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Published April 26th 2014

The Importance of Queries: The Key to Useful SM Data

Queries are where it all begins when it comes to social media monitoring. They are the search strings – combining words, phrases and Boolean operators – that tell a platform the data you want to retrieve from millions of online sources.

A good Query is the key to success. A well-written one will give you accurate, relevant data, that in turn means you can get better insights, make better decisions, and ultimately improve your business.

But start with a bad Query? Well, then it all goes wrong.

We have seen many examples over the years of Queries that bring back a lot of irrelevant data, through misuse of operators or improper testing.

Bad data, at best, costs you lots of time cleaning it up, and at worst means decisions based on completely flawed and inaccurate insults. Plus, if you’re on a mentions-based account, all those irrelevant mentions are costing you money.

Not great eh?

dog eats money

So why don’t we just write our Queries for our clients?

Well, we can do, if they want us to (we have an Insights team who specialise in doing bespoke set up for clients in multiple languages). This works for some of our clients, who want very specialised monitoring, need Queries written in other languages or don’t have the time, resources or desire to write their own.

But, largely, we find that our clients want control over their own data – and that means having the flexibility and power to create and edit their own Queries, whenever they want.

As such, we offer the widest range of Boolean operators available on the market – 22 including the two we launched today – to let our users really refine their searches, from retrieving mentions from specific sites, locations or authors, to tracking very specific capitalisation or special characters. These operators mean our clients can get exactly what they need.


Our platform is all about flexibility – we allow our users to chart almost anything against anything for example – and it makes sense that that flexibility starts right at the beginning.

No one knows about our clients’ exact needs and monitoring goals more than they themselves, so giving them the freedom to create their own Queries means getting the exact data they want. Plus, they can quickly and easily update them whenever they want to, so if they need to add in a new product name or campaign hashtag to track, they can, without any fuss or waiting around.

We hear time and time again from clients that our powerful and flexible Query creation is one of the things they love about us. That’s because it gives them a degree of accuracy and relevancy in their data that they simply can’t get anywhere else.

We’re here to help

Yes, it’s true, sometimes Query-writing can be complex.

We try and give our clients as much help and guidance as possible with writing Queries, to make the process as simple and easy as possible and to make sure they have success. Success = happy client.

That help and guidance comes in many forms, including:

You can find all of our Query resources here, plus take a look at some of these great posts:

And, trust us, writing complex Queries can be fun – try it! You can always tweet us if you get stuck.

Ask us anything about Queries!


We’re hosting a 90 minute Twitter Q&A all about Queries, so you can ask us anything you like – from best practice and strategy advice to how to use a specific operator or overcome a tricky problem you have.

Join us on Twitter with the hashtag #brandwatchtips on Friday 2 May, 3pm BST/ 10am ET.

We’re also hosting two free webinars all about advanced Query writing – click below to sign up and find out more.

30 April 3.30pm BST

1 May 11.30am ET


Got any great Query tips? Tweet them with #brandwatchtips or let us know in the comments below.



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