6 Ways Twitter Search Can Be Used as a Valuable Business Tool

twitter advanced search business
Use Twitter Advanced Search to engage a community, find customers, protect your brand AND learn your competitor's game plan :-)

Use Twitter Search for a business to monitor brand mentions, find clients, gain exposure, find innovative ideas and more. Whereas all of these things can be costly and time consuming, Twitter Search can change that..if you know what you’re doing.

This article assumes that you have a basic understanding of how to use Twitter Advanced Search. In case you need a refresher, check out our article about the Fundamentals of How to Use Twitter Advanced Search and then come right back here.

If you want to know what your customers think, search Twitter and find the answers. If you want to find new clients or new opportunities for innovation, search Twitter. And if you want to gain exposure, check the effectiveness of a marketing campaign you can, you guessed it, search Twitter.

In this article we will look at how to user Twitter Advanced Search for businesses to:

  1. Do brand monitoring
  2. Find new clients
  3. Provide customer support
  4. Gain exposure
  5. Find innovative new ideas
  6. Check the effectiveness of a marketing campaign

1) How to Monitor Your Brand Using Twitter Search for Mentions

Wise businesses monitor what’s being said about them on social media. They also keep tabs on what’s being said about their competition and the industry in general using Twitter search for mentions.

By searching in Twitter search for mentions we can see what Wendy’s has tweeted to McDonald’s.

Comment by Wendy's to McDonald's tweet

Wow, Wendy’s is on fire.

Find Negative Mentions Using Twitter Search

By searching a brand name that people have mentioned along with adding a list of negative words, such as “hate,” “nasty,” “stupid,” “disgusting,” etc… in the “Any of these words” section we can see who is slamming a particular brand.

Here’s one with some pretty bad publicity. I found it by searching for “@Coke” along with a list of negative words, such as hate.

Tweet mentioning "@Coke" and with the word "hate"

That picture is hard to un-see.

By monitoring the negative comments being said about them, brands can respond wisely. But brands also want to monitor the good comments, and respond wisely to those too. That can easily be done by searching for the brand handle and/or name along with positive words, such as “good,” “love,” “like,” “awesome,” etc…

Monitor Twitter Search for Positive Mentions

Here’s some positive exposure for Tropicana.

Tweet mentioning "@Tropicana" and with the word "love" found with Twitter Advanced Search.

To conduct deeper, more sophisticate brand monitoring, try using apps such as Twitonomy and Followerwonk.

2) How to Find Clients with Twitter Advanced Search

For freelancers and businesses of all sizes, Twitter can be a great place to find clients. Here’s how:

  • In the “All of these words” field write “Seeking”
  • Then write the name of your profession in the “This exact phrase” field, for example, “content writer.”
  • In the “Any of these words section” write any keywords that describe what you specialize in. So a content writer who specializes in a number of subjects, should include all of those subjects. Or leave this section blank to find out about all types of content writing gigs.
Find new clients with Twitter Search "seeking content writer"

If you are searching to find local clients on Twitter, then add a location in the “Places” section—or leave it blank if you don’t care where your clients are located.

Once Twitter displays a feed of suggestions, check those out.

Afterwards, go to the top of the page and click on “Latest.” This will show you up-to-the minute tweets of people seeking exactly what you do. Each way is likely to give you some pretty worthwhile results.

Twitter search filter "Latest" - finding new clients with Twitter Advanced Search

Of course, you can mix and match the above ideas and try different searches to find a wealth of results.

Once you’ve found some good options for finding clients on Twitter, you can even do a quick background check on them to see if they seem legit (aka, good about paying on time). Another benefit of doing a background check on potential clients is so that you can tailor your pitch to their needs.

3) How to Provide Customer Support with Twitter Advanced Search

If your brand is relatively large, you will have users tweeting about it. With the proper, tools you can be there to respond to them when they reach out. Doing so can improve their sentiment fast.

There are a number of good ways to monitor and respond to customer comments on Twitter.

“Mentions” feed

Twitter notifications "Mentions" filter

The lowest-tech solution for monitoring, and responding to, customer comments is to simply monitor your “Mentions”  feed. This way you will see whatever people tweet about your Twitter handle. You will also see anytime someone likes any of  your tweets. Checking this feed along with advanced searching your brand name, and variations thereof, once in a while can be a good-enough way to perform customer support for fledgling businesses.

Hootsuite or Buffer

The primary app most individuals and businesses use for Social Media management is Hootsuite or Buffer. In addition to a ton of other functions, each has the ability to run an entire customer service operation—with different team members and different levels of permissions—within the dashboard.

You can assign one person to monitor relevant keywords, another person to write responses, and yet another person to vet and/or edit the responses for release.

What does this have to do with Twitter Advanced Search? When setting up your social media customer service infrastructure, you will want to go to Twitter Advanced Search to learn what people are tweeting about, including: which terms to monitor, what voice and tone your competitors use, and what, in general, succeeds in delighting customers. This will help you make your own social media customer service team protocols.

Pro Tip: When someone tweets about your brand, follow them. It will make them feel good about your brand, and they will likely follow back (gaining you more followers). Of course, if they don’t reciprocate within a reasonable time period you can, and should unfollow them. Twitonomy is a great app to use for this.

4) How to Gain Exposure with Twitter Advanced Search

Journalists and bloggers are always looking for experts to quote in their articles and blogs. That expert could be you if you’re there when they need you.

Search for these hashtags:

  • #JournoRequest
  • #PRrequest

If you want to drill-down to more specific types of requests, you can throw in some keywords related to your fields of expertise.

So, for example, if you are a travel expert, you can search the following:

Twitter Advanced Search display searching for #JournoRequest

And this is what the search returns:

Twitter search feed

Would you look at that, by setting the top filter to “Latest” we can see that Daniel Bird Mercury, a news reporter at Mercury Press, reached out for an anecdote about booking into hotels just 8 minutes ago. Get back to him fast, and you could get quoted.

A similar, non-Twitter hack for getting the notice of journalists is a website called Help a Reporter Out, or “HARO.” Make yourself available to them and journalists will often reward you with good publicity. Also, check out Source Bottle, a similar website.

5) Discover Innovative Ideas that the Market Demands

How can you tell if people will want a product that doesn’t exist yet? Well, you can’t, really. But you can get a pretty good idea of what the market is craving based on what real people are complaining about and/or wishing for.

Try searching for the name of a product along with complaint and desire words, such as “angry,” “sucks,” and “wish,” to discover what people are wishing would be different about their experience with that product.

For example, let’s find out how people wish their phone experience would be better:

How to Use Twitter Advanced Search for market research

The below tweet gives me an interesting idea for improving phone-call experience…

Tweet found by using market research methods described in this article "I hate having a deep voice! This person just called me sir over the phone!"

What if phones had voice filters, similar to the way Instagram has image filters?

Here’s another great idea for improving the phone experience for customers.

Tweet found by using market research methods described in this article. "I wish my phone could remind me "hey you forgot your headphones" as I'm leaving the house."

Why didn’t anyone at Apple think of that?

And yet another great idea for phone user-experience improvement:

Tweet found by using market research methods. "I wish I could turn on captions during phone calls."

Try this with the product of your choice, and tell us what you discover in the comments section below.

6) Check the effectiveness of a marketing campaign

Often large brands will “ test the waters” in a specific location before rolling out new products and/or marketing campaigns large-scale. One of the ways they can test the results is by checking out the brand sentiment in that area during the time of the marketing campaign.

To do so, just check the relevant time, location, and brand name using Advanced Search.


Many people don’t realize just how powerful Twitter Advanced Search is, and what it can do for them personally.

By using the tool smartly you can discover information and trends that pretty much no one else is bothering to look for—because they have no idea that they can.