Social media is one of those things I continue to have a love/hate relationship with. Just when I think I’ve mastered it, some new convention comes along – or my interests change – and I’m back on the learning curve again. Finding people I want to connect with or who can influence the success of my business, is one of those areas.

Ever feel frustrated with the suggestions Twitter makes about who to follow? Have you wondered whether there is another way to find the right connections on Twitter? It turns out that with a little knowledge of Google’s search parameters, you can use it to find almost anything or anyone you want on Twitter. Here are 3 slick ways to use Google to find your kind of people on Twitter:

1. Find companies and people using your subject area as a Twitter title or company name

You may not realize that Twitter puts whatever name you select for your account into the title tag for your Twitter page and every post you make. (Note: you can see the tag in the title bar of your browser.) Since many people don’t use their real name in Twitter, and use a company name or a title instead (example: Innovative Marketing Resources) you can use Google’s intitle search to discover people who have used certain words in their title.

Examples: Google the following search queries:

To find people using social media as their name (~46,400 results):

intitle:”social media * on twitter”

Engineer (~10,800 results):

intitle:”engineer * on twitter”

Travel agent (~265 results):

intitle:”travel agent * on twitter”

2. Find companies and people claiming to be experts in your subject area in their Twitter bio

It seems logical that key influencers in your target marketplace would likely include the term you are searching for in their biography – you can search that too.

InText searches look for the occurence of each of the words on a given page in the Twitter site. Since we’re looking for the term in the biography, we can build the search staring with a ” then using the word bio, followed by the wildcard character (*) followed by the search term, then a close quote, and the qualifier.

By placing the text in quotes, you are telling Google that you only want results that contain the words in exact order. So intext:Disney packing list (without quotes) returns ~2.4 million+ results (all of those terms are on the page), but intext:”Disney packing list” with quotes returns ~16,900 results. This can seem a little complicated but with practice you get the hang of it and will be able to alter the search strings quickly to find what you are looking for.

Examples: Web Designer (~1,650 results):

intitle:”web designer* on twitter” OR intext:”bio * web designer”

(Note that these search gives you substantially more results than an intitle search would return. If you did the same search using the intitle command shown above: intitle:”social media expert * on twitter” you would only get ~52 results, versus ~950 for a bio search.)

While we’re on the subject, removing the quotation marks delivers significantly more results: intext:bio * social media expert yields ~31,700 results. It’s important to note that this search result includes anyone who posted a Twitter post containing the term social media expert, even if they were commenting on people who claim to be social media experts – perhaps not what you are looking for. Also, in this search, the term bio is redundant, because every Twitter page contains the term bio. I recommend using the search string, intext:”bio * social media expert” for these searches.

3. Local Tweeter searches. Since every Twitter page has a location parameter, you can search locations with an InText search

Examples: Boston, Massachusetts (~88,000 results):

intitle:”on twitter” “location Boston”

Anywhere in Massachusetts – hmm… some folks using Boston don’t bother including Massachusetts in their location! (~38,200 results):

intitle:”on twitter” “location *Massachusetts”

Obviously, you’ll want to check out the other suburb names in your local market, because this is searching on the words the Tweeter used, not their actual location. You can also combine a location search with a keyword search, such as (~ 6 results):

intitle:”on twitter” “bio* *pr” “location Massachusetts”

Now we’re getting really granular! You may also want to try similar searches with Name is you are looking for a specific person. There are other great ways you can use Google search, here’s a list of some handy search tips that will make you a Google search pro.

Something to keep in mind when using Google for Twitter search. The results may not always be all-inclusive. We can never be certain that Google’s indexed all of the pages, or that it will provide all of the results for any given search. However, it’s still useful to help you learn more about your current followers or for finding new people who you may want to follow.