Finding relevant content on twitter isn’t always that easy. You have been told to search for keywords related to your topic in interest. Did you tried it? Have you been satisfied and successful with your search? Mostly… not.
I have already written about the importance of keyword targeting in this post Social Media Marketers Gold – Keyword Targeting

Today I want to show you how to get the most of twitter’s search results.

The Problem

Twitter has now more than 100 million active users and active means – they are tweeting. There are a lot of tweets sent each second containing the content you are looking for. Now it is hard to filter the good from the bad, the relevant from the uninteresting.

Just using keywordX keywordY won’t give you any great insights you are looking for.

So you need to filter them, let me show you how.

The Tools

To start getting great results I would recommend the following setup or tools.

Twitter operators

Twitter gives us a great list of operators to use on their website I have created a small image so you are able to print it if necessary.



HootSuite is my preferred tool to manage all social networks whether my own or from my clients. It is free for up to 5 social network profiles but for less than $6/month you get unlimited profiles, analytics and much more. If you are not already using HootSuite, I would highly recommend a test drive of it today. Have a look at “HootSuite – Social Media Dashboard“.

The Solution

Let’s assume I’m looking for twitter users looking for help with twitter. The phrase twitter help does not work for us as it shows all tweets containing the word twitter AND help. Most likely, the results are not helpful.

Now we need to think for our audience.
How could they ask on twitter? What would be their question look like?
Maybe: How do I use twitter? or How to customize twitter?

The questions are already close to our search phrase as it contains the most relevant keywords for our search. Searching for this question as a whole phrase doesn’t make any sense so we need to get into the details.

One reasons why it won’t make sense: There are many bloggers out there posting new “How-To’s” that get you started with twitter every day. Their tweet could look like the question above as well.

We don’t want to read all those tweets as they are not helpful for our needs, so we need to remove them with the operator -filter:links

The phrase I’m using in this example is:
"how do" OR "how to" ? twitter -filter:links
What it returns – All tweets that contain the exact phrase “How do” or “How To” with the tool “twitter” as a question “?”. -filter:links is used to remove tweets that may contain links to How-To articles or blog posts.

Setting up HootSuite

The gallery gives you an idea how to set up HootSuite:
[nggallery id=2]
A great way to get organized: Create one tab for each topic and within each tab different search phrases in different streams. You will be able to stay always on top of your targeted search.

Further usage

Search operators are powerful and it is only up to you to use them in the right way.
Need a job as web developer in your closer area?
Try: "looking for a web developer" near:"Los Angeles" within:50mi

To get rid of specific words, use - to exclude them. You have seen this on the -filter:links example. If you want to show links, remove the -

If you are not using HootSuite and prefer twitter, have a look at Twitter Advanced Search

The Result

Now you should be able to get more relevant search results from twitter. This will be more time consuming at the beginning to set up all your search filters but at the end, the output saves you time.

How do you use twitter search operators or do you something different?