We characterize the magnetic properties for thulium ion energy levels in the (Tm:YGG) lattice with the goal to improve decoherence and reduce linewidth broadening caused by local host spins and crystal imperfections. More precisely, we measure hyperfine tensors for the lowest level of and excited states using a combination of spectral hole burning, absorption spectroscopy, and optically detected nuclear magnetic resonance. By rotating the sample through a series of angles with an applied external magnetic field, we measure and analyze the orientation dependence of the ion's spin Hamiltonian. Using this spin Hamiltonian, we propose a set of orientations to improve material properties that are important for light-matter interaction and quantum information applications. Our results yield several important external field directions: some to extend optical coherence times, another to improve spin inhomogeneous broadening, and yet another that maximizes mixing of the spin states for specific sets of ions, which allows improving optical pumping and creation of lambda systems in this material.