Twitter search is really powerful. If you want to find conversations to join in with, you’ll be impressed at just how specific you can get. You can even save your searches and refer back to them.
You can use these tricks in the regular Twitter search (it’s on the top right of the screen when you’re on any Twitter page), at search.twitter.com (from which you can access the Advanced Search function) or in social media management tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
So let’s say you want to find people who are discussing shopping locally.
In the Basic search you could just type the phrase shop local – this would find tweets containing both the words “shop” and “local” but not necessarily phrased that way. This may be too broad for the topic you’re searching but a good way of discovering what’s being talked about.
It would be a better idea to be more geographically specific with the example I’ve used, as the word ‘local’ is relative. therefore also adding the word UK or Europe would narrow down where tweets are coming from and subject matter.
Twitter Advanced Search
An advanced search would probably be a better tool in this instance as you can be a lot more specific with your search criteria. The ‘Advanced search’ tab is found on the left hand side of the page, and within it you can narrow the search areas into several categories.
- Words – you can specify exactly what words or phrase you wish to search, any hashtags that include chosen words and what languages you wish to search under.
- People – you can choose specific people where the subject has been tweeted to or from their accounts. You can also select Mentions which will bring up any tweet that includes a mention of a specified account.
- Places – This allows you to geographically pinpoint the location of the subject you want to discuss, e.g. shopping in Pershore, Worcestershire.
- Dates – you can select specified dates within which you want to search. For example local shopping events on Black Friday (28/11/14) and Small Business Saturday UK (6/12/14) would be date specific events you may want to search.
- Other – Here are tick boxes allowing you to even specify whether the search brings back positive or negative tweets, specify tweets that include a question and whether or not to include retweets.
This may seem a long winded way of getting a specific result and awkward if you’re using the Twitter mobile app, Hootsuite, Sprout Social or any other social media management tool. With the right use of words and grammar the exact same results can be achieved through the basic search tool. Here’s where you can become a pro:
Exact phrase. This will find tweets containing the exact phrase “shopping locally”:
“shopping locally“ (include the quotes in your search)
One or the other. This will find tweets containing either “shopping” or “locally”, or both:
Shopping OR locally
This, but not that. By using the word NOT in your phrase you can secure tweets that don’t contain certain things. This can also be achieved by using the minus sign:
locally NOT local or locally -local.
Combine them for really specific searches. This will find tweets that contain the words “shopping” or “locally” but not the phrase ” local shops”:
Shopping OR locally NOT “local shops”
Hashtag search will find any tweets including your chosen hashtag:
If you want to search specific users then include in the search bar the words “from” or “to” in order for it to find tweets to or from those people:
Or to find mentions of someone or something use the @ symbol:
Just as with single wording these too can be combined. This will find you every tweet from @Bizitalk to @SmallBizSatUK containing the exact phrase “shopping locally”:
“shopping locally” from:bizitalk to:SmallBizSatUK
You can search for tweets or mentions in a specific location. This is achieved by typing the word near:[location]:
This can be narrowed down even further by specifying distance:
As before, these can also be combined:
“shopping locally” near:pershore within:10mi
Time-specific searches are done by using the words since and until e.g.
since:2014-01-19 – sent since date “2014-01-19” (dates must be entered in year-month-day format).
until:2014-11-27 – sent up to date “2014-11-27”.
Once again, these can be combined to find tweets between two dates.
Moods can be searched by simply typing a smiley face or a sad face. 🙂 – will find tweets with a positive attitude, and 🙁 – will find tweets with a negative attitude. You can find out how people feel about your brand by combining these with the @mention search:
To search for questions use the question mark icon (with a space between the previous word and the question mark). This will show you any tweets that contain the words ‘shopping’ and ‘locally’ and which also contain a question:
shopping locally ?
Your search can also look for links within tweets. Want all of your results to contain links?
Funnily enough there doesn’t seem to be a shortcut to return results WITHOUT links, so I tend to type this to filter out the majority of links:
-.com, -www. -http
To discover the source of a tweet i.e. the platform from which it’s posted, just use the “source” operator. This will return all tweets containing “shopping” and posted via Hootsuite:
A language specific search may well be useful to you when a person tweets in multiple languages. Only want to see English language results?
If you wish to include retweets and replies in your search then use “include”:
Things to note: when looking at search results the default is “top”. Click on “all” to view all results. You can also embed search results, or save them for future reference. This allows you to quickly
There you have it, a comprehensive guide to Twitter search which will hopefully allow you to, indeed, search Twitter like a boss!