using Twitter search effectivelyIn one second, more than 3,000 new tweets appear on Twitter. Do a search in Twitter for “software” and you’ll get more results than you need. While tweets may be short, there’s too many to wade through. Besides, you’re most likely looking for something a little more specific than “software.”

You can improve your searches with a few tricks. But first, let’s cover the basic search as it has few helpful features.

Start with the Basics

After entering “software” in the search box, Twitter displays “Top” results. These are popularly-retweeted topics and people. You can change “Results” options to “All” or “People you follow.” “All” doesn’t filter any tweets. Or you can limit the results to just “People you follow.”

Look to the left for “People” and “Photos.” These narrow your results to only people and photos with some connection to software.

Twitter search people you follow

Supercharge Your Twitter Search

For more targeted search results, use search operators. Maybe you’re interested in automation software. The basic search looks for tweets that have both words, not necessarily together as a phrase. Use quotation marks around “automation software” to pull up tweets with that exact phrase.

You don’t have to remember all the operators. Instead, use advanced search to get results as if you had used operators. Search operators can find tweets by person, geographic area, date and even by attitude.

Add Some Attitude to Your Search

To search by attitude, search one of the following:

automation software:)

automation software:(

Clever, eh? If you’re shopping for automation software, it’s a good way to find customers who may be happy or unhappy with software. Use product names to see what people say. If you sell automation software, then it’s a way to see find people who are happy or unhappy with your competitors.

Ask or Find Questions

Find someone who has a question about automation software by adding a question mark to your search:

automation software ?

Using question mark is a simple way to catch people who might be able to use your help.

Bring It Closer to Home

To find someone who has an automation software question near you, enter “software ? near:Dallas” (replace Dallas with your city). Dallas is a big place, so you can limit the distance with “software ? near:Dallas within:5mi” to look for those within five miles of Dallas.

Cut Noise From Your Results

Marketing automation is a hot topic. And it comes often in an “automation software” search. Maybe that’s not the kind of automation software you had in mind. So sharpen your results by telling Twitter to subtract marketing from the results by using:

automation software -marketing

You can add multiple words to subtract more items from your results.

Hack It with Hashtags

Many big trade shows and events now use a hashtag so people interested in the event can get updates, learn about a session and meet attendees. To connect with someone who works for an automation software company — that’s not marketing automation — attending South by Southwest, you’d use:

automation software -marketing #sxsw

Save Your Hard Work

You can save your searches so you can repeat them without entering the operators again. You may want to answer questions relating to your product category or industry on a regular basis. Save a search that finds questions, so you just click your way to help someone.

Twitter search can keep you on top of your industry, engage influencers, start conversations that lead to offline meetings and connect with customers and prospects. You never know what treasures you’ll find in thousands of tweets.

Share your Twitter search tips or experience in comments.