How to add geo-searches to Hootsuite or Tweetdeck

One of the most useful aspects of social media is the search function. Twitter especially allows you to search for any word or phrase and to narrow the search results to within a set number of miles of a specific location. Think of the benefits of being able to search for people talking about your particular business niche within striking distance of your locality.

I have frequently executed these searches on the Twitter website, but now have them running permanently on Hootsuite. It took me a little while to work out how it should be done, particularly with Hootsuite, but it finally dawned on me that the best way to get it to work was with a geocode, rather than using the place name. The latter is fine if you live, say in London, but I found that both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck struggled when searching using the name of my town, Penzance.

Here’s how I got it working:

1. Find your geocode

To do this, go to this site and drag the pin to where you are. The geocode is then displayed in the longitude and latitude boxes under the map

2. Add a search stream to Hootsuite or Tweetdeck

To do this, click ‘Add stream’ and then, in the pop-up dialog, click the Search tab. Then enter your search term and the geocode as follows:

Advisor OR Adviser OR IFA geocode:50.1186,-5.53711,100km

You can see that the search string is in three parts:

  • The search term(s): Advisor OR Adviser OR IFA – here you can use Boolean arguments to your heart’s content
  • The Geocode, in this format: geocode:latitude,longitude,
  • The search area: 100km. Note that this can be in miles if you prefer, just substitute miles for km

Click ‘Create Stream’ at the bottom right of the dialog and you’re good to go.

The process is the same in Tweetdeck, just click the PLUS button at the top left, choose your account, select Search on the right of the dialog and enter the search string as above.

3. Engage in conversations

It’s a good idea to monitor these searches. Tweetdeck has especially good and tweakable alerts so you know when a new tweet has appeared within your parameters. There is so much happening on Twitter, you may well need to refine your searches so that they reflect what you want to hear, but once you have, monitor the stream(s) regularly. In just the last few weeks, I have intercepted two tweets from people asking their Twitter followers if they knew a good IFA in the area. Neither have become clients because they don’t fit my client profile, but both were surprised that a local IFA was monitoring Twitter and delighted that I had responded. How do you think that looks to them? Who do you think they might recommend to their friends in future?

If you have a good experience of using searches to find conversations relevant to your business, let me know in the comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ian Green

    Despite the fact that about 50% of what is written above may as well be a foreign language to me, I’ll give it a go…

    • Pete Matthew

      Ah, c’mon Ian. You can do it. Let me know if you get stuck…

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  • Kristian Downer

    Thanks for this, an invaluable tool in tuning our clients into what is happening on Twitter in their local area

    • petematthew

      No worries Kristian – glad it was helpful

  • Michael

    I’m struggling with Hootsuite. Is there a true line break in the search after your search term, before “geocode?” if not, how do I space this?

    • petematthew

      Hi Michael. No line break. All on one line, the string is:

      Advisor OR Adviser OR IFA geocode:50.1186,-5.53711,100km

      With the spacing just so. Works for me!