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How to find EXACTLY what you’re looking for on Twitter

Marketing Hyperdrive
How to find EXACTLY what you’re looking for on Twitter
By Mike Allton • Issue #12 • View online
Ever lost something like your car keys?
First thing you do is begin to think back to when you last saw them… retrace your steps in your mind, right?
So that you can narrow your search to those places most likely to yield results. In this case, a missing set of keys.
Instead of running around your neighbor’s yard where you know they can’t possibly be, you’re looking around the kitchen and in jacket pockets where the likelihood is much higher that you’ll find what you’re looking for.
One evening in 2019, I took my daughter to her hip hop dance lessons and then, as we always do, her and I had dinner afterwards. She wanted ribs, God love her, so we had ribs with all the fix’ns.
My credit card was gone.
After looking through my wallet three times like I was on a late-night snack run standing in front of the open refrigerator, I really started to panic. I texted my wife to see if she’d borrowed it for some reason but of course she hadn’t. And so I immediately began to think back to when I’d used the card last… yesterday morning to buy breakfast? Yes. Lunch? No, the wife paid for that. And nothing after then, so I couldn’t understand where the card was. Fortunately I happened to have some cash leftover from a recent business trip – I never carry cash – so the bill got paid. But the search was on.
We’re all used to searching online by now. or the Google app or a Voice Assistant device at home are all integrated into our lives. We want to know the answer to something, so we “Google” it.
When we want to find something on Twitter, search works the same way. Most of us have searched for other people on Twitter, or punched in a hashtag to see what tweets come up.
But there’s so much more that you can do, if you know how.
Twitter has built into its search capability a series of Operators and Filters so that you can craft powerful and refined searches that deliver exactly the results and information you’re looking for. Just like retracing your steps in your mind to when you last saw your keys, your Twitter searches can be similarly limited to only give you the relevant field of results.
Operators are Boolean logic parameters that tell Twitter how to read and treat the keywords you enter. You have already used at least one Boolean operator without knowing it!
Filters are ways in which Twitter can limit the results to include or not include certain kinds of tweets.
By default, if you start a Twitter search using two or more words, you’re using the AND operator. You typed in election results and will get all recent tweets that contain the words “election” and “results.” Learning how to use key operators will give you even more control.
Suppose you only want to see tweets that actually talk about election results, and not just happen to have both those words in the tweet. You can use quotes around the phrase in your search, like “election results” – and this will only return tweets with both those words (the exact phrase) as you typed them. This is referred to as an exact match search.
Now, let’s suppose you wanted to see tweets with “election results” but nothing about Senate races. You can add the operator minus and a word and all tweets that contain that word will be removed from the results. In this example, you would search for “election results” -Senate and will have further narrowed your search!
Two filters you’ve likely already used are the hashtag (#) and at sign (@) which precede hashtagged keywords and Twitter usernames, respectively.
Three additional filters you might find interesting are ways that you can see search results by specific Twitter users. You can use the from: filter to see tweets only sent from a specific username. The list: filter allowed you to put in a Twitter list and thus filter your search results to only tweets sent from that list. And the to: filter will only show you tweets in reply to that profile.
Suppose you wanted to learn how often a particular competitor talks about a topic in your industry. You could do a Twitter search for the topic using one or more words, and apply the filter of from:[username] and see only their tweets on the subject matter.
Ingenious, no?
Twitter has also provided a number of ways to filter your search results by kinds of tweets.
  • You can add filter:safe to remove tweets that are potentially sensitive.
  • You can add filter:media to only see tweets with an image or video.
  • You can add -filter:retweets to remove retweets from the results.
  • You can add filter:native_video to only see Periscope, uploaded videos or Vines.
  • You can add filter:periscope to only see Periscope videos.
  • You can add filter:vine to only see Vines.
  • You can add filter:images to only see tweets with images.
  • You can add filter:links to only see search results which contain links.
You can even use url:amazon to only see tweets with links that include “amazon” anywhere in the URL… of course replacing “amazon” with whatever word or domain you’d like.
Want to filter your results so that you only see recent tweets, or older tweets? You can use the since: or until: filters, like since:2020-01-01 to only see tweets sent since January 1, 2020.
You can add a question mark (?) to only see tweets that ask a question and here’s one of the really fun filters… add a smiley face or a sad face to only see tweets that have a positive or negative attitude.
If you’re looking for Netflix recommendations but want happy movies, not scary ones, search for:
Netflix recommendation -scary 🙂
You can fine-tune your search by limiting the results to certain location (area) only – for this, enter the location coordinates (latitude and longitude; you can easily find out these on Google Maps) and add a radius around specified location which will be covered by this search.
For example, you can enter following geo coordinates: 48.865084, 2.357764 and radius of 20.
If you want, you can pre-fill the coordinates with your current location – this can be useful when you actually are on the location of your business and want to use it for the search.
Finally, by their very nature, result tweets using words that you entered will mostly be in the same language of that word – a search for tweets with “Hello” will likely yield tweets in English whereas a search for “Ciao” would be mostly populated with Italian. If, however, you need to only see tweets in a particular language, you can use the lang: filter and simply add your preferred linguistic two-letter code, such as lang:it for Italian!
After I pad for dinner using the cash I happened to have, Cadence and I got into our car to return home. It was at that moment that she admitted to me that she’d taken my credit card out of my wallet as a joke. She was only eight at the time so certainly believed her, and was more relieved than anything to learn my card wasn’t lost. In this case, no amount of search parameters or filters would have found that card. 😉
I hope though that I’ve given you some ideas on how you might better leverage Twitter and, specifically, Twitter searches. It’s worth noting that if you’re using Agorapulse, you can save any search you want for Twitter as a saved search for ongoing Listening. Imagine crafting the perfect search that surfaces critical customer conversations within your targeted geographic area. You can save that search in Agorapulse and just check your Inbox for new tweets! What a goldmine of business opportunities.

YODA’S TEMPLE /Opportunities to learn and train
Video Marketing Trends for 2021: Top Predictions from 18 Industry Experts
The year of 2020 has turned the whole world upside down. Due to the global pandemic, we have seen more businesses and services move online than ever before. From local businesses to large enterprises, companies have turned their focus to online and video marketing in an effort to adapt to the “new normal.” invited 18 leading digital marketing experts – including yours truly – to share their thoughts and predictions on how marketing videos will transform and evolve in the following year. Read on to find out what video marketing trends you need to be aware of for 2021!
Take the Twitter Marketing Survey
Ever wonder how other brands and businesses are really figuring out Twitter? How often are they posting? What are they doing that’s working? We’re asking those questions and more and would love your participation. Results will be shared! Learn More
HAN & CHEWIE’S SHIP /Fun collaboration and partnerships
Win Everything You Need To Start Livestreaming!
Agorapulse has launched a contest that’s designed to catapult your livestreaming activities into 2021 and beyond. Just by entering you could win a new Logitech Brio 4k camera, Audio Technica XLR microphone, Elgato Stream Deck, a year of Ecamm, a year of Restream, a year of, a year of TubeBuddy, and a year of Agorapulse! Enter To Win:
PALPATINE’S ROTUNDA /Interesting events and meetings
Upcoming Events & Speaking Engagements
  • Social Pulse Summit: Instagram Edition, Feb. 24 – SAVE THE DATE!
JABBA’S BARGE /Laughs and other galactic entertainment
A Twist On A Favorite Holiday Drink
Every year since I was born I’ve had homemade eggnog during the holidays. I’ve even written about my childhood memories of my grandmother and her sister cackling like two witches while hovering over their mysterious, creamy brew.
One of the troubles with traditional eggnog is that it uses an incredible amount of whole milk and, well, that’s not good for everyone. Maybe you’re lactose intolerant, or perhaps you’re like me and have allergic reactions to anything made with cow’s milk. So I set out to test an alternative approach. I enjoy vanilla almond milk every day in a smoothie and decided to test that as a replacement.
It worked wonderfully.
Because the rest of my family doesn’t like things sweet, and because the almond milk I buy is already sweetened, I cut the sugar in half. I did end up playing with it… adding a little more brandy and then a little more almond milk and then a little more vanilla… so ultimately I should have used twice the number of eggs as well. But if you would be totally safe following the recipe linked above and simply substituting almond milk for regular milk!
WATTO’S JUNK /Trinkets and spare parts that might be just what you needed
Plan Your Blog Posts & Themes for 2021
Make sure that you have your blog content mapped out for the months ahead! Track email campaigns, structure your blog content, and even make note of influencers to work with. On sale now for just $25:
Plan Your Social Media Posts & Themes for 2021
Never again go weeks without posting to one of your channels, or struggle to know what to share today. With the help of this planner, you can have all of your major themes, topics and posts planned out months in advance. On sale now for just $10:
Marketing Hyperdrive will be on vacation the next couple weeks while I celebrate the holidays with family and use that time to put the finishing touches on the podcast! Unless something else comes up, we’ll see each other again after the new year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Want to save time with your social media activity and yet get even more results? Use the #1 rated social media management tool, Agorapulse, and as a friend of Mike Allton, you’re eligible to receive your first two months free after trial! Go to to learn more and get started.
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Mike Allton

Marketing insights. Personal revelations. Humour and hubris from Mike Allton, author, speaker and writer.

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