I wrote this article following a more basic article about HootSuite keyword and search streams, to suggest some advanced search tactics after you’ve mastered the basic ones.
Use Negative Search Terms
Using negative search terms allows you to see search results for certain expression while omitting search results that contain your “negative” expression. When used correctly, this feature can help you narrow your search results effectively.
Let’s say for example that you want to see competitors for your snow removal business. You want to see only results that deal with the actual service and don’t want to see results regarding snow removal equipment. Thus, your negative expression is “equipment.”
In the search dialog box you will insert the minus sign ( – ) before a word you want to exclude from your search results. The search query for the example given above will look like this: snow removal -equipment.
Read more about generating keyword ideas including negative keywords.
Searches for the Past
Sometimes you want to define a specific time for search results in the past – very useful if you want to check reaction to a past event or campaign. For example, let’s say you opened a new restaurant and now want to examine the community’s engagement around the time of the official opening. This can easily be done by adding time to the search. Right after the search term, inserts one of the following options, while replacing the yyyy-mm-dd with the relevant dates:
- since: yyyy-mm-dd
- until: yyyy-mm-dd
Search for Questions
Enter a question mark (?) to conduct a search for questions. This type of search will help you find customers that are asking questions that you can answer. For example, if you are a running coach in Los Angeles, it would be priceless for you to get notified every time someone posts on Twitter something along the lines of: “any recommendations for a good running coach in Los Angeles?” To see this question in your search stream you simply have to type in the search dialog box “running coach ?” And set the location to the Los Angeles area.
In a less explicit case, you can get notified when someone is asking “how long will it take me to train for a 10K run?” (given that you set the search query for something like “run ?” Or “10K ?”). Then you can step in to offer your expertise and start developing a relationship with the asker
Click on the little Geo icon to make your search local. This is a great tool if you are in a local business or offer your services locally. You can perform a Geo search for any location in the world; thus, for example if you own a business in New Jersey and are thinking of opening a branch in Cincinnati, you can narrow your search results to social conversations only in the Cincinnati area in order to assess the market there. Click here to learn more about how to use location-based search.