Are Online Polls Worth Using in Your Social Media Strategy?

It’s easy to forget about the little things in your social media strategy – like opinion polls. Are they even worth using? I mean, what effect could a tiny poll possibly have on the outcome of your social media campaign overall?

WebEx Polling 300x229 Are Online Polls Worth Using in Your Social Media Strategy?

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Actually if you use them properly, they really can help your strategy become successful. The moral here is – sometimes the small stuff does count. Let’s discuss why.

1. Running Your Own Polls

It’s never a bad idea to give your clients a faster, easier way to communicate their opinion, and that’s what a well planned poll, or series of polls, can do. Instead of having to post a comment on your blog, or your Facebook page, they simply need to click a button to register their opinion. Opinions are important – in fact, they make up the very fabric of all social media.

Polls give your clients a quick way to express how they feel about your company, a new product or service, or just on some general research that you’d like feedback on. A good example, is a poll to rate the quality of a blog post. You could even release a consecutive series of polls, that will eventually help you pinpoint exactly what your readers want from you.

In other words, running a well thought out poll is an excellent market research tactic, and will help keep your content, message or goals on track. Even LinkedIn has recognised the importance of polls. Without checks and balances like polls, a lot of information can be lost – which might eventually lead to social media failure.

The Two Main Types of Poll

A – The Question. Ask your community a question that will help you gather specific data on something important. It could be feedback on a new e-book, a website or a simple Twitter promotion.

B – The Quiz/Multiple Choice. This form of poll mines for data, and is largely based on personal opinion. It can be an excellent way to collect answers from your community. Would you prefer a, b, or c?

All in all, running your own polls will keep you informed about community opinion and that is invaluable. Structure your questions and quizzes well, and make a record of the time and date that the data came in. You’ll want to run the same poll again after a few months.

2. Watch Other People’s Polls

Do you know how much you can learn from checking in on competitor’s polls? There are companies just like you out there, asking their communities to vote, or give an opinion on something they’ve done. Many polls publish instant results, so it’s plainly visible on the page. Check for these every now and then for insight into your competitor’s market research.

Remember that polls should be used as a supportive market research tool. They don’t go into enough detail to complete the whole picture for you. Use them as an accompaniment to a larger, more qualitative plan. When you add enough pieces of the marketing puzzle together, a picture will begin to form! Just make sure that the content of your polls is worth the trouble.

Do you run polls to gather research? How effective are they? Please tell us!

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18 Responses to “Are Online Polls Worth Using in Your Social Media Strategy?”

  1. Jens Nilsen@annoncer Says:

    I have thought about running a poll, but don’t you just “get the answers” you want, because you choose and phrase the questions? A simple poll like a blog post Like/Dislike poll is of course a no-brainer, but there are situations where Multiple Choice don’t really fit the bill and a qualitative and more fulfilling answer is required. A solution might be to run a preliminary survey among the users who you will be polling, so that you don’t forget something and everybody chooses “Other” 8o)

  2. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Jens – True, but there are ways to get more custom responses, if you get a polls app created for you. We’ve seen some interesting creativity applied for better data mining. Perhaps that’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking! Thanks for reading!

  3. custom Says:

    I think they are worth using. People like them and they are easy to do. You just have to have the right questions in them.

  4. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Custom – the right questions – sounds easy, but it takes a while to perfect! Thanks for reading!

  5. Ariadna Baer@vestidos de 15 años Says:

    I haven’t thought of using polls in my site, but now that you mention it I believe I could craft a couple of posts to see what my readers want. As you may have seen I run a fashion blog (in Spanish) and your advice could help me out to give them the colors and topics they really want.

    One question: DO you believe it is important to use tools such as Facebook for those polls or should I post directly in the site?

  6. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Ariadna – Facebook is really an excellent way to gather the info you need, as everyone there is already sharing. The sentiment changes when someone arrives on a new website. It’s a little strange to them, so they are less likely to vote on a poll. Go with Facebook – see what happens!

  7. John Davies@Types of dogs Says:

    In Psychology you learn there are open and closed questions, polls are classed as clossed but at the same time, if you are only looking for an answer between a few the results are easyier to use.

    However you can also let readers comment under the poll if there is anything extra they want to add.

  8. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @John – That’s why researching and posing the right closed questions is important. But polls can only take you so far, it’s true. That’s not to say that they can’t be very, very useful. Thanks for your comment John, and keep reading.

  9. sava@gold watch Says:

    I’ve tried running a poll on my website and it did not have much effect(at least I didn’t notice it) only about 10% of my visitors used it.. I’m thinking of setting up another one and I will try make it more catchy and see what happens. Thanks for the info.

  10. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Sava – the trick is to keep trying, until your community responds – find out what they care about the most and begin there. Remember its about what the customer wants, not what you want!

  11. Zadoc Paet Says:

    I’ve had the most success using polls from Their polls are social. I get traffic back from their social network, and votes from their users as well as mine. It’s the best thing out there, by far.

  12. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Zadoc – thanks for the tip, we’ll check Wepolls out! Keep reading :)

  13. Yann@B2B Market Research Says:

    I’ve always used polls for stickiness – you can build your own in Expression Engine and it’s really powerful – what’s more, you can take the results and build your own PR out of it, share the results, share the love :) Zadoc Paet, I’m checking out that wepolls as we speak….. sounds awesome

  14. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Yann, thanks for the tip – polls are certainly an excellent way to get your bounce rate down – something all social marketers need to focus on in the new year :)

  15. web consulting Says:

    I guess some people forgot that big things started from small things.. and online polls helps to improve our site and to recognize what our client wants through their opinions using online polls…

  16. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Web – opinions are really all that matter in business. You can’t function if your customers aren’t happy. Thanks for reading! – John.

  17. Lock cylinder Says:

    I guess some people forgot that big things started from small things.. and online polls helps to improve our site and to recognize what our client wants through their opinions using online polls…

  18. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Lock, well said. It’s the little things that keep great businesses going. – John

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