Searching for Search?
How would you like to have a direct line to someone who needs your service, right at the moment they’re looking for it? How much would that be worth to you?
The thing is, Twitter will do that for nothing, and most people don’t even know about it.
Perhaps you’ve seen the search feature on Twitter. Maybe you’ve played with it and done some searches. But the information you can get from the basic search is limited.
Twitter has a little known advanced search option. There’s not even a link to it from the Twitter page. It’s called Advanced Twitter Search and you can find it here: http://search.twitter.com/advanced
A quick scan of the search form reveals this is a much more powerful search engine. You can form your search using exact words or phrases and variations like “all of these words,” or “any of these words”, for example.
Geo Targeting your Twitter Search
One of its best features of Advanced Twitter Search is its ability to geo target your queries.
Say you’re a real estate agent in Chicago and you’re looking for Twitter users who may be using Twitter to try and sell their home. If you simply search for Tweets including the phrase “selling my home”, for example, you’re going to get hundreds of posts from home sellers from all over the world.
Advanced Twitter Search allows you to focus your results to a specific geographic area. You choose the location and the radius that you want the posts to come from (ie: Look for Tweets that contain the phrase “selling my home” within a 30 mile radius of Chicago).
How perfect is that? Try out various combinations of search terms and vary the radius of your geographic area until you find the most relevant search for your business.
Using RSS (Twitter Search Feed)
Once you have found the searches that you like, you can subscribe to the search feed with RSS (‘Real Simple Syndication’). It’s that little orange box in the right upper corner of the advanced search results page. Updated information from the feed is then automatically downloaded to your computer and can be viewed in Internet Explorer and other programs.
That way you get automatically updated when someone tweets something that fits your search parameters.
Using Search ‘Operators’
If you don’t want to have to navigate to the Advanced Twitter Search form, you can perform your search from the basic search on the Twitter page as long as you use search operators. These are similar to the operators you might use with an Internet search engine like Google.
Here are examples for some of the commonly used operators:
- Quotes – ie: “selling my home”. This operator searches for Tweets that contain the e exact phrase “selling my home”
- OR – ie: home OR house. This search operator will find tweets containing either “home” or “house” (or both!)
- Minus Sign – ie: Nanaimo -bar. The minus operator will search for tweets containing “nanaimo” but not “bar”
- Hashtag – ie: #realestate. The hashtag symbol (or pound sign) operator is a Twitter specific sway to ‘code’ your tweets with keywords people are likely to search for
- From – ie: from:sproutsocial. The from operator will search for Tweets sent from the Twitter user “sproutsocial”
- To – ie: to:sproutsocial. The ‘to’ operator looks for all tweets sent to the Twitter user “sproutsocial”
- @ – ie: @sproutsocial. The @ symbol will search for all tweets that simply mention the user “sproutsocial”
Advanced Twitter Search – A Competitive Advantage
Knowing how to effectively search within Twitter not only helps you find potential customers, it can also be used to keep tabs on what others are saying about you or your competition.
If you know how to harness the power of Advanced Twitter Search you’ll gain a competitive advantage on all those who are still searching through Twitter one tweet at a time!
What do you say?
Know any other tricks to take full advantage of Twitter Advanced Search? Let us know by leaving a comment below and you could be featured on Fan Friday.