeting or commenting. On the other hand, if there’s a substantive addition you want to make, then quoting may be better.

What is the Difference Between a Quote Tweet and a Reply?

Keep in mind, there are more options than ReTweet and Quote Tweet. In particular, you can reply to a Tweet. This lets you interact with content in ways that don’t involve sending out a complete Tweet. In particular you can send a reply. On Twitter, a reply is simply when you tweet at a user and reply to their tweet. The comments will still be seen when viewing the original tweet, but your followers won’t see the reply unless they are also following that person.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind: replies are featured in a separate tab which is not the default tab on your Twitter profile, making them less prominent. In other words, they don’t get seen nearly as much, and it’s harder to distribute replies further. This is something which you should consider when deciding how to respond to a certain Tweet.

Finally, part of the answer to what is a quote Tweet is that the quote Tweet allows everyone to see the original tweet you are replying to. This helps to build more engagement with your followers because of the additional context. Look at it this way: would you prefer to engage with something that has kept its context, or something that’s “out there” in the wild?

8 Reasons Why You Should Use the Quote Tweets Feature More Often

Unlike the artists who feel that Quote Tweets detract from their art, as a marketing professional you should love these. One of the biggest reasons for this is the degree to which people can see both the original AND the add-on material. Plus, there’s no disadvantage to the way in which Quote tweets are displayed. As you will see from these examples of what is a Quote Tweet, they are a highly effective tool. Plus, you never know when a well-done quote will produce an evergreen Tweet.

1. Your Quote is supported by Twitter and thus super easy to use to ReTweet!

Your Quote is supported by Twitter and thus super easy to use to ReTweet!

One of the great things about watching Twitter over the years is seeing how well they have evolved, and despite this, remain easy to use. Since Twitter is an important way for people to debate an issue in public, ease of use is an important factor, both for content creators and engagement. Plus, Twitter moves along in close to real time. This means that there’s very little tolerance for difficulty in use.

2. Quoting lets you add your unique perspective.

An awesome answer to what is a Quote Tweet is a tweet that allows you to add your perspective to the ReTweet in an attractive way in the Twitter user interface. For one thing, you have plenty of space to react to whatever the initial poster has to say. The original Tweet in your Quote Tweet does not count towards the 280-character limit. As an added plus, it’s obvious what you have to say in response to the original poster, rather than the line between them being blurred.

3. Quoting gives room for additional creativity.

Quoting gives room for additional creativity.

Using a Quote Tweet also allows you to easily add your GIF, video, or photo to the ReTweet to make it more of a “remix” type of content. For example, you can give humorous commentary on the contents of the original Tweet. Or, you might decide that happenings at your company are a great example of the original Tweeter’s point: complaints about the troubles on airlines these days, for instance, could be leveraged quite skillfully by a company that seeks to make travelling easier.

Here’s another great time to use this technique: When people talk about the problems which your company is working on. In a situation like this, you can post a video about what steps are being taken to solve the problem. Traditional energy companies, which are under a lot of pressure from renewables, are also developing more sustainable technology. A Quote Tweet might give an opportunity to talk about this.

4. Prominence of your combined content.

As I mentioned above, a reply to someone’s Tweet has very limited visibility. People can find it if they view the original, but your followers won’t see it otherwise. Furthermore, traditional ReTweets are less visible than original Tweets. On the other hand, one answer to “what is a Quote Tweet” is “original content that builds on someone else’s.”

As a result, Twitter doesn’t “penalize” this kind of engagement. Therefore, your tweet will appear more prominently in the Twitter feed. It will ultimately be out there for everyone to see. A Quote Tweet is ultimately a great cross between originality and interaction that Twitter seems eager to encourage.

5. You’ll get better notifications

You’ll get better notifications

While a Quote Tweet will probably never rank among your top Tweets, they are nonetheless more important than basic ReTweets. As a recognition of this, Twitter displays these more prominently in your follower’s notifications than a typical ReTweet. In turn, if someone quotes YOUR Tweet, you’ll get these notices closer to the top.

Here’s where the real magic happens. While this isn’t as important with text-only commentary, if you leave something more creative then the higher ranked notifications reward you for the extra effort. So, while some people complain about dilution concerns, the fact that someone puts this level of effort into engagement means a lot.

6. Quote Tweets don’t lose track of the content creator.

Part of the answer to what is a Quote Tweet is “a Tweet that honors the original content creator.” This is especially valuable when you want to curate content. After all, most content creators love to have their creations shared with other users. It increases their visibility and shows that what they have to say is valuable. In particular, they can see that you went out of your way to leave a virtual “comment” on the content they shared and may be more effective at engaging with them.

Engaging with content creators is also important if you want to do influencer marketing. Looking for content that’s relevant to your brand helps you with influencer discovery. In addition, influencers typically like to work with brands that have already engaged with their content.  This demonstrates that you want a long-term relationship, rather than a casual shoutout.

7. Using quote tweets also allows you to recycle content intelligently

Using quote tweets also allows you to recycle content intelligently

In this case, I’m talking about your past Tweets, rather than someone else’s.  By doing this, you can show how things that you have said in the past is still relevant today. Alternatively, you can “update” a point you made earlier.

8. Quote Tweets are perfect for responding to questions in Twitter Chats

Another answer to what are Quote Tweets is an excellent way to send targeted responses in questions. For instance, let’s say that you are working for a chain retail brand. Last year there were a lot of store closings in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns. In turn, Twitter was an important source of information on which stores were closing, and where. A Twitter Chat that tracks something like this can easily benefit from Quote Tweets, because it makes responding about a particular location easier. For instance, you can quote a tweet for each location.

At the end of the day, knowing what are Quote Tweets is a major advantage on many fronts. It helps you recycle and interact with content in more effective ways. Quoting also enhances engagement, both with your content and those of others. Finally, quoting has a special use for customer service and other chats.

Hero photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. valuable piece; I’ve been quote tweeting w/o realizing it lol.

    We know the new algo X from last week values replies over likes and RTs; are Quotes valued the same as an RT now? i.e. less value than a Reply?

    • Thanks! While I do not have proof, generally speaking the more effort you put in to personalize it – rather than making it look automated – would tend to perform better. That is why I would imagine that Quote Tweets would be valued higher than a normal ReTweet because you are adding your own thoughts to it instead of just clicking a button like a Like or RT. Make sense?

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