How to Use Twitter Polls to Boost Engagement (Ideas and Examples)

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No matter how many followers you have, Twitter polls will help you get into their heads. So you can know what they think, what they want, or what they’re doing. Which will help you determine what you should be doing for your brand.

But before we get into that, let’s take a quick step back…

Bonus: Download the free strategy guide that reveals how Hootsuite grew our Twitter following to over 8 million users and learn how you can put the tactics to work for your business.

What is a Twitter poll?

A Twitter poll allows you to pose a question to your audience in a tweet with up to four response options (but you can choose only two or three, if you like).

No directing them to another page. No asking them to fill out a form. No taking up minutes of their time. It takes only a second or two—at most.

And… no waiting for results like traditional surveys. Users see results instantly. They can retweet your poll to others, spreading it organically.

Cool, huh?

Now…

How to create a poll on Twitter

It’s easy. After defining your question and answers, it will only take a minute or two. Really. Don’t believe me? Fine—time it and let me know.

1. Start a Tweet

Click the Compose new Tweet button at the top right corner—just like you would for any tweet.

2. Start your poll

Click the Add poll option in the dialog that pops up. Add some relevant hashtags, @mentions, and links. Like your tweets—keep it short, clear, and fun. Or whatever makes sense for you brand.

"Add Poll" button on Twitter

3. Add poll questions

Ask the questions you want answers for—again, up to four. Be unique or quirky or dull—it’s your poll.

Adding up to four options for a Twitter poll

4. Set poll duration

Tell Twitter how many days you want to run this poll (seven days max).

Setting length of Twitter poll

5. Complete your poll

Select the Tweet button at the bottom right to send your poll out to the Twitterverse.

When the poll ends you’ll see the “Finals Results” display in a tweet.

Twitter poll results

So… how long did that take? No need to answer, I already know. Easy, huh?

Now that you know how to create a poll, let’s dive into how to use them.

How to use Twitter Polls to boost engagement (with ideas and examples from top brands)

Get creative with your polls. I’ll show you some other brands that do. Use these as inspiration to engage (and maybe enrage) your followers. Use polls to create some life for your brand, to go from “ho-hum” to “hell yeah”.

Stay top of mind

When people keep seeing your brand in their feeds, they keep thinking of it, too.

Polls are excellent for getting people to ‘lean in’ with interest by answering your questions. This keeps the conversation going with your audience. And gives them incentive and reasons to return to your profile.

Create many polls to drive people to your Twitter page. They love seeing answers to questions that matter to them.

The Late Show posts a weekly Twitter poll asking their audience who would win a fight between people and characters.

Marvel Entertainment creates a weekly poll keeping their brand fresh and center of their followers. Nearly 27,000 votes for what superhero to bring on their next rescue mission. That’s engagement.

PlayStation Nation post polls nearly daily at #DailyPoll. They ask questions to:

  • Learn what people want with their products
  • What they like about their competition
  • When they plan to buy

…And loads of other ‘what ifs’ to understand their audience.

Listen and learn

Listening is the best way to build a personal relationship. Same for social media. When you ask your followers to chime in on a decision, they’ll feel heard. And closer to your brand. Be the brand that listens.

Amazon asked their followers what topics to cover at a live Periscope event. This helped Amazon determine their focus on Gaming for the broadcast.

Serial Podcasts did a shout out to ask how often they should podcast (the verb). So biweekly it is then. What’s your burning question?

You can also use the responses generated by Twitter polls to come up with ideas for future content.

Ask for input

Eventbrite sells tickets to events online. Here, they asked fans to help name their courses. Lots of people chimed in.

Let your fans contribute to your brand.

Be conversational (and provocative)

CoverGirl sells makeup. This poll seems to help them engage followers more than define their products. Whatever works, right?

“Bright” and “Nude” caught my attention. So much so, it made it to this post. What provocative statement can you make for your brand?

Be timely

Because timing is everything. Okay, that’s rather cliché. But use timing as another excuse to keep things moving.

Krispy Kreme did when they launched the Doughnut Bowl campaign during the Super Bowl. What better way to know which flavors customers like most—and least? Focus groups and online surveys are great, but try cutting to the chase with a Twitter poll.

Or take Airbnb who asked followers what they wanted most for an upcoming holiday weekend. They didn’t need some super event, just an upcoming long weekend. Take charge no matter what’s happening, or not.

Pay attention to events relevant to your brand.

Here’s how Dunkin Donuts used a holiday-inspired poll to engage its audience on #NationalCoffeeDay.

If you’re so bold maybe you could create a “holiday” relevant to your brand.

Or choose from the countless others that already exist.

You don’t always have to be positive. Use your foul mood to find what bothers others during a time when everybody is ‘supposed’ to be enjoying themselves. 1,780 people ‘told it like it is’. Let the grump out—others want to.

Encourage predictions

Timely events are ammo for activating followers. So is getting them to predict what will happen for those events. Who’s going to win? What are they going to wear? What will they do next?  Come up with your own ways to engage followers before (and after) the big event.

Let loose

Twitter polls aren’t meant to replace sophisticated, complex, detailed surveys or other market research tools that require a straight face.

Nope. Use Twitter polls to humanize your brand. Be casual, be simple, be silly, sassy, off beat, zany, bold, witty, charming and anything else to prove you’re not a robot.

Use hashtags

Use hashtags to bundle up your polls—say around an event, launch or other campaign. Use the hashtags in your posts, too.

This will give users the chance to see your polls in a single view. I wrote some ways to use hashtags when creating your social media guide.

Set up the future

Polls are excellent for setting context and expectations for your future content, product launches, events and other marketing activities.

Ask questions to generate a buzz and get your followers to go ‘hmmm’, ‘wow’, ‘interesting’, and ‘can hardly wait’.

Use Hootsuite to execute your Twitter marketing plan alongside all your other social media activity. From a single dashboard you can monitor conversations, grow your followers, schedule tweets, and much more. Try it free today.

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