Seven best practices for brands using Twitter Polls

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Thanks to the upcoming presidential election, polls are everywhere these days, including on Twitter, where consumers and brands are taking the pulse of the platform with one of our newest Tweet formats, Twitter Polls. But Twitter Polls aren’t just for politics. Whether you’re building a new brand or managing social channels for a global enterprise, they can help you gain valuable insights about your audience while engaging them in a compelling fashion.

If you’re not already familiar with Twitter Polls, this feature lets anyone easily create and broadcast a native poll on Twitter. When you compose a Tweet you select the poll icon and can adjust the duration, set the number of answer options, and promote the poll. Once it’s live, you can see the results in real time for instant insights.

Since Twitter Polls launched last October, we’ve seen brands use them successfully to accomplish several kinds of marketing objectives and have identified seven best practices to help you do the same.

1. Regularly post branded polls
Running polls regularly is a great way to generate brand buzz and stay top-of-mind with your audience. Try creating a poll series that you run on a weekly basis to consistently show your followers that you’re listening.

“The Late Show” runs a weekly segment which features Twitter Polls. “Friday Night Fights” pits people, characters, or ideas against each other and asks the audience to vote for their favorite.

As part of their #MarvelQuestionoftheWeek series, @Marvel asked followers which of the legendary weapons from the Marvel universe fans would most likely wield.

2. Give people a say in decisions
Inviting your audience to participate in the decisions you make deepens their engagement with your brand by showing them that their opinions matter to you. This kind of validation creates a stronger relationship between you and your followers, causing them to feel they have a real stake in your brand. The next time you are thinking through a decision, try asking your followers what they think you should do, and let them know that you’ve listened.

At CES 2016, Amazon let followers decide which topic one of its live Periscopes at the event would cover. Their majority vote was for gaming, and that’s what Amazon focused on during the broadcast.

A poll from the popular @serial podcast asked followers to pick the word that most clearly conveyed a schedule change from airing a new episode every week to every other week.

3. Tap into live events by hosting related conversations
Using a Twitter Poll during live events can increase your brand relevance by putting you in the middle of what your followers are talking and thinking about right now. Then, people can also look to your poll later for group consensus about what’s happening. During live events try asking your followers questions related to what’s happening.

Heisman Trophy sponsor @NissanUSA engaged fans during the NFL playoffs with a poll asking which university of former Heisman-winning players would end up with bragging rights.

When Kanye West announced he was changing the name of his latest album, @beatsbydre asked followers which name they liked more.

Following the Jan. 17 Democratic debate, @HuffingtonPost posted a Twitter Poll asking followers to vote for the candidate they thought had won the night.

4. Conduct market research on your products or services
A Twitter Poll can yield instant customer insight by providing you rapid answers to your questions. Try gleaning key information you want about your followers, or if you have a hypothesis you’re considering, try posing it to your followers to determine if you’d like to continue exploring it.

When @tacobell asked its followers which flavor of its best-selling Doritos Locos Tacos they prefer, people were hungry to share their favorite.

Before President’s Day weekend @Airbnb asked its followers which perk they wanted most at their upcoming lodging.

5. Create polls on topics relevant to your brand
This can help you build and strengthen a defensible brand position in relation to these topics, reaffirming your brand essence. Think through which topics and ideas you want to be associated with and start creating polls about them.

Asking people if a referee made the right call about Cam Newton being down helped @Panthers get people thinking about the ups and downs of the game.

An @Airbnb poll asking followers about their plans for a long weekend let people share their favorite types of activities and got them thinking about making future vacation plans.

6. Promote specific products
Whether you are launching a new product or marketing an existing service, polls around selected products or services can help move the needle on them and can even have a cross-marketing effect on the rest of your offerings. For example, try asking what your audience likes most about a product, which lets you enumerate some of its marketable characteristics.

In the run-up to the Super Bowl, @krispykreme had different doughnut flavors face off for their #DoughnutBowl playoffs.

7. Have a little fun with followers
People appreciate it when brands show an unexpected side by injecting some personality into the mix. It makes your brand more relatable and inviting to engage with. Have some fun by entertaining your followers with a poll.

Following an interview with Kourtney Kardashian in which she denied reports she was dating Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres lightheartedly kept the rumors going by Tweeting a poll asking if the duo were friends or something more.

Each Twitter Poll can have up to four answer options, and the marketing possibilities are endless. So try your own Twitter Poll and let us know how it turns out by sharing your story with @TwitterAds.