While the polling feature on Twitter launched a mere three months ago, it’s already been updated a couple of times. The enhancements provide users more control and greater functionality to solicit actionable feedback, nudging the feature from primarily playful to a business research tool. The changes are described below.
When Twitter polls launched in October 2015, they were designed as an “either-or” question:
Summer or winter person?
Red Sox or Cardinals?
Written blog posts or video updates?
Twitter polls can now be designed with up to four response choices, enabling users to glean actionable insights from their audiences.
At initial launch, Twitter polls were open for a 24 hour period. This timing was oddly incongruous with the real-time nature of the platform. While seasoned users apply a more strategic approach, curating content from key accounts and topics of interest, the majority of Twitter users rely on the live stream tweets in their timeline.
The recent enhancement rectifies a disconnect in the initial launch, allowing users to control the duration of each poll, enabling both nearly instant feedback (as little as five minutes) and a more sustained response interval of up to seven days. With the ability to customize the poll’s duration, a user can drive sustained traffic to the poll over a prolonged period and increase both diversity and participation.
Still simple to use
The screenshot below shows the process to take advantage of the new functionality when creating a Twitter poll:
- Click on the box to compose a new tweet and click the poll icon.
- Next, type your question in the Compose box.
- Add your first two response choices in the two text boxes with radio buttons.
- Then click the “Add a choice” hyperlink for additional response options. Poll options are limited to 20 characters each. (Note that with four response choices in addition to the question, more than 140 characters are allowed. Twitter is said to be exploring various options for extending the 140 character limit.)
- Customize your poll duration by selecting the Poll length option; select a duration of five minutes to seven days using the calendar.
When you’ve selected your desired duration, click Tweet and the polling clock begins.
Does the enhanced functionality of Twitter polls sound intriguing? The best way to conquer any new technology to to dig in. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Pricing and packaging services can be tricky. Use a poll to learn the preferred pricing model for your support services.
- Which features are most important to your customer? Consider a poll to address this product development question and create products with the features that your prospects want.
- Everyone loves a sale … or do they? Ask which types of promotions your audience prefers (percent off, free bonus, $ off, etc.)
- Blog topics and formats. While your analytics should be an indicator, try Twitter polls to learn both which topics are of interest to your audience and what format they prefer (videos, email, social, blog posts).
- Reduce your email newsletter unsubscribe rate with a poll about frequency of your marketing communications.
To get more visibility and increase participation in your poll, cross-market among various marketing channels. Pin your poll tweet to the top of your profile, embed it or link to it within a blog post or email newsletter and tweet it a few times during the poll’s duration.
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