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?
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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!