The secret to Twitter search: using operators

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing

With all the confusion involved in learning the ins and outs of social networking sites, “search” is one item that seems pretty self explanatory. Well, think again. Twitter search is actually a powerful and complex tool that can help you find the best people to connect with in your local area if you know how to use it correctly.

At the most basic level, type a word into the Twitter search tool and it will search and retrieve all Tweets containing that word. It WILL NOT search bio info or the actual name of a user. However, with over 50,000,000 Tweets sent daily, a simple search will not likely yield the results you are looking for.

Enter advanced Twitter search. By adding a few simple characters (referred to as operators) you can not only find people who are tweeting about “life insurance” but find those living within a 10mile radius of your city. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “life insurance” — containing the exact phrase "life insurance"
  • “long term care” OR “LTC” — containing either "long term care" or "LTC" (or both)
  • “life insurance” near:”san francisco” — containing the exact phrase "life insurance" and sent near "san francisco"
  • near:NYC within:15mi — sent within 15 miles of New York City
  • annuity-sell — containing "annuity", but not "sell"
  • annuity :( — containing "annuity" and with a negative attitude
  • annuity :) — containing “annuity” with a positive attitude
  • 401k? — containing "401k" and asking a question
  • @insurancemktg — referencing person "insurancemktg"
By using the advanced features of Twitter search you can go even deeper than plain text queries and discover what people in your community are talking about right now. This is your chance to join the conversation.

Answer questions, follow local opinion leaders, and contribute valuable content.