5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers

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Are you wondering whether you’re missing valuable customer feedback because you’re just not looking in the right places?

Our digital landscape today offers a wide array of well-used standard methods for B2B marketers to collect customer feedback, with just a few including:

  • Monitoring Social Media Activity
  • Customer Experience Surveys
  • Feedback Forms
  • Website Data Analysis
  • Customer Reviews & Other User Generated Content
  • Direct Interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Usability Test Data
  • Sales & Customer Service Team Data

There are many other traditional ways as well, and each method excels in its own specific way, holding the promise of providing insightful information about customers or prospective customers.

There is also an entirely different realm of customer feedback opportunities, however — an area filled with less-explored avenues that offer a great deal of audience insight to B2B marketers willing to venture off the beaten feedback path.

B2B marketers can optimize their 2021 marketing efforts by using any or all of the five powerful unconventional sources of finding customer feedback that we’ll explore.

Let’s jump right in with five unconventional sources of valuable customer feedback.

Getting to the heart of the questions most important to your customers and potential audience is a helpful path to learning more about your customers and gaining the information necessary to provide best-answer solutions.

We’ve looked at numerous tools for finding the questions customers are asking, such as those I explored in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers,” and now Google has expanded on its Google Search Console offering with the recent U.S. rollout of its Question Hub, a new service for finding unanswered search question data.

Google Question Hub, previously only available in three non-U.S. nations, focuses on the unanswered questions searchers are seeking to answer — data that can then be used to create content that fills these informational gaps — a potential goldmine for B2B marketers looking to differentiate their business with best answer content.

Google Question Hub uses topic categories to organize unanswered questions searchers have submitted, and allows those using the tool to add their own answers, in the form of articles or videos on sites verified in Google Search Console, or via YouTube video.

Question Hub lets users of the utility see how well the answers they’ve submitted have performed, and although the search giant notes that providing answers in Question Hub doesn’t affect search rankings for connected sites, forthcoming updates could eventually consider this sort of content among new search ranking signals should Google choose to do so.

As a new free tool, B2B marketers looking to both learn more about customers and the questions they’re asking, and to provide answers through Google Question Hub may find it worthwhile to explore this new Google functionality.

Sometimes asking for customer feedback in unexpected places — and during unexpected times — can catch a customer at just the right spot to provide extremely frank insight.

As I explored in “5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews,” Airbnb saw success by making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys. Offering brands the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews, Airbnb’s system allowed users to easily leave video by turning on their phone or computer’s camera to leave a video response.

This video review format leads some customers — especially those who like the option to leave audio or video feedback — to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn can give businesses greater insight into customers.

The richly emotional opportunities afforded through direct video feedback can help B2B firms lend a more empathetic ear, and can lead to the creation of content that addresses any concerns brought up in customer video feedback.

“If they say yes, then we’ve incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

The technology to gather video or audio feedback — whether via survey forms or other feedback systems — has never been easier to implement, and in 2021 savvy B2B marketers looking to up their customer feedback strategy would be wise to consider such possibilities.

A key element to this approach is offering the ability to leave video or audio feedback at a point in the customer journey where it isn’t necessarily expected. This isn’t to say that feedback options shouldn’t also exist in the traditional places on company websites or social platforms, however the power of surprising a customer with the ability to share their thoughts verbally and visually — without having to type in feedback — may be underestimated among B2B organizations.

Where do you go in the online universe when you want to find honest thoughts from real people about topics that are new to you, whether they revolve around a local business or a global enterprise?

More people than ever have started including the search term “Reddit” in their search queries, to see what word on the digital street is regarding almost any particular subject, which may be why the social news aggregator and discussion platform is courting the half billion average monthly active user mark, and why its generated more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content.

Whether it’s gathering customer feedback in the form of ask-me-anything (AMA) events or keeping tabs on how your audiences are venting about possible frustrations relating to your brand, Reddit offers a slew of insight for B2B marketers willing to explore, as I dug into recently in “8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.”

With its sizable growth in past years Reddit can hardly be considered either an up-and-coming social platform or a niche-only network any longer, but others in the social landscape are still in that wild west stage of finding a specialty, and B2B marketers can benefit by taking a look at these communities, such as Clubhouse, Slack Communities, and others.

Polls offer a special two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality customer and prospect feedback while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media content marketing element.

Brands that take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions gain an inside glimpse into where marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use, and are also a helpful way to increase brand awareness.

While social media polls are by nature more limited in the number of responses that can be offered, brands can draw people in beyond simply selecting an existing poll choice by using the final poll choice to encourage responses in comments.

Brands can also gather social media poll data to get feedback on existing products and services, to learn customer pain points, to test interest in new product offerings, and to gauge reactions to new industry trends.

To learn more about social media polls check out my LinkedIn*-specific guide, “Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls,” helpful tactics for a variety of social platform polls in our content marketing manager Nick Nelson’s “The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices,” and take a look at what poll data can tell B2B marketers in my “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.”

Websites today can collect more data than ever, yet filtering out the noise to harness the truly relevant gems of helpful customer feedback information may also be at an all-time level of difficulty.

Whether in the form of real-time human support chat logs, chatbot interaction data, or website usage information, pulling out the good stuff has been an ongoing challenge faced by B2B firms.

Luckily, to combat the record volumes of data, an impressive array of powerful data extraction tools have been developed, some focused primarily on gathering customer feedback.

There are some online spots holding potentially valuable customer feedback that may often get overlooked, especially some of the chat functions in applications used alongside virtual events. Just a few in these categories, where you may find customer feedback, include:

  • Zoom Chat Logs
  • Slack Channels
  • Skype Chat Logs
  • Google Hangouts Chats
  • Microsoft Teams Chats
  • Custom Event Chat Application Logs

Smart B2B Marketers Stand Out With Better Customer Feedback


In the increasingly complex business environment of 2021, B2B brands need more than ever to clearly differentiate themselves from the competition.

Thankfully, finding and using customer feedback in places your competitors may not be monitoring can prove to be a strong technique to help your business stand out. We hope the unorthodox forms of finding customer feedback we’ve looked at here, from Google Question Hub to Clubhouse and more will help with your B2B marketing efforts in 2021.

Getting closer to customers takes many forms besides feedback, and to learn more check out “How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers,” by our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite.

Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data

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What can poll results tell B2B marketers about a year unlike any other, and how can this valuable audience data help us refine our marketing strategy as we push towards 2021?

For more than a year we’ve run weekly social media polls on our Twitter profile, and for several months now have simultaneously also placed a weekly user poll on our LinkedIn* page.

We wanted to share some of the fascinating insights you have shared with us in the form of results from our polls, in order to see the trends that have emerged during this unprecedented year.

Let’s look at trends in social media communications, how marketing is changing in 2020, and the rising effectiveness of B2B influencer marketing, all through the lens of poll-derived feedback.

Social Media Communication Expectations

Insight #1 — Social Response Times

How quickly do we expect a response from a brand when we ask a question publicly on social media?

The majority marketers we polled expect to hear back from a brand within 24 hours, with 61 percent of respondents on LinkedIn expecting a reply within a day, 24 percent within one hour, and 16 percent by the end of the workday.

Twitter respondents voiced similar sentiments, with 38 percent looking to get a reply from a brand within 24 hours, 33 percent by the end of the current workday, and 21 percent within an hour.

If you’re not answering social media inquiries within 24 hours you may come under fire, as not even one respondent to our poll said that they expect brands to take longer than a day to reply.


Insight #2 — Email Response Times

We also asked the same question for a different form of online communications, curious about expectations when sending an old-fashioned email to a brand.

50 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that they expected an email reply within 24 hours, mostly echoing the expectations for public social media questions. 22 percent said they expected brands to reply by the end of the workday, 18 percent within a week — a notable difference from social media queries — and just 9 percent within an hour.


Insight #3 — Unfollowing

What drives people who have already taken the time and effort to follow a brand on social media to later unfollow them, and what messages can we learn from these mistakes?

When we asked this question in a poll, our LinkedIn respondents said the top reason they unfollow brands comes down to posting poor quality content, followed by irrelevant content and brands that post too much content. Just two percent of respondents said that they unfollow brands that don’t post enough content.

44 percent of our Twitter respondents said that irrelevant content was their top reason for unfollowing a brand, followed by poor quality content at 33 percent, and too much content at 22 percent.


Insight #4 — Stories Format

We also ran a poll asking how the ephemeral stories format would fare on LinkedIn if the platform were to make its test of the post type a permanent part of the service. 33 percent of respondents said that LinkedIn Stories would be a great addition to the platform, while 25 percent felt it would be a good match. 25 percent also said that it would be an unlikely match, and 16 percent noted that the stories format would be a poor match for LinkedIn.


Insight #5 — Experiential Content

We were also curious how B2B marketers are using experiential content in 2020. 58 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that they expected to incorporate experiential content very frequently into their marketing efforts during 2020, followed by 41 percent who planned to do so somewhat frequently.


Experiential content is playing a greater role in B2B marketing efforts in 2020, which I looked at in “What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content,” and our Nick Nelson examined recently in “How to Hit a Marketing Home Run with Experiential Content.”

Insight #6 — Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence

How B2B marketers communicate is constantly shifting as new technologies become available and gain wider adoption. We asked our Twitter followers who use chatbots or other forms of messaging featuring artificial intelligence (AI) to chime in on how the technology has performed for them.

49 percent of B2B marketers who responded said that chatbots and AI-assisted technology has performed better than expected, yet 42 percent noted that the technology has under-performed, while 14 percent found that it performed as they had expected.


Insight #7 — Virtual Meeting Length

We were curious what our audience of B2B marketers on Twitter felt the most effective length of time might be when it comes to virtual meetings.

58 percent of respondents said that 30 minutes was the optimal length of time for effective virtual meetings, while 17 percent felt that 15 minutes or less works best, with 17 percent also noting that 45 minutes is the most effective, followed by just 5 percent who said an hour was best.


Insight #8 — Reviews & Testimonials

Another part of marketing communications is user feedback, reviews, and testimonials, and we asked our Twitter followers to share how often they use positive reviews in their marketing efforts.

47 percent of respondents said that they use positive reviews in their marketing efforts occasionally, however 23 percent noted that they never do, followed by 17 percent who said that they always do, and 11 percent who do so frequently.


Insight #9 — Newsletter Preferences

Speaking of email, we also wondered when B2B marketers prefer to receive monthly newsletters. 45 percent of our respondents said they prefer the first of the month, followed by 27 percent who are fond of mid-month newsletters, 18 percent who prefer a time early in the month, and 9 percent who want to see newsletters arrive at the end of the month.


Insight #10 — The Emoji Divide

The use of emojis in social media messaging was an area of contention among our poll respondents. 35 percent said that emoji were somewhat effective, while the same number noted their use to rarely be effective. 17 percent said emoji were extremely effective, and some 11 percent noted that they never use them.


The Changing Face of 2020 Marketing

The global health crisis has changed the face of marketing events in 2020, as nearly all conferences have made the jump to virtual events, as I wrote about recently in “17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond.”

Insight #11 — Virtual Event Attendance

Are B2B marketers planning to attend newly-virtual events, and if so how many?

We asked our LinkedIn and Twitter users how many virtual marketing events they planned to attend over the final five months of 2020.

Most respondents said that they will attend between one and five virtual marketing events, while the second most frequent choice was those who said they won’t be attending a single virtual event, followed by those who plan to attend between six and 10.


Virtual events and webinars are undoubtedly seeing an unexpected golden age this year, and we’ve explored how to best utilize them, in “How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020.”

“One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Insight #12 — Top Pain Points

We wanted to find out what the biggest pandemic pain points have been for B2B marketers, and among those answering our LinkedIn poll 64 percent said that a decrease in budget or business has been the top challenge, followed by the difficulty in engaging customers at 36 percent.

46 percent of Twitter respondents also revealed that falling budgets and business were their top pain points, followed by engaging customers at 38 percent and remote work issues for some 15 percent of marketers.


Insight #13 — Learning New Skills

63 percent of poll respondents said that they have used their time during the pandemic to learn new marketing skills online, while 18 percent said that they planned to do so.


Insight #14 — Digital Asset Management

54 percent of B2B marketers we polled on Twitter said that they either already use a digital asset management (DAM) solution in their marketing stack or plan to implement one, while 45 percent didn’t use a DAM.


If you aren’t familiar with how DAM can help B2B marketers, I looked into the issue in “Why B2B Marketers Should Give a DAM: Top Tips on Digital Asset Management.”

Insight #15 — Podcast Growth

With U.S. podcast listeners topping the 100 million mark for the first time in 2020, we wondered how the global health crisis has affected listening frequency among B2B marketers.

40 percent of our Twitter respondents said that they have been listening to more podcasts during the pandemic, with 22 percent noting that they’ve listened to fewer, 18 percent about the same amount, and another 18 percent who said they don’t listen to podcasts.


Insight #16 — Streaming Ad Use

With numerous studies showing that streaming music ads were booming in 2019, we wondered what B2B marketers planned for 2020, and 50 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that they had no streaming ad plans for the year, while 25 percent said they planned to implement more streaming ads, 16 percent fewer of them, and 8 percent about the same.


Insight #17 — The Customer Journey

Content creation efforts are also shifting in 2020, and we asked B2B marketers to share which stage of the customer journey they are focusing on the most.

47 percent of respondents said that generating awareness was where they were placing the greatest focus, followed by brand advocacy at 35 percent, consideration and intent at 11 percent, and evaluation and purchase at 5 percent.


The Rising Effectiveness of Influencer Marketing

Insight #18 — Influencer Marketing Program Length

We asked our LinkedIn and Twitter followers to chime in on the ideal length of time a B2B influencer marketing program should run for maximum effectiveness, and the majority of our savvy followers chose always-on and ongoing programs — 73 percent of our LinkedIn respondents and 64 percent of our Twitter respondents.

Influencer marketing programs encompassing at least two campaigns was the second most popular choice, the choice of 21 percent of LinkedIn respondents and 18 percent of our Twitter respondents.


Insight #19 — Pandemic Focus Areas

We asked B2B marketers which area of marketing they were the most likely to increase focus on during the global health crisis, and topping the list was influencer marketing at 35 percent, followed by content marketing at 30 percent, search marketing at 20 percent, and email marketing, which garnered 12 percent of the poll responses.


Insight #20 — Volume of Influencer Marketing Work

We were also curious how the pandemic has affected the volume of work B2B marketers have done with influencers. The greatest number of our respondents — some 36 percent — said that their volume of work with influencers had increased, followed by 32 percent who said that they didn’t use influencers, 24 percent who found that the volume of work was about the same, while 8 percent noted that the volume decreased.


Listening To Your Audience & Taking Action


Keeping your finger on the pulse of your audience — whether it’s from poll results, surveys, questionnaires or other forms of feedback — goes a long way when it comes to making your marketing efforts authentic, and will help ensure that your communication is a two-way street and not just a publish-and-forget effort.

We hope you’ve found this glimpse into some of our own poll results helpful as you navigate the sometimes murky marketing waters 2020 has given us. Let us know your thoughts by voting in our current weekly poll about Instagram’s new short-form video offering, Reels — you’ll find it on LinkedIn here and on Twitter here.

You can learn more about poll data and statistics, and how to get more from audience feedback in every form by taking a look are some of the related articles we’ve written on the subject, such as the five listed here:

* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

17 Revealing B2B Marketing Insights From Poll Data

17 Poll Insights Purple Tech Background Image

The revelations people provide when they respond to online marketing polls include a wealth of industry information. Poll data shows what marketers are thinking about in a variety of important subjects, ranging from everyday tasks to far-reaching future trends.

Over the past four months, we’ve utilized our TopRank Marketing Twitter channel to publish a weekly poll, asking a range of questions to B2B marketers. Today, we share some of the data we’ve collected throughout this series of 17 polls.

Social Media Polls

Our first two polls asked B2B marketing about social media, and the responses can help us gauge the pulse of marketers on the social platform front.

Each week more social platforms are experimenting or implementing hiding some of the forward-facing counts we’ve all been used to seeing for years, such as the number of followers a page or person has, and how many people have liked a particular social message, image, or video.

Our very first poll in the series asked about hiding like and follower counts.

Twitter Poll Image

Fifty-three percent of marketers said they wouldn’t support hiding like and follower counts on Instagram, while 18% stated they would support such a move. Furthermore, 17% said they would support dropping just the like counts and 12% just the follower tallies.

Our second poll also marketers to share which channels (other than LinkedIn) they’d seen the most B2B success with:

Twitter Poll 2

Outside of LinkedIn*, 50% of marketers shared that they’ve found B2B marketing success using Twitter, followed by 20% who said Facebook provided surprising success. Instagram also came in at 20%. Finally, YouTube came in last at 10%.

Our most recent poll asked a more traditional question of B2B marketers.

Latest Twitter Poll Image

Unsurprisingly, 63% of marketers viewed LinkedIn as their top choice social media platform for finding B2B industry content. Twitter came in second with 23% of the vote, and Facebook and Instagram each came in at 7%.

Blogging & Blog Promotion Polls

We ran several polls that asked B2B marketers their input regarding blogging and blog promotion.

Twitter Poll

Fifty percent of marketers see interactive elements as offering the biggest potential performance increase in blog posts, followed by 42% for images and 8% for animated GIFs. Surprisingly, no respondents choosing embedded video as their top choice.

Another polls asked respondents about the number of channels they use when promoting blog content.

Twitter Poll Image

A whopping 73% of marketers promote blog posts to an average of two to five online channels, while the remaining 27% shared that they promote to just one channel.

Influencer Marketing Polls

Several additional polls have dug in to B2B marketers’ takes on influencer marketing.

Twitter Poll Image

Fifty percent of B2B marketers said their top challenge with influencer marketing is measuring its impact, while 18% said finding top influencers as their biggest hurdle. In addition, another 18% said that getting initial buy-in for influencer marketing was the leading challenge, followed by utilizing influencers at 14%.

Another influencer marketing polls looked at 12-month trends.

Twitter Poll Image.

When it comes to influencer marketing trends for 2020, 38% of B2B marketers said increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) will be the most important, followed by the rise of micro-and-macro influencers at 31%, quality metrics at 19%, and experience management at 13%.

Analytics & Website Optimization Polls

We also touched on analytics and website optimization questions in two of our recent polls.

Twitter Poll.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said that using insights from data is the top challenge in measuring campaign performance. As for other struggles, 26% said that inadequate tools topped their list and 22% said that proving the value of analytics. Lastly, 17% shared that having too much data at hand was their top issue.

An interesting recent poll question looked into how long B2B marketers will tend to wait for a webpage to load before giving up.

Twitter Poll Image.

Forty-four percent of marketers will abandon a slow-loading page within three to five seconds, while 33% leave after six to 10 seconds. In addition, 19% after 11 to 15 seconds and 4% said they’ll wait until a page times out before giving up.

The Rise of Podcasting Poll

The rise of podcasting’s popularity caused us to inquire about the matter with a poll.

Twitter Poll Image.

Sixty-five percent of marketers said they use podcasts in their campaign efforts and plan to increase their use, while 35% said they don’t use podcasting currently but plan to start. As you can see, zero respondents indicated that they would do less podcasting in the coming year or didn’t plan to start.

Content Marketing Polls

The majority of our polls have dealt with various aspects of content marketing, such as this one looking at the importance of captioning in online video.

Twitter Poll Image.

Fifty percent of marketers polled said they plan to use the same level of video captioning going forward, while 33% plan to do even more captioning, and 17% plan to start captioning their video content.

Content re-purposing was the subject of another of our content marketing polls.

Twitter Poll Image.

Fifty-four percent of marketers said that blog posts were the top performing type of content for re-purposing use, followed by interviews at 31%, and both eBooks and white papers coming in at 8% each.

The components making up our content marketing toolkit were also examined in a poll.

Twitter Poll.

Sixty-eight percent of marketers said that video is the format that brings the most engagement to B2B content, followed by interactive assets at 26%, and virtual reality (VR) and AR at 5%.

With video holding the top spot in that poll, we were curious how many channels B2B marketers typically promote video content to.

Twitter Poll.

Eighty-five percent of marketers said they promote videos on two to five online channels on average, with 8% promoting videos to between six and 10 channels, and the same percentage promoting video to just a single channel.

Email Marketing & Search Polls

Email marketing has remained an important part of many campaigns, and we explored two aspects of the practice in recent poll, including the following poll that generated the most engagement yet among our polls.

Twitter Poll.

Fifty-five percent of B2B marketers view the reputation of the sending the most important factor in choosing whether to open an email newsletter. Twenty-three percent said that an interesting subject line was most important, followed by the anticipation of the content at 13%, and a desire for unique content at 9%.

Another email marketing poll asked what causes us to unsubscribe from an email newsletter.

Twitter Poll.

Sixty-seven percent of B2B marketers said the top reason they unsubscribe from email newsletters is receiving mail from sources they never subscribed to in the first place. Furthermore, 33% shared that lack of original email newsletter content was their number one reason for unsubscribing.

Search marketing was the subject of one week’s poll. Recent study data has shown that for the first time the majority of Google searches don’t result in additional clicks from the results page.

Twitter Poll.

Forty-six percent of respondents said their initial Google search provided the information they need between 110 and 50% of the time, with 38% saying results answered their queries most of the time. Surprisingly, a combined 16% said their queries are only answered 1-10% of the time or never.

Including Poll Insights in Your 2020 Marketing Plans

By taking the time to listen to what B2B marketers are saying through their answers to these poll questions, you’ll have an inside glimpse at where our industry is heading as we near 2020 and all the changes it will inevitably bring.

While we happened to use Twitter’s polling feature, if you’re interested in conducting your own series there are poll options available for numerous social media platforms, along with polling plug-ins and built-in functionality for various website and content marketing system types.

It can be ideal to ask poll questions on the digital channel that best suits your particular audience. Some organizations even choose to conduct polls on several platforms and to then compare the results, or even compile them together to get a larger sample answer size.

Do you have your own poll questions you’d like us to ask on our Twitter channel? Leave a comment below and we may include your question in a future poll.

The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices

The Power of Social Media Polls for Marketing

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to 2007.

The world was a different place. Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (ella, ella) dominated the Billboard Charts. Scorsese’s masterpiece The Departed won Best Picture. Facebook was only a year removed from opening its membership to the general public, and Twitter was a fledgling startup, still looking to gain traction.

But even then, online polls were already emerging as an intriguing tool for digital marketers. On this blog, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden penned a post about the relatively nascent tactic, which could be utilized through a modest WordPress plugin.

“If you want to know what your users are thinking,” Lee wrote. “Just ask them.”

It’s a simple premise, and one that hasn’t changed over the past decade, although the tools at our disposal have evolved considerably. Today, audience polls are integrated features on most major social media networks.

As marketers seek new ways to drive engagement and gather data, the allure of social media polls is obvious.

Let’s take a look at how polls work on each platform, what kind of value they can provide, and how to get the most out of them.

The Polling Details

Twitter Polls

Users on Twitter could informally run polls in the platform’s early days — by manually tracking responses, hashtags, or retweets — but the official Twitter polls feature was launched in 2015. This made it easy to create sleek, interactive, customized polls with two (and later up to four) options.

Lee frequently runs polls like this one on Twitter to gauge the opinions of his followers on various subjects:

Lee Odden Poll Example

What Makes Twitter Polls Engaging

Staying in line with the overall appeal of Twitter, polls are extremely easy to participate in — one quick click of the mouse or tap of the mobile screen.

How to Get Twitter Polls Right

Knowing that the platform is built around quick-scrolling and bite-sized content, you’ll want to to ensure these polls are light on text, and eye-catching. Maybe include a couple of emojis, like HootSuite does here:

Hootsuite Poll Example

Instagram Polls

In 2017, Instagram rolled out its own polling convention, which became a part of its Stories feature. Instagram polls are added in the form of interactive stickers with two options that you can drag-and-drop on visual content you’ve created.

As is the nature of the platform, polls will usually pertain to the content of the post in question. (“Which color shirt do you like better?” or – in the example below via the company’s official announcement post – “Which donut should I eat?”)

Example of Instagram Stories Poll

(*Extremely Homer Simpson voice* Mmm, donuts…)

What Makes Instagram Polls Engaging

This is an excellent avenue for quickly gathering feedback around something people can see right in front of them. And you’ll have many options for making them stand out aesthetically.

How to Get Instagram Polls Right

If you have a sizable and engaged Instagram following, you could enlist your audience to help guide a decision (a la M&Ms). Customers might be more attached to what you’re doing if they feel like they played even a small part in directing it.

You may also try using polls for more general topics or market research – Instagram does have an enormous and active user base, after all – but the way it’s set up doesn’t lend itself to such applications as well as the other platforms mentioned here.

Facebook Polls

Very shortly after polls were introduced for Instagram last year, parent company Facebook released its own version for members and page administrators. Like Instagram, it only offers two response fields (presently), but does have some nice features like the ability to include images and gifs. Businesses might consider trying out more robust third-party apps Polls for Pages.

Example of Facebook Polls

What Makes Facebook Polls Engaging

Driving engagement on Facebook, as a publisher, has become very challenging. You likely know this already. Polls can be helpful in this regard.

A study by BuzzSumo found that questions rank as the most engaging types of posts on Facebook. Partially because of this, Neil Patel has argued that “a well-designed Facebook poll is one of the most powerful Facebook marketing tools today’s social media marketers have available to them.”

How to Get Facebook Polls Right

You’re competing with content from friends and family members in highly personalized feeds, so you’ll want a poll that stands out and bears considerable relevance to your audience. Take advantage of the ability to use images or moving graphics for voting options.

While polls can be more impactful than a standard text-based update, your organic reach will still be somewhat limited by Facebook’s suppressive algorithm unless you really catch some viral traction or pay to boost the post.

What About Other Platforms?

As of now, these are the only three social networks with built-in polls. LinkedIn used to have a Group polls feature, but retired it in 2014 (much to the chagrin of B2B marketers). Snapchat and Pinterest have never offered polls.

Best Practices for Social Media Polls

In the sections above we mentioned some distinctions and pointers specific to each platform. But at a higher level, here are a few recommendations for marketers looking to use social media polls.

#1 – Pique Your Audience’s Interest

One thing I really like about the poll features on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is the immediate incentive factor for participants. Voting on a poll allows you to instantly see real-time results. I know there have been plenty of times where I’ve come across one on my feed and clicked because I was very curious to see what the general consensus was.

Keep this irresistibility factor in mind as you create poll questions and response options.

#2 – Use Polls as a Springboard for Content

Let’s be honest: this isn’t exactly a scientific survey method, and the data obtained through social media polls isn’t going to be substantial enough to draw serious conclusions. However, you can still leverage the results in interesting ways.

In May, Search Engine Journal ran the following Twitter poll:

SEJ Poll Example

Then, they used the results (and responses) for an article on the topic. It was, transparently, just a sampling of feedback from random followers, but still made for a good read. Using the poll question as the post title also happens to be a savvy SEO move in this case, since it’s exactly the query a business owner might type into Google.

You can also simply poll your audience to ask earnestly what kind of content they want from you, as Slack* did here:

Slack Poll Example

#3 – Choose a Fitting Platform for Each Poll

Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Make sure your polls align with them. Instagram and Facebook will only work for A/B type questions, which can be limiting. Twitter provides more of a multi-choice format but you can’t incorporate images or video into the voting options. And of course, each channel has its own distinct audience profile.   

#4 – Think Strategically

In many cases, the objective for a running a poll will simply be to attract attention and boost engagement. Nothing wrong with that. But you can also think bigger and tie it to other goals. For example, you could run a Facebook poll with a trivia question, prompting voters to visit your website and find the answer.

Think big and, when possible, tie your poll to a larger strategy.

#5 – Follow Up on Results

Granted, it doesn’t take a ton of effort to vote in a social media poll, but users are still taking an action and you should make it worth their while in some way. One method is to create content around the tabulations, as mentioned earlier.

But even following up with later posts remarking on the results, or inviting further thoughts, will show that it you’re not just tossing out throwaway questions for the heck of it. It will signal that you’re genuinely engaged with what your audience has to say and that you want to hear more.

What’s Your Poll Position?

Now that you know a little more about social media polls and how they work on each platform, where do you stand? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Let us know below (and, hey, we’d love it if you gave us a follow on Twitter while you’re at it).

TopRank Marketing Social Poll

Interested in finding other ways to increase your social media reach and engagement? Check out these recent posts from our blog:

Disclosure: Slack is a TopRank Marketing client.