When it comes to Twitter search, we’ve written a lot about the different Twitter search operators available and how you might use them. From searching for your brand name, to finding leads and monitoring competitor updates. But something we’ve realised lately is that now more than ever, our customers are using Twitter search to really dig deep into Twitter and uncover the super specific tweets they’re looking for. To do this, they use Twitter search not just to uncover a keyword or hashtag, but as a combination of operators to zone in on a tweet or two of interest that could lead to real ROI for their business.
Most of us are able to construct this type of complex Twitter search within Twitter but how about in Twilert? No one has time to sit on Twitter all day,= scrolling results so Twilert ensures you get the exact tweets you’re looking for, by email, at the time when you’re able to look at them. In the background, Twilert keeps watch on Twitter 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to ensure that each and every tweet is filtered for your results.
Here, we guide you through how to build complex Twitter searches in Twilert.
1. What the grey boxes mean
When you begin adding search terms to your Twilert, you’ll see that each phrase or keyword search is enclosed within a grey box. The important thing to remember is that each item contained within the grey box has to be present in your search, in order for you to see tweet results. For example, the search ‘from:skynews’ ‘breaking’ as shown below, will only find tweets that are from the user @skynews and contain the keyword ‘breaking’.
You can add as many of these individual search strings as you like, but the more you add the more you begin the limit your results. To understand the relationship between each ‘grey box’ you can imagine that an invisible ‘and’ sits between them. This is the same as in Twitter search itself; between each keyword Twitter adds an ‘and’, so that your tweets are only searched for if they match this criteria AND this criteria AND this criteria.
There are two exceptions to this rule; the ‘OR’ operator and the exclusions list.
2. Using the OR operator to search for one phrase or another
Say you’re looking for a user tweeting a specific keyword or two. You don’t want to see all of that users tweets because they’d be too many to scroll through, but you are interested in a couple of different search terms. If you add ‘from:sky news’ + ‘breaking’ + ‘news’ + ‘fire’ + ‘man’ you wouldn’t end up with the correct results (or indeed any) because your search would be looking for tweets from @skynews that contain the words ‘breaking’ AND ‘news’ AND ‘fire’ AND ‘man’. Instead, perhaps you should use the OR search operator in order to find tweets that contain one keyword OR another.
To do this, you first enter any specific phrases or hashtags you definitely want included as mandatory within your search results. For this example I have chosen from:techcrunch which means that I am only searching within tweets sent by the user @Techcrunch. Next, I’ve selected the ‘filter by words’ tab within Twilert and the ‘something OR other’ option.
Next, the something OR other filter box opens allowing me to add all of the search terms I’d like to add as optional for my search results.
Here I add the hashtags ‘#IoT’ and ‘#automation’ and ‘#robotics’. Now if I’d created a Twilert that said from:techcrunch #IoT #automation #robotics, this would look for tweets from @techcrunch that contained the hashtag #IoT AND #automation AND #robotics. This would be unlikely to show results. Instead, I’ve used the OR operator to search for tweets from @techcrunch that contain #IoT OR #automation OR #robotics.
This filters just the results from any one of the three combinations below:
from:techcrunch tweets containing #IoT
from:techcrunch tweets containing #automation
from:techcrunch tweets containing #robotics
To understand the relationship of the grey boxes in the search below, there is still an invisible AND between each search string. This makes the user search (from:techcrunch) and one of the hashtags within the second search string mandatory to the results. So Twilert can only find results that are from:techcrunch and that contain one of the three hashtags listed.
3. Adding exclusions to your search
Exclusions are one of Twitter search’s most useful tools as they allow you to cut out the results you don’t want to see. You have a variety of different options to select what you would like to exclude including:
-from:facebook | excludes tweets from the user @Faceboook
-#smchat | excludes tweets containing the hashtag #smchat
-Dior | excludes tweets containing the keyword ‘Dior’
-RT | excludes retweets
-filter:links | excludes any tweets that contain links
-filter:verified | excludes tweets from any users who are verified
In this instance, the search query below looks for tweets which match all three points of the added search criteria:
This would search for only tweets that contain the hashtag #fashionweek AND either ‘Dior’ or ‘Balenciaga’ as a keyword AND will exclude any results that match the first two criteria but that are retweets.
4. Searching for a specific, ordered phrase
As well as searching (or excluding) individual keywords, it’s also possible to search for a specific, ordered phrase. To do this, you simply enter the phrase in quotation marks, or use the ‘filter by word(s)’ > exact phrase tool within the Twilert dashboard.
For example you may want to search for tweets that contain the phrase ‘breaking news’ and a keyword such as ‘flood’.
This Twilert will only search for tweets that contain the phrase ‘breaking news’ and the word ‘flood’. For example, if there was a tweet which said ‘news breaking now of a flood’ this would not be included in the results as it does not have the exact phrase ‘breaking news’ present in that order.
In this instance, the relationship between the search strings is exactly the same as in the other examples except for the Twilert now looks for the exact phrase plus any other search parameters that have been added.
Let’s play a game….
If you’d like to test out your new found knowledge on creating complex Twitter searches, check out the searches below and see if you can correctly identify what types of search results they would reveal.
This would search for tweets from the user @thedrum that contain the exact phrase “email marketing”.
This would looks for tweets that contain the hashtag #fashionweek and the phrase “haute couture” and would exclude any retweets from the results.
This would search for tweets which contain the keywords fashion, beauty, blogger and new in any combination.
This Twilert would search for tweets from the user @innocent that contain either the keyword ‘new’ or the phrase ‘fruit smoothie’ or the keyword ‘fruit’ or the keyword ‘apple’.
Creating complex search queries with Twilert
Becoming a pro at filtering your Twitter search results is a skill for life! Helping you to narrow down the huge social media pool into just the tweets and searches you want to see. To get started begin creating your own complex Twilert searches and get the results emailed to you at https://www.twilert.com.