November 4, 2015

For all the updates that Facebook makes (seemingly weekly), I was actually really excited to see Twitter announce a fun new update to their platform. It may just be me, and I’m not asking Twitter to evolve weekly, but I feel like they’d be stagnant there for a while.

But this new update – a polling feature – where you can add a poll directly to your tweets is so freakin’ fun! I literally checked my Twitter app repeatedly for 3 days until I confirmed I had the update with this new feature.

First, let’s talk about how to use this new feature on Twitter.

If you have the update, you’ll notice the little pie chart looking icon next to your tweet icons.

To create a poll, tap this icon.

You can have only two answers to your question. Type in the question of your choice and then type in the possible two answers. After that, all you have to do is tap “Tweet” to send the tweet out to your followers.

And now the fun begins!

Your tweet will appear in the Twitter stream looking like this:

People can tap on either answer to record their selection. As you collect responses, you can view your tweet on your own profile for status information:

Other people will be able to see the number of participants (votes) but not the results until they have cast their vote. After casting their vote, they’ll see where their result falls in with the others.

You’ll notice that the poll is live for 24 hours. People can participate up until that time expires. Then you’ll receive a final tally of the votes and this will remain as your tweet on your profile. You cannot see who participated in the poll, only the final number of people who did

Fun, right?

Ok, so it’s fun. But how can you use this for business?

I think this could be a very powerful tool for market research. It could help boost engagement on your tweets.

Of course, many aren’t aware of this feature yet, and the more people see it and use it, the better the results may be. And, you may want to run a poll (with the same question or another variation of the same question) at various times to ensure more people see it and respond to it – since we all know how fast a tweet can move.

My sample tweet for the screen shots here was seen by 241 people but only 9 engaged with the tweet.

Here are some of my thoughts on how you could incorporate poll questions into your Twitter strategy:

  • Find out what time of a webinar or live stream video is best for your audience
  • Find out what geographical area people are in (this could be good data to see who is on at different times of the day)
  • Get input on new product options
  • Capitalize on a trending topic (is the dress blue/black or white/gold?  or are they watching a big live event on tv?)
Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Trying it out for the first time after I read your post Jenn! I started easy, but I do think it would be great to see what is of interest to my followers. Quick question though, not sure if it is possible to use Buffer or Hootsuite to stagger poll tweets throughout the day? Tried using Buffer but didn’t seem to show the poll correctly. Do you know if it is possible? Thanks!

    1. I’m so glad you went and tried it out, Kim 🙂
      I’m not sure if Hootsuite or Buffer will coordinate with the polling questions… but at first glance, it doesn’t look like they do. It would be really nice if the polls could be scheduled to maximize timing and contributions.

  2. People love to share their opinion, so I’m sure this polling feature will be a hit (especially with ‘controversial’ topics, like The Dress you mentioned 😉 ). I think it would be good to use for fun, random questions that people would enjoy, scattered here and there, just to get people into the habit of using them. Then when we want to ask business/product related questions, they will already be used to clicking an answer.

    1. This is a great idea to build familiarity with the questions and then turning to them for real market research when relevant! Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  3. Great post, loving the new poll feature. It just makes it that much easier to get some idea of the demographic that you are dealing with on Twitter. I’m just starting to see some interesting trends in the results I’m getting and plan to put them into action asap!

    Keep it up!

    1. That’s great Theo! I think this tool really can be fun and helpful to businesses and I hope you find some value in the results you’re gathering.

  4. This sounds interesting and fun. Polling twitter followers could be a good way to identify the way some of your customers identify with different things you do. Very cool.

    1. Absolutely! I hope you have fun experimenting with this tool and that it provides some sort of value to you too.

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