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How Toosday: making the most of Twitter’s search

Estimated read time: 8 minutes

There are so many Tweets out there, but how can you focus on the relevant ones? By getting under the skin of Twitter’s search engine, that’s how!

Regardless of what you might think of it as a platform and a space, it’s hard to deny that Twitter is full of conversations. On average, 500 million tweets are sent every day – that’s 6,000 per second!

As such, chances are someone, somewhere will be talking about your brand or organisation. If you’re lucky, they’ll tag you and you’ll be able to find those posts easily.

But, more often than not, they won’t tag you. So, in order to find those posts about you, some savvy searching is required.

The thing is though, many social media managers don’t realise quite how powerful Twitter’s search engine is – once you feed it the right signals of course.

**Download our Twitter search cheat sheet!**

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a load of tips and a free Twitter search cheat sheet for you below to help you quickly find exactly what you’re looking for and make your saved searches 1000% more useful.

Let’s jump in…

Basic searches

We’ll start with the sort of searches you probably already know about – the ones you’re probably already using, in fact. For example, if you just enter the words Twitter search tips, then you’ll be presented with a list of posts that contain those three words (but not necessarily next to each other or in that order).

On the other hand, if you were to use some quotation marks and instead search for “Twitter search tips”, then your results would be posts that contain that exact phrase, in that exact order.

The other two basic searches are, well, basic. Search #tips and you’ll a list of posts that contain the hashtag ‘tips’, while if you enter @thenativetweets you’ll find every tweet referencing our account.

More specific searches

The above searches are a great starting point, but often result in too many irrelevant posts. In order to make them more useful, you ought to try some more specific searches.

You could use an ‘or’ search to broaden your sights a bit. For example, you might enter search tips OR hints and you’ll be rewarded with posts that contain the word search and either the word tips or hints (or both). You can then level up this search even more by using the quote marks method from above to search for two specific phrases.

Another way of getting more specific is to tell Twitter to ignore certain words. For example, I used to work at the University of Warwick, where lots of people refer to the place as simply ‘Warwick’. However, a search for ‘Warwick’ would also bring back tweets about Warwick Castle, Warwick Davis, Dionne Warwick, Warwick Bass guitars and more.

To get round this, you can use the minus sign to tell Twitter which words to ignore. So, if you didn’t want to see any more tweets about Warwick Davis – brilliant actor though he is – you would search Warwick -Davis.

Conversation tracking

It’s really easy to find all posts from or to a specific account, simply using either a from or to command. So, to find everything tweeted by our account, search for from:thenativetweets. And, to find every tweet sent to us, hit up to:thenativetweets.

Again, where this becomes more powerful is when you combine these with some of the other types of tweet. For example, want to find everything we’ve ever tweeted about the word ‘podcast’? Enter the search from:thenativetweets podcast. Bish, bash, bosh – done.

When and where

You can make your Twitter searches really specific around a date, using the keywords since or until. For example, you could search for photography until:2016-12-25 to find every tweets with the word ‘photography’ in that was sent up to Christmas Day in 2016. Equally, you could search for “This is America video” since:2018-05-05 to find every tweet specifically talking about the This is America video since 5 May 2018. The latter option is especially useful for tracking reaction to a new product/event/update or to a particular incident that happened on a particular day.

You can also make use of tweets shared with geolocation data and find posts sent near a particular location. For example, search for fire near:coventry to try and work out exactly what that black cloud is that you can see in the sky when you look out of your window.

Again (hopefully you’ve already worked this out), the power here comes with combining search tactics and looking for specific and exact phrases around an equally specific date and/or time. Mega helpful and all for free too!

Types of tweet

There are also a few cheats you can use to find particular types of tweet. An obvious one is to pop a question mark after your search term to find posts matching that term and that also contain a question.

Another way is to filter by type. So, search for “aston villa” filter:links to find tweets containing the name of the world’s greatest football team and that link to URLs. Want to find tweets about the Villa with either images or videos instead? No problem, use filter:images or filter:videos instead.

And, as has been mentioned throughout this piece, you can supercharge your Twitter searching by combining elements. For example, what to see every tweet I’ve sent in 2018 that contains an image and talks about either Aston Villa or, more colloquially, just Villa? No problem, search for from:davemusson “aston villa” OR “villa” since:2018-01-01 filter:images and you’ll be treated with this…

Easy

Download our cheat sheet

We’ve made mastering Twitter’s search even easier for you with this handy cheat sheet – download it, save it, use it and get more out of everyone’s favourite social media network with a bird for a logo!

Either click the image below or use this link to download your copy now!

twitter search tips cheat sheet

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