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

The Power of Social Media Polls for Marketing

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:

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:

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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:


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:

#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).

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

The post The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Our 2019 List: The Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers

2019 TopRank Marketing Social Media Marketing Influencers

2019 TopRank Marketing Social Media Marketing Influencers

It's that time of year, marketers. Once again, we're absolutely thrilled to present our annual list of 50 influential leaders who are engaging on social networks around the topic of social media marketing.

The goal of this annual list? To showcase the top 50 influential voices in the marketing industry we can all learn from and follow.

List Methodology:

Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) Platform Assisted: Ranking of the people in this list leverages data and algorithms from Traackr, which is an influencer relationship marketing platform. Unlike the vast majority of lists like this that are published online, this list considers many more data sources than just Twitter. To provide a better sample across the web, Traackr rankings can include citations and links from data sources such as blogs, publications, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Ranking data sources and scoring: For the ranking, this list leverages a combination of data points including:

  • Relevance: A score that indicates how influential a person is to a specific topic based on the keywords you provide. Signals for relevance include keyword mentions, keyword diversity, content production rate, freshness of content and other contextual measures. In this case, it was "social media marketing" as well as 10-plus derivative phrases.
  • Resonance: A score of how impactful the influencer is with their audience. Resonance measures engagement activity that occurs as a result of publishing (mostly social) content.
  • Reach: A score derived by the reach algorithm that takes into account followers, fans, subscribers, visitors and other audience metrics. Remember, this is more than just Twitter.
  • Audience: Unsurprisingly, this refers to overall social audience size.

Each of these signal sources are factored into the algorithmic ranking for identified influencers with a focus on topical relevance, resonance of message with the audience and then audience reach. The result is a combination of broad-based influencers as well as individuals with a very specific focus and very high resonance and relevance scores. You'll see new faces as well as as a variety of disciplines and specialties represented.

Many thanks to all who continue to actively share their knowledge about social media marketing through year-round engagement and by providing help to others with insight and expertise in our vast social realm. We hope this list will serve as a handy jumping off point to start your ongoing journey of learning from these leading social media marketing industry influencers.

You'll likely see both many familiar faces and a wonderful variety of new social media influencers. We plan to learn new lessons from these 50 social media marketing influencers and hope you'll do the same throughout the year.

2019 — 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers

Kim Garst @kimgarst
CEO, KG Enterprises

Donna Moritz @sociallysorted
Visual Content Strategist, Socially Sorted

Ian Anderson Gray @iagdotme
Founder, Seriously Social

Neal Schaffer @NealSchaffer
CEO, NealSchaffer.com

Madalyn Sklar @madalynsklar
Social Media Speaker & Consultant, MadalynSklar.com

Dan Gingiss @dgingiss
CEO, Winning Customer Experience, LLC

Brian Fanzo @isocialfanz
Founder and CEO, iSocialFanz

Mari Smith @MariSmith
Social Media Speaker & Consultant, MariSmith.com

Rebekah Radice @rebekahradice
CEO, RadiantLA

Jasmine Star @jasminestar
CEO, JasmineStar.com

Carlos Gil @CarlosGil83
CEO, Gil Media Co.

Tamara McCleary @tamaramccleary
CEO, Thulium.co

Dustin W. Stout @dustinwstout
Co-Founder, Warfare Plugins

Peggy Fitzpatrick @PegFitzpatrick
Marketing & Social Media Manager, Kreussler Inc.

Michael A. Stelzner @mike_stelzner
CEO & Founder, Social Media Examiner & Social Media Marketing World

Lee Odden @LeeOdden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

Christopher Penn @cspenn
Co-Founder and Chief Innovator, Trust Insights

Owen Hemsath @owenvideo
Video Producer, The Videospot

Bernie Borges @bernieborges
Co-Founder & CMO, Vengreso

Samantha Kelly @tweetinggoddess
Owner, Tweetinggoddess

Heidi Cohen @heidicohen
Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide

Brooke B. Sellas @brookesellas
Founder & CEO, B Squared Media

Gini Dietrich @ginidietrich
CEO, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

Roberto Blake @robertoblake
Owner & Creative Director, Create Awesome Media

Chris Strub @chrisstrub
CEO, I Am Here LLC

Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer
Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions LLC

Jay Baer @jaybaer
Founder, Convince & Convert

Nicky Kriel @nickykriel
Social Media Consultant & Strategist, Nicky Kriel Social Media

Park Howell @parkhowell
Business Story Strategist & Keynote Speaker, Business of Story

Amanda Webb @spiderworking
Social Media Trainer & Strategist, Spiderworking

Andrew Pickering @andrewandpete
Co-Founder, Andrew and Pete

Viveka Von Rosen @linkedinexpert
Co-Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, Vengreso

Sean Cannell @seancannell
Founder, Think Media

Amy Porterfield @amyporterfield
Online Marketing Expert & Trainer, Amy Porterfield, Inc.

Steve Dotto @dottotech
President, Dotto Tech

Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki
Chief Evangelist, Canva

Sue Beth Zimmerman @suebzimmerman
Keynote and Breakout Speaker, Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise

Ann Handley @annhandley
Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

Sunny Lenarduzzi @sunnylenarduzzi
Social Media Strategist & Consultant, SunnyLenarduzzi.com

Laura Rubinstein @CoachLaura
CEO & Social Media Strategist, Transform Today

Josh Elledge @joshelledge
Founder, UpMyInfluence.com

Ramon Ray @ramonray
Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine

Chalene Johnson @chalenejohnson
CEO & Social Media Consultant, Team Johnson and SmartLife

Brian G. Peters @brian_g_peters
Strategic Partnerships Manager, Buffer

Robert Rose @Robert_Rose
Chief Troublemaker, The Content Advisory

Lewis David Howes @lewishowes
Founder, School of Greatness

John Jantsch @ducttape
President, Duct Tape Marketing

Ian Cleary @iancleary
Founder, RazorSocial

Jo Saunders @mrslinkedin
Trainer & Conference Speaker, Wildfire Social Marketing™

Billy Gene Shaw @askbillygene
Founder & CEO, Rethink & Relive LLC

Spread the Social Wisdom & Love

Statistical analysis, no matter how deep and well-researched, can only go so far in finding the people who you'll find the most helpful and influential in your daily professional marketing lives, which is why we'd love it if you'd please share the name of social media marketers that influence you most in the comments section below.

Some of our social media marketing influencers will be speaking at this week's Social Media Marketing World 2019 conference, and we'll have plenty of live-blog coverage of the event throughout the week, from our Senior Digital Strategy Director Ashley Zeckman and Content Strategist Anne Leuman. See where we'll be here.

To further your own social media marketing expertise, here's a bonus list of our top 5 posts about social media marketing from the past 12 months:

The post Our 2019 List: The Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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