Have you ever wanted to know what your Twitter followers thought about, well, anything? Twitter recently released Twitter Polls, an easy-to-use feature that will help you answer all of those pressing questions.
The feature allows you to ask your followers a simple question and let them anonymously choose between two short answers. The polls last for 24 hours and the results remain public. This new feature is a valuable way to get inside of your audience’s heads, while creating a more engaging, participatory experience around your business on Twitter.
So how should you use Twitter Polls? That’s totally up to you. If you’re creative enough, the possibilities are just about endless. In the meantime, we’ve gathered 13 creative Twitter Poll ideas to get your gears working.
Bonus: Download the free strategy guide that reveals how Hootsuite grew our Twitter following to over 7 million users and learn how you can put the tactics to work for your business.
Guide simple design choices
While you’re not going to let your followers guide an entire rebrand, Twitter polls allow you to garner feedback on everyday design decisions directly from the people that will end up seeing them. While you decide on the overall design and branding of something, polling your followers can help you answer those frustrating little questions. Should our links be blue or green? Should I use title case or sentence case in headlines? Do people prefer blue or red backgrounds in profile pics. A lot of these decisions will impact content shared with your followers anyways. Why not let them guide your hand?
Choose your headlines
While we’re asking our followers about their tastes, Twitter Polls can help you ensure that your content is connecting with the greatest number of your followers. How? By having them give feedback before you begin promoting. How many of us have spent a solid hour trying to decide between two different headlines? These are decisions that you can throw to your audience in a poll. Not only does it save you the trouble, you also know that whatever the majority chooses is most likely to catch their attention in the end. Plus, by actually answering your poll the audience might just become invested in the outcome. They’ll probably be keeping a keen eye out for the finished product.
Basic content research
When you’re writing your new blog post or white paper, you’re going to be doing a lot of research. Much of the data and stats that you use will likely come from secondary sources, often research firms, news sources or analysts. But what if you went straight to the source? Ask your followers a simple question about the topic you’re writing about. Then use their responses as research within the content itself.
The Nieman Lab, an organization focused on researching and elevating journalism, wanted to write about ad blockers. So, they polled their audience asking whether they used ad blockers. The organization embedded the poll in a blog post and wrote about the insights they garnered from the results, which were an almost even split between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ columns.
We’re curious: do you use an ad blocker?
— Nieman Lab (@NiemanLab) October 28, 2015
Settle an argument
Having an argument amongst your team over something? It could be something business related, like whether to use macs or PCs, or something totally casual, like whether Spiderman or Batman is superior. Whatever you’re fighting over, if you don’t mind it being public facing, throw it in a Twitter poll. Your audience will help you settle the issue, sure, but you’re also showing them that your brand has a human side, and that you trust them.
Engage around current events and culture
Sports, movies, news stories… they’re not all going to tie in well to your business. That being said, look out for opportunities to show your personality and human side. If you’re a small business in a city whose team just made the World Series, maybe this is a good opportunity to polls your audience. “Are you watching the game?” “Did the ump make the right call?” “Do you like our home jerseys or away jerseys?” Baseball fans in your audience are going to appreciate how relatable your brand is online.
Close out a Twitter chat
You’ve just hosted a Twitter chat. Rather than saying goodbye and asking them to tune in next time, keep up the engagement. Close out your chat with a Twitter poll that prompts people to answer a question. This might be something like “Did you enjoy today’s discussion?” or “Will you be tuning in next week?” The number of responses you get will offer you some indication of whether the current chat was a success, and what you should be expecting for the next one.
Gauge your reach (did you hear about this?)
You launched a campaign on Monday. On Wednesday you haven’t quite hit the numbers you were hoping for. You want to see how far your campaign has travelled, to decide whether your promotion failed, people weren’t interested, or something else went wrong. A simple poll could offer some valuable insight into the problem. Asking, “Did you hear about our latest campaign?” is a good way to gauge the success of your promotion. If you get a lot of “no’s,” then your promotion likely needs work. If people respond in the positive, it might be your campaign that wasn’t up to snuff.
Build your own adventure
This is one of the more ‘outside the box’ ideas for Twitter polls, but one that could result in a lot of engagement on Twitter. Want an interesting way to support a new campaign? How about a build your own adventure. Let your followers know that you’re going to be spending a day letting them decide what you’re going to do. Maybe your mascot is going to act out their decisions on video. Maybe it’s your CEO. Prompt them with a question like, “Should we write a song about accounting, or a poem?” Tally the votes and follow through. Next, “Should our CEO explain income tax while hopping on one foot? Or while standing on his head?” These might be extreme examples (or totally another day at the office, if you worked at Hootsuite), but create an adventure to fit your own culture, and your campaign. Your fans will love it.
Event planning can be a time-consuming, stressful activity. Ultimately you’re just trying to create the most pleasing environment for your guests. Why not let them help out with the planning? Ask your guests if they enjoy a particular venue. Ask them if they prefer white wine or red. Ask them if they prefer steak or sushi. Ask them anything that might affect their decision to attend, and how much they’ll ultimately enjoy your event. And, in the end, ask them if they’re planning on attending!
Use polls as an event engagement tool
Once you get them to your event, polls make for a fantastic presenter engagement tool. When you’re on stage, rather than simply speaking to your audience for 30 minutes, inject questions into your presentation. Ask them a question and prompt them to respond in a Twitter poll (which a handy assistant Tweets while you’re on stage). Then pull up the results on the screen and either congratulate them on their knowledge, or explain to them why they got it wrong. This active participation is more enjoyable for the audience, and ensures you’re capturing their attention. And, there’s the added bonus that they’ll probably follow the account that you’re sending the polls from. Win-win.
Choose their own prizes
Contests are one of the most powerful campaigns you can run on social media. If you’re looking to build some hype before launching a contest, a well-timed Twitter poll can help. Ask your followers to choose between two different prizes. Do you own a garage? Ask your followers if they would you rather win a free oil change or new wiper blades. Give them a day to respond and build interest. Then thank them for participating, announce the results, and immediately launch your contest campaign (prompting them to share a specific message, fill out a form, or create user-generated content). If your poll got a good response, you know people are interested in the prize, and your contest will likely get an equally good response.
Choose their own discounts
On a very similar vein, if you work in sales, retail or any other B2C business, you can poll your Twitter followers and allow them to choose a product to discount. Ask them if they’d rather a 15 percent discount on a foot massage or a pedicure. Ask them if they would rather 20 percent off of jeans or sweaters. Choose two products you’re willing to discount anyways, and then wait for the results. As above, as soon as the poll closes thank them for participating, announce the results and launch your discount or sale. Then watch the sales roll in.
Embrace the nonsense
Finally, and perhaps my favorite idea, is to just embrace the nonsense. What do I mean by that? I mean have fun with Twitter polls. Ask ridiculous questions. Make jokes. Force people to smile at their desks or on the bus. You’d be surprised how much people appreciate it. Just ask Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly.
I know when that hotline bling, that can only:
— Norm Kelly (@norm) October 5, 2015
Have any more ideas for us? Let us know in the comments and we might add them to the list!