Are you looking for a long-lost friend or an ex-colleague? Perhaps you’re trying to catch up with the latest trends on Twitter? If so, you’ll need a social network search engine.
Of course, most social networks have their own search engines built in, but they’re fundamentally limited by the fact they can only search their own database. And how you are supposed to know whether Aunt Mary is on Facebook, Google Plus, or one of the other myriad options?
The solution? Use a network-agnostic social search engine. They can search all the most common networks, as well as lots of the niche, smaller ones.
If you need a social search engine, you’ve come to the right place. Here are six options for you to consider.
Pipl offers a vast database of online accounts – almost three billion are accessible through its search algorithms.
The search engine doesn’t only scan social media networks. It also scans a list of both personal and work emails, deep web archives such as court records, news reports, and publicly available government lists.
To use the tool, enter the person’s name, email address, or social media username into the search box. If you wish, you can also enter a location. Click on the magnifying glass icon to start the search.
The results page will show you hits from across the site’s various databases. You can use the filters on the left-hand side of the screen to narrow the results by location and age.
Twitter itself also allows you to search for tweets by location.
Social Mention is both a social search engine and a way to aggregate user-generated content across a number of networks into a single feed. It helps you search for phrases, events, and mentions, but it won’t let you find individual people.
The site supports more than 80 social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Google Plus, and Instagram. It can also scan blogs, bookmarks, and even comments.
In the left-hand panel of the results page, you’ll see an abundance of data about the phrases you entered. You can find out how frequently the page is mentioned, a list of associated keywords and hashtags, top users, and more.
On the right-hand side of the screen you’ll find links for exporting data into a CSV file, and along the top of the screen are various filter options.
The snitch.name site is one of the easiest on this list to use.
The site has several advantages over a regular search query on Google. For example, many social networks are either not indexed by Google, or only have very limited indexing. It also prioritizes “people pages,” whereas a regular Google search will also return results for results for posts mentioning the person, associated hashtags, and other content.
Obviously, even after running a search, some profiles theoretically remain restricted depending on the said user’s privacy settings. However, as long as you can access the account through your own social media account, you will be able to access the listing on snitch.name.
To use the site, fire up the homepage, enter your search terms, and mark the checkboxes next to the networks you want to scan. When you’re ready, click Search.
Social-Searcher is another web app that works across a broad array of social networks and other platforms.
You can use the site without making an account. Non-registered users can search Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Dailymotion, and Vimeo. You can also save your searches and set up email alerts.
If you need a more powerful solution, you should consider signing up for one of the paid plans. For $3.50 per month, you get 200 searches per day, three email alerts, three keyword monitors, and space for up to 3,000 saved posts. The top-level plan, which costs $20 per month, increases the limits even further.
The same team who is responsible for the previously-mentioned Social-Searcher has also developed a Google Social Search tool.
It works with six networks. They are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You can mark the checkboxes next to the networks’ logos to limit your search to particular sites.
The usual Google search tricks apply. For example, putting quotation marks around a set of words will force Google to only return results with an exact match, adding a minus sign will exclude specific words from the results, and typing OR between words will let you roll several terms into one search result.
Results are sorted by networks, and you can click on Web or Images to toggle between the different media.
Buzzsumo takes a slightly different approach to the tools we have mentioned so far. It specializes in searching for trends and keyword performance.
That makes it an ideal tool for businesses; they can find out what content is going to have the biggest impact when they share it, as well as gaining an insight into the words and phrases their competitors are using.
On the results page, you can use the panel on the left-hand side of the screen to create filters. Date, content type, language, country, and even word counts are searchable parameters.
On the right-hand side of the page, you can see how successful each post was. Analytics for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest are shown, as are the total number of shares.
Free users can only see the top 10 results; you will need a Pro account for $79 per month to unlock more. It’s probably too much money for individual users, but for businesses the cost is negligible.
Which Social Media Search Engines Do You Use?
In this article, we have introduced you to six of the best social media search engines. Each of them focuses on a different type of user and presents its results in a different way. If you use them all, you should be able to quickly find the topic, person, trend, or keyword you’re looking for.
Now it’s over to you. Which tools do you use when you need to find something on the social networks?
And if you’ve also been searching for a replacement for Google+, check out this list of the best alternatives:
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