Social listening has become an established source of insights for companies regardless of industry and across departments – from marketing to PR to human resources. While agreeing that social listening insights are valuable is a great first step, actually getting to them can require sifting through huge amounts of social media noise, irrelevant conversations and posts. In fact, during my time working with Meltwater clients as a Client Success Account Manager, I found this to be one of the biggest frustrations that business professionals faced in their social programs. This article outlines the basics of how to structure social listening searches that uncover those insights, with as little frustration as possible.

Value from social listening doesn’t derive from the quantity of posts you pull in, and it’s hard to find those few conversations that could be your brand’s magic bullet. Short of hiring an army of interns to scour social media, the most efficient way to discover valuable posts is by using social listening software like Meltwater Buzz. With 2.5 billion posts coming through Buzz each month, the results of your social listening program will only be as good as the searches you build.

Keep reading to learn the basics of building a social listening search as well as tips and best practices to keep them running smoothly.

Social Listening in Meltwater Buzz: Social Search & Filter

A Meltwater Buzz campaign (that is, a social media search) is easy to set up using keywords and a few filters. The keywords that you input into the social search pull relevant conversations and posts into Meltwater Buzz from several social media content sources.

The social search is made up of three text boxes:

  • Box 1 designates keywords that have to be present in every result, similar to the Boolean operator “AND”
  • Box 2 works like the Boolean operator “OR.” At least one of the keywords here must appear along with ALL of the keywords in Box 1
  • Box 3 is for keywords that should not be present in any results, similar to the Boolean operator “NOT”



This sample campaign is looking for any posts that mention “battery” as well as any of the five car companies in Box 2. Any posts that include “hybrid,” “flashlight,” etc. won’t show up in your search results. Most campaigns don’t need any filtering beyond the Social Search.

In cases when the results are still too broad, use the Filter to further tailor your content with Boolean operators. For the basics of using Boolean operators, take a look at my recent post on building media monitoring searches.

To filter the above campaign, I might use the following keywords:

range OR price OR cost OR value

This expression works in conjunction with the keywords in the Social Search and will make sure that your campaign pulls in results about electric car batteries that also focus on range or cost.

Social Listening in Meltwater Buzz: Tips & Best Practices

Depending on the results you’d like to receive, Meltwater Buzz social listening campaigns can be structured in a number of ways. Consider the following tips and best practices when creating a campaign to make sure that your inbox is full of insights and not just noise.

  • Be smart about how you construct searches! If you use general keywords, you’ll get too many results. Think about what the perfect post or conversation would look like and use those keywords.


  • After putting keywords into the Social Search, click on the “Preview” button at the bottom of the page. This will show you sample results and will give you an estimated number of weekly hits. If that number is too high, refine your search more!


  • Use the language filter to limit results to a specific language. This can drastically reduce the number of irrelevant results in a campaign.


  • Use quotation marks around any two-word terms


  • Enter at least one keyword into Box 1 in the Social Search to ensure the most tailored results


  • The Filter allows you to use wildcard and proximity searching
    • Wildcard: to find jog, jogging, jogs, jogger, etc. type in “jog*”
    • Proximity: to find apple when it’s up to three words away from orange, type in: “apple orange”~3


  • If you’re still getting too many results, try looking at the Theme Cloud. If you recognize any words that are irrelevant to your campaign, add them to Box 3 in the Social Search


This post serves as a basic outline of how to search successfully in Meltwater Buzz and your Account Manager is always available to help with any tweaks or additions. As always, if there are any other topics that you’d like to see on the Meltwater Success Blog, send me an email at