A couple of weeks ago twitter made a change to search: you can now search the tweets of just the people you follow.

Twitter's new search people you follow feature.

Besides being a handy relevance-enhancement for the searches you’re already doing, this opens up new possibilities specifically for SMMs managing a brand’s twitter account. Assuming you haven’t been mass-following #teamfollowback, those you’re following should have a high value for you to engage with. That makes “People you follow” as a search option such a valuable filter, that it’s now worth saving otherwise worthless searches. For instance…

Searching for questions.

Searching for a question mark shows tweets where people are asking questions. (Mostly. You’ll want to add -http:// to the search to filter out people linking to articles where the title is a question.) This can be useful just by adding keywords relevant to your industry to the search, but with twitter’s “people you follow” filter enabled, you can use much simpler keywords (“anyone” is a favorite of mine) or none at all, though you’ll pick up more @replies, and find good engagement opportunities. Especially if you’re representing a B2B brand, this a great way to add value.

Searching for content.

In our last post about sharing content on twitter, we mentioned sharing content from your audience as being a good way to build goodwill and increase shares of your own content. The new search feature makes it even easier to find photos, articles, or other content the people you’re following are sharing. Do a search for ‘”my blog” http://’, and you’ll find people tweeting about their latest blog post. A search for ‘instagram OR twitpic OR yfrog’, and you’ll find people tweeting photos they’ve taken.

Ambiguous brand words.

A search for ‘energy’ normally wouldn’t do @RedBull much good. And I bet @MonsterEnergy and @MonsterCareers are always seeing people talking about the other in search results for ‘monster’. If a word with many meanings is an important part of your brand identity, twitter search can now be useful for monitoring some of the highest volume tweets about your business or industry.


I’m sure there are many more clever uses for searching your followers only; it’s likely we’ll post more tactics later. Get our posts by RSS or get our posts by email to make sure you don’t miss out!