Are you unhappy with your keyword or search query? Are you not getting the results you were hoping for? Then you should probably try to advance your twitter search by using operators. No matter if you use Twilert for public relations, lead generation, reputation management or customer service, a fine-tuned search query will help you achieve more relevant results.

 Twitter Search Operators Guide

What are Twitter Search Operators?

Twitter search operators are symbols that help you specify/optimise your keyword search. Operators always represent a specific action, e.g. a minus sign (-) is an operator that represents exclusion. There are quite a lot of these operators available. Read on, if you’re interested in applying them correctly in order to leverage your twilert results.

Twitter Search Operators

Tip! You can find all these search operators on your Twilert Dashboard.

Basic Operators

Twitter Search Operators - Basic

Luckily, you can use many of the common operators you know from search engines. The default operator is the AND operator, which means results will contain all words you typed into the search box.

e.g. Twilert help page – will return all tweets containing “Twilert”, “help” and “page”

(no need to type AND in between the words, Twitter search does this automatically)

If you only want to be alerted when a tweet contains an exact phrase, then you should use the quotation mark operator.

e.g. “Twilert help page” – will include tweets containing the exact phrase “Twilert help page”

At times, it is useful to search for one keyword or the other. To make sure at least one keyword is present, you are well off with the OR operator. This is especially handy for different spellings of product names.

e.g. Kizzu OR Kizzuapps – will return tweets including either “Kizzu” or “Kizzuapps”


Tip! You can also combine search operators, e.g. “Webcam Snapper” OR Snapper. In this case you make sure to get results including either the exact phrase “Webcam Snapper” or the word “Snapper”.


If your keyword is a rather generic term, you might be facing a whole lot of results. To narrow down your twitter search, you can exclude certain keywords from your query. The minus operator is particularly useful when your keyword has other common contexts, rather than just to your company/product/brand.

e.g. Hilton -Paris – will find tweets containing “Hilton” but not “Paris”


The chances are high that you know the next one! Nevertheless, I’m mentioning it to complete the list. You can include #hashtags in your search query in order to get tagged tweets exclusively.

e.g. #codegent – will only send me alerts if someone tagged “codegent” in their tweet.

Username queries

Twitter Search Operators - Username Queries

If you are interested in the happenings around a certain user account, this set of operators might be very helpful for you. Twilert gives you several username related options. First of all, you can track all tweets posted by a specific account. To do so, use the from: operator.

e.g. from:twilert – will return all tweets sent from the user “twilert”


To find out what users are replying to a certain user-account on Twitter, you just use the to: operator. Using this, results will only include tweets where the username is the first word (real replies, not just mentions).

e.g. to:tepilo – will find tweets sent directly to the user “tepilo”


You can also identify all mentions of a certain user account. The @ operator gives you all mentions of an account, including replies and retweets, but excluding any tweets from that account.

e.g. @MayorofLondon – will send you all mentions of the user “MayorofLondon” without the user’s own tweets


You can also search for a username without an @ or any other operator. This would include the user’s own tweets, but would result in a very comprehensive result list. If you would rather narrow down your query, you can exclude tweets from certain users, by using the minus operator. This is quite convenient, if another twitter user uses your keyword a lot, but in a different context.

e.g. Kizzu -@userxyz – will find all tweets including the keyword “Kizzu”, but not from the user “userxyz”



Twitter Search Operators - Location

If you are working for a small or medium-sized company or a regional branch of a global brand, the location and language operators will save you lots of time sifting through relevant tweets. You can easily limit your twilert results to a country, area or city by using the near: and within: operators.

e.g. Café Jasmin near:”Montpellier” within:15km – will show you the results for tweets including “Café” and “Jasmin” sent within 15 kilometres of “Montpellier” – which, to the little Café Jasmin makes much more sense than receiving all tweets from around the world.


Also, the language operator might make your twilert results a lot more relevant. It makes sense, if you’re operating in, say, English-speaking countries only. But there are also other use cases for this operator. For example, one of our services is called “Kizzu”, which is the Japanese word for “Kids”. As you might guess, there are numerous tweets that are irrelevant if we’d only search for “Kizzu”. So, one way we optimised our query is:

Kizzu lang:en – which finds all tweets mentioning “Kizzu” in English only


Tip! Don’t worry, you don’t have to know all the language abbreviations! You can choose from a list of languages in your Twilert Dashboard.


Attitude, Questions, Links & more

Twitter Search Operators - Attitude, Questions, Links

Last but not least, there’s a lot to love about this set of operators. Firstly, you can search for tweets with positive or negative attitudes. A helpful tool if you are looking to take advantage of unsatisfied customers of your competitors, for example. Twilert lead generation at it’s best!

e.g. anyusername :&#40 –  will send you all tweets including tweets about the user “anyusername” with a negative attitude.


Or another example for an efficient combination of operators:

e.g. plumber :&#40 near:”Oxford” within:10mi – shows you all results for “plumber” sent within 20 miles of Oxford and with a negative attitude.


You’ll want to pay special attention to the next operator, which is an ace card for customer service, online reputation management as well as lead generation – the popular question mark operator. Companies use it to discover questions asked in tweets. It helps to find customer queries and general questions about your company. You can also use it for more general terms in order to generate new leads, as for example

e.g. plumber ? – will find all questions that people ask about “plumber”, such as “Does anyone know a good plumber in Reading?” or “Why do I always have to clean up the mess my plumber leaves behind?”… you get the idea.


Filters & Exclusions

If you want to receive more relevant search results, we recommend you to use exclusions and the filter operator. Using them will narrow down or broaden your results, depending on how you apply them. For example, if you want to get alerted, when someone tweets your keyword in connection with a link, you apply the filter:links.

e.g. Twilert filter:links – will show you all tweets that contain the word “twilert” and a link to an external URL.


  • If you want to exclude tweets containing a link, you simply change the query to Twilert -filter:links
  • The same applies for “retweets” and tweets including “via @username”. Exclude them by adding a minus before the operator, e.g. -rt, -via
  • Include retweets by using the include:retweets operator, e.g. Tepilo include:retweets



To tailor your twilert email alerts to your needs, you can combine different operators. Here are some examples that might inspire your search query.

e.g. “Webcam Snapper” OR Snapper -@userxyz. In this case you make sure to get results including either the exact phrase “Webcam Snapper” or the word “Snapper” and excluding tweets from the user “userxyz”


e.g. tea shop near:”Oxford” within:10km -filter:links – will show you the all tweets without links including “tea” and “shop” sent within 10 kilometres of “Oxford”.


e.g. Delta ? -airline lang:en – would present you tweets in English, containing a question about “Delta”, but not the word “airline”.


This is the detailed story of twitter search operators, that will help you optimise your twilert email alerts. We hope you are now motivated to try different combinations and receive more relevant results. If there are any unanswered questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. The query Twilert ? is set up 😉

Twitter Monitoring with Twilert