Twitter’s secret search weapon – Do you use them?

Let me show you how to combine Twitter search filters and search operators to create search strings that will make Google quiver in their Internet boots. Because you won’t need Google to find anything ever again! Yes, you can use a social media platform to search.

Imagine the world without Google. I wasn’t joking before; it is possible to survive without them (and without Bing, Yahoo, etc.). You know Twitter is the place to have conversations, but are you still trying to get your head around doing this in just 144 characters? Is your Twitter timeline “noisy”?

Delve into the secret, most untalked about filters that even Twitter hasn't documented for us!Click To Tweet

In 4 minutes you’ll know how to find viral topics, images, questions and Influencers on the topics that matter to you without ever leaving Twitter. Oh, and these work on your mobile and the web version!

The search operators and filters you’ll learn:

lang:[language code]
since:yyyy-mm-dd until:yyyy-mm-dd

Viral tweets

When a topic or subject goes viral, it will get a lot of tweets, retweets and likes! When Instagram changed their logo, the opinions were abundant, and there were plenty of blog posts written about it. Try this search string:

Twitter Search- Instagram

min_retweets:[number] – identify tweets which received the minimum number of retweets specified

min_faves:[number]– identify tweets which received the minimum number of tweets specified

lang:en – identify tweets in the languages specified. This can be changed to any language.

[thrive_leads id=’9150′]

Twitter images only

Let’s say you want to see everything about a topic that show the tweets that contain images. Pinterest and Instagram are not the only ones that can show photos, you know! Let’s take wearables as an example and we’ll also try to find the most viral tweets. Use this search string:


When might you use the image filter? When you want to like and retweet other people’s tweets as this increases your exposure to meeting new people, having conversations and finding interesting people to follow.

If you’re not looking for viral but want informative, then cheat sheets and infographics will be your thing. To find cheat sheets in your topic area, you can use the following search string:

Twitter Cheat Sheet Image Search

filter:images – identify tweets that contain images
( ) – parenthesis to group terms together
OR – must be in capital letters and identifies tweets that have any of the mentioned terms
"" – identifies tweets that have the exact phrase within the quotation marks

What questions are people asking on Twitter?

This is an excellent way to find out what people are asking. You can jump in and answer and what better way to start a conversation or gain followers!

Use the ? search operator

search operators

You will see many tweets using the question mark and containing a link to a blog post. You’ll want to ignore those by using filter:links. However, you’ll want to tell Twitter to exclude tweets that contain links by using the - operator. Your search string will look like this:


filter:links – identify tweets that contain links

Twitter influencers

There are many influencers on Twitter and not all of them have the little blue tick that indicates they’re verified. However, if you are looking for the top dogs on a particular subject, this Twitter search string is for you:


filter:verfied – identify tweets from verified accounts

Click on the Accounts tab to see a list of verified twitter accounts:


Check out more search tips: How to change the default search engine on your iPhone

Research work

This next filter is invaluable to researchers who want to cut through the noise and the chitter chatter on Twitter and get information from news sources.


filter:news – identify tweets that come from news websites

We can find out past news stories on Apple by using the date filters.


since:yyyy-mm-dd until:yyyy-mm-dd – identify tweets in a specific time rangeLocation

It’s interesting to see what someone in the USA may be talking about a particular subject compared to someone in the UK. It’s also great for connecting with people in a certain area for job hunting.


near:[place] – identify tweets in a particular area

Over to you

Think about these Twitter search strategies every time you connect to Twitter. If you use them to find the information you need, you’ll find new ways to combine the filters to bring you greater results. Have you used these strategies already? Do you know similar search functionality with other social media platforms?  Let me know in the comments below.

About the author

I’m Tara-Tamiko and I help successful small businesses integrate winning digital marketing transformation strategies in 90 days, so they can increase sales and retain customers without tech overwhelm. Find out more, schedule a Deep Dive Strategy Session.

Have a question, suggestion or a comment?