Five Ways to Use Twitter Advanced Search to Find Leads

Twitter advanced search is a hidden gem. Most Twitter users know there is a search function on Twitter, and are able to find a user they’re looking for, or search for a topic or hashtag, but many Twitter users do not know how to do advanced and filtered searches to find very specific and relevant things, such as business leads.

To find Twitter advanced search, visit

Twitter Advanced Search: Negative Filters

Let’s say you are a business coach looking for clients. You could start by searching in Twitter for “Halifax businesses”, but that will return banking and financing organizations who aim to help Halifax businesses, and people who are talking about the latest business news in the city. Not exactly useful information for you.

Now try hitting up Twitter advanced search and filtering your results. You could search for “need” and “coach” near Halifax. This brought up a many sports related tweets, so go back and add the negative filter, or “do not include” these terms, and add some of the common sports-related terms you found. This should help clean up your results. Keep tweaking until you get what you’re looking for.

Another example of the negative filter use came when I was doing some training at ACOA, locally known as Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Did you know there is also ACOA the Adult Children of Alcoholics? That makes for some interesting corporate research for the business development agency! So we added negative filters for alcohol and alcoholism and were able to find tweets that referred to the business development agency’s activities instead.

Twitter Advanced Search: Exact Phrases

When you type “social media manager” into the Twitter search window, you’ll get results for each of those words individually. This means you could find people who are actually media personalities, reporters, or media managers. Using the “exact phrase” search window in the Twitter advanced search you will find people who are, or are talking about the term, “social media manager”, not the individual parts.

If you’re a REALTOR, this is the difference between searching Halifax & home, or “Halifax home”. We like to talk about our city here in Halifax, so make sure you’re using that advanced function to find just the right people.

Twitter Advanced Search: Multiple Layers

twitter advanced search exampleNow, if you want to get really specific, you can search for people who are tweeting to a specific account about a specific topic! Perhaps a local, independant snow plow operator finishes up his regular plow route early and wants to pick up a few one-off jobs. He could use the Twitter advanced search to find people tweeting “need a plow” to the @HfxGov account. Or maybe the key would be just the word plow and a question mark. There are multiple options to try here.

Twitter Advanced Search: Mentions

Perhaps you want to see who is mentioning your competition when using certain key words? If you are a local restaurant, try searching lunch, dinner or menu, and use the “Mentioning these accounts” option to add in your main competitors.

Twitter Advanced Search: Near

This is a simple filter for your search that will return results that are within a specific radius (usually 25 miles is the default) of your current location. You must turn on your location service on your computer in order for this to work. You also need to know that this will only find geo-located results for people who tweet with their location service enabled. This one is useful, but not comprehensive as many people choose to turn this service off in their Twitter settings, or if you use a 3rd party app like Hootsuite, you have to set the location each and every time you tweet, which likely doesn’t happen often enough. This is still a useful feature however. Try searching for something in your industry and filtering for results near you. You’d be amazed at what you can find. This is the main feature I use to find the tweets for my Finding Leads on Twitter series because I want to show local businesses that they can find leads on Twitter if they put a little thought into it.


save twitter advanced searchIt may take you several tries with a variety of keywords, filters and options to find the search results you can use as lead generators for your business. Here’s the awesome news: You can SAVE Twitter advanced searches! That’s right, once you’ve found that magic formula that returns just the right results, you can save this search so it’s easy to find again, and all pre-populated.

To find the save button, which is a bit hidden away, in your search results, look for the “More Options” menu item at the top and click on it. This will give you more filtering options, but make sure you click on “save the search” first or you’ll lose your current formula.

Now that you’ve saved your advanced search formula, every time you click into the search window on Twitter, this search will show up as an option just below the window! MAGIC. And time-saving! You should also see recent searches there, too, in case you forgot to save one along the way.

Bonus Bonus

Now, if you want to get really crazy with this advanced search stuff, you can save your new search into a Hootsuite stream so it’s always there, right in front of you when you log in to Hootsuite! Check out this blog I wrote about using Hootsuite to find business leads.

How will you use Twitter advanced search now that you know it’s there? Let me know in the comments!



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