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Video Transcript

When it comes to creating streams in Hootsuite Insights, you may find yourself in one of two situations: your search is too wide and includes a lot of irrelevant mentions and noise, or it’s too narrow, and the volume of posts is too low to provide you with any meaningful insights.

To combat this, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when defining the search parameters of your stream.

Before you begin, consider if your brand name or search term has a broad meaning or means something else in a different language. If that’s the case, you may want to limit your search to your language only and be mindful about keywords to exclude from your search.   

Next, do some preliminary research - are there common hashtags, shorthands, industry terminology, or user generated terms used to describe your brand? Incorporating these into your search parameters will yield more accurate results.


When creating a search stream, Keep the end goal of your search in mind - don’t try to track industry chatter, competitors, market analysis and customer support performance all in one stream. Instead, create well tailored, refined streams for each specific need.

In the first line in the “Define Your Keywords” view, add every word that must be contained in a post in order to display in the search results. It’s very important to limit the terms in this field to 1 to 3 unique words, to keep your search sufficiently broad. For example, if you’re listening for mentions of your brand and you add your brand name and your hashtag in this field, only posts that contain both will show up in your stream.

Think critically about common, relevant keywords often mentioned with the terms in your first line, and enter them in the second line.  This will return results that include ALL the words from the first line AND words or phrases from the second. Keep the number of terms in the second line under ten, otherwise the search will become too narrow. A best practice for the second line is to add plurals and common misspellings of the words you’re using.

A common mistake is repeating words in both the first and second lines, resulting in duplicate search terms.  So make sure the terms in each line are distinct.

In the third line enter the words you want to exclude from your search.  For example, are there any irrelevant words that are commonly used with your keyword? If so, use this field to exclude the posts that contain them.

Always keep an eye on the preview window to see how each change affects the results when defining your keywords. The goal is to create a stream that is as specific as possible, but not so specific that your search produces no results.


Once your results are returned and the metrics are calculated, check out the conversation map for the common words associated with your search. This step serves a dual purpose by providing you with interesting insights about your brand and by surfacing common but irrelevant words you may want to exclude from your search.

Now take a moment to scroll through the result.  Are you happy with what you see? If not, you can edit the search parameters but as a rule of thumb, it’s best to adjust them soon after the stream is created. Each adjustment creates a brand new search, which means that some of the older results may be removed.


To further refine your stream you can remove irrelevant posts. For example, if you see an account that is clearly a bot or spam, you can delete the author to permanently remove their posts from your stream. You can also delete specific mentions that are irrelevant to the intent of your search.

Hootsuite Insights lets you manually re-adjust the sentiment on each mention. Sentiment is calculated by analyzing keywords, but it can sometimes miss the nuance of natural language, for example with sarcasm. To accommodate for this, you can manually change the sentiment to reflect the true meaning of the mention and generate a more accurate picture of the conversation around your search terms.

From the Mentions view you can add a tag such as influencer, news, prospect, or customer service to individual posts or you can create your own. This is especially useful if you need to report on these metrics in the future.

If a particular post needs follow up or action, select “Task” and assign it to a teammate. Add a note for context, click Save and they’ll get an email notification with the mention and the note included.

To see a historical record of tag, task, and export activity, you can always refer to the Activity tab