Twitter search is a powerful and complex tool that can help you find the best people to connect with in your local area. The basic search of typing a word into the Twitter search tool searches and retrieves all Tweets containing that word. It does not search biography information or the actual name of a user. However, with more than 50,000,000 Tweets sent daily, a simple search does not likely yield the results you are looking for.

Let’s move on to an advanced Twitter search. By adding a few characters or “operators,” you can find not only people who are tweeting about life insurance but also those living within a 10- mile radius of your city. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “Life insurance” (containing the exact phrase “life insurance”).
  • “Long-term care” OR “LTC” (containing either “long-term care” or “LTC” or both).
  • “Life insurance” near:”San Francisco” (containing the exact phrase “life insurance” and tweeted near “San Francisco”).
  • Near:NYC within:15mi (sent within 15 miles of “NYC”).
  • Annuity-sell (containing “annuity” but not “sell,” indicted by the minus sign).
  • Annuity :( (containing “annuity” and with a negative attitude, indicated with the frown face).
  • Annuity :) (containing “annuity” with a positive attitude, indicated by the smiley face).
  • 401k? (containing “401k” and asking a question).

By using the advanced features of Twitter search, you can go deeper than plain text queries and discover what people in your community are talking about right now. Join the conversation. Answer questions, follow local opinion leaders and contribute valuable content.

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Follow Amy on Twitter @insurancemktg and visit her blog for a full list of search operators at http://www.financialsocialmediamarketing.com/blog.html.