Twitter today launched a "tweet" button for businesses to incorporate on their websites.

It was only a matter of time. After Facebook launched its very successful "like" button to help websites boost traffic and ultimately sales, as the Wall Street Journal reported, a similar Twitter button that allowed third party sites to leverage tweets to promote products seemed inevitable. Twitter today launched a "tweet" button for businesses to incorporate on their websites.

Twitter officials explain in a YouTube video that the tweet button "is the easiest way to share content with followers around the web." It's good for consumers because they can share URLs with the click of a mouse without navigating away from pages, but it may be even better for businesses.

Not only does the tweet button enable brands to easily get their content retweeted, but it also lets them promote their own Twitter accounts and establish themselves as thought leaders. When web visitors click to tweet, the hosting websites can encourage them to follow their brands on Twitter. Plus, the tweet button serves as a good consumer referral service. The tweet button gives websites a comprehensive count of how frequently a URL is shared, regardless of whether it is through the tweet button, on or through other sites.

These features make the tweet button different from the little green retweet button [] already on a number of websites. The retweet button measured how many consumers had shared a link on Twitter without giving them the option to directly retweet.

To add the tweet button to their sites, marketers have to follow three straightforward steps on the Tweet Button Twitter page.

This new social plugin could really benefit businesses in light of the latest report from comScore, which indicates that Twitter now reaches 11.9 percent of U.S. consumers. Still, marketers who really want to establish their brands as thought leaders among consumers should remember that only quality content will merit retweets among online shoppers.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.