The old-fashioned way
Even before the days of the internet, polls have always been an integral part of marketing. From the humble days of a focus group and telesurveys, incorporating consumer feedback and capturing data has always been a driving force in marketing for understanding audiences and moving businesses forward.
In 1995, Mars held a phone poll to allow the public to decide what colour they should replace the tan M&Ms. Chocolate lovers could call a phone number to vote for either a blue, pink or purple M&M to replace the tan ones. Two months and over 10 million phone calls later, the public had voted for blue – and they still exist in our M&Ms today.
The 21st century way
Walkers Crisps often release limited edition flavours and consumers must buy their favourites to ensure their chosen flavour wins. Their Choose or Lose campaign a few years ago pitted three classic flavours against three flavours from around the world. To decide which flavoured would stay and which would go, the public had to buy a single pack in shops or taking part in an online poll.
Thanks to social media polls, getting feedback from our audiences is easier than ever before. The three biggest social media platforms have enabled an easy poll function and in a matter of seconds we can start seeing results in real-time, and it’s time for you to utilise them for your business.
Harvest opinion for business development
While M&Ms relied on telephone votes to engage with the public, nowadays brands have a wealth of customer responses at their fingertips. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all have poll functions for you to take advantage of. If you run any kind of business, they are a great way to see what your consumers want from you.
It has never been easier to find out the interest of your followers and adapt your content strategy around that. What they like, what they don’t like, what they want to see from you, how you can meet their expectations? Social media polls give you a direct way of explicitly asking your followers what they think of your brand, and the best part is you have control over the answers.
Polls are a great addition to your social media strategy as they allow people to respond with very minimal effort. It takes a user very few seconds to vote in a poll as the choices are already displayed, which sets apart a poll from a survey which often takes more consideration.
In this digital age, users want to scroll quickly down their news feed and it’s important within your content strategy to grab their attention. Polls stand out visually in news feeds, particularly on Twitter and Instagram Stories, making it more likely they’ll be noticed and responded to.
There are plenty of ways to use social media polls to your brand’s advantage. They’re an efficient way of understanding your customers’ needs, interests, and opinions, which can affect product strategy, branding, messaging, and beyond. Above that, they can enable customers to see behind the curtains of your business. It doesn’t always have to be about your next business move, it can be a poll about anything!
Polls for fun an engagement
For example, at Cyberfrog we use social media polls to settle small in-office disputes such as; what’s the best topping for pancakes? And Is it a barm, breadcake, bap or cob? (Correct answers are lemon & sugar, and it’s a barm!) (No, it isn’t. It’s a breadcake! – Bossman Rich). We even had a Twitter poll to name our office dog.
Do these social media polls have anything to do with our website design services? Nope, but it lets our followers know more about us and the type of company we are – a close knit team who knows how to have fun.
Meeting customer needs
Social media polls can be as good-humoured and light hearted as our Cyberfrog polls, or they can be used to make considerable changes in your business. For example, they can be used as a way of getting customer feedback on an existing product or service that you offer.
Social media polls for client feedback can be adapted to any industry. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, do people prefer working on their abs, legs or arms? Ask them online! If you’re a florist, ask online followers what their favourite flower is with different rounds, pitting the winners against each other until an overall winner is found.
Put this vital information into action and curate your content around their interests. You could get even more from your social media polls by collating the results into a blog for your website.
This consumer insight is not only useful for your business, but for your followers as it shows to them that their views are cared for and influence the way you work. The most important part is listening. Absorb the information your consumers are telling you through these social media polls.
Additionally, using social media polls as market research to tell you what features of your business are important to them. You can modify your next business move around the outcomes of your poll. This particular poll by eBay’s social media team uses this method to determine what offers to roll out next to ensure their audience will be happy with the outcome.
#eBayChoice: Do you want to unlock an awesome deal on an Apple Watch or Fitbit Charge HR?
— eBay (@eBay) August 14, 2016
Proceed with wisdom
It couldn’t be easier to get started in the world of social media polls to boost the online presence of your business. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Stories are among the top social media platforms that allow you to add a poll to quiz your followers and immerse yourself into your community.
However, social media polls aren’t exclusive to those who follow you. Anybody who lands on your page can vote in a poll (and on Twitter it is an anonymous vote) for the sake of it with little regard of the result. Due to the easy accessibility of social media polls, one tap is all it takes to participate and if you’re not careful results can be easily skewed by rogue votes. Remember Boaty McBoatface? That was the result of people disrupting a poll much to the irritation of the NERC who commissioned the #NameOurShip poll to begin with. So much so they ignored the public and named the vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough instead. After huge public backlash for neglecting the voter’s most popular choice, the NERC named one of the ship’s submersibles Boaty McBoatface, highlighting the importance of engagement with your audience so they feel valued and provide more productive inputs.
Make sure you keep on top of your poll by setting a time limit for people to vote and (Facebook only) don’t let people submit their own answers. Keep the social media poll on track and monitor it for any comments that people want to make in response.
What are you waiting for?
Aside from that, there are very few downsides to social media polls. Not only do they increase your engagement, but they also provide you with invaluable free market research, and they’re quick and easy to produce. Introducing social media polls into your online content strategy may be the next step to help you reach the next level.