Use Twitter Polls to increase your engagement

Towards the end of 2015, Twitter launched a new feature: Twitter Polls

The premise was quite simple: ask a question, give two possible answers, let your audience decide. Polls would stay active for twenty four hours and quickly proved to be a popular method of gaining engagement with your followers.

But then the flaws of Twitter’s model kicked in. People wanted more than two options – after all, if you’re deciding which beer to put on, you may have several that you’re dithering over. And, in the cacophonic world of Twitter, despite the poll being open for a whole day most people will have forgotten about your tweet after just eighteen minutes.*

So are polls really valuable?

The short answer is: yes. Polls are a great method for getting audience engagement, which is your currency on social media. The further your reach and the more your engagement the closer to your goal you will get.

Images, videos and links to your or other websites are proven valuable tools in creating engagement with your audience, but a poll will get an answer to your question when a link to a news story won’t.

Twitter quickly realised that their poll system needed some tweaks and added the ability for you to have up to four responses to your question.

Now, they’ve allowed you to fiddle with the length of time a poll can stay active.

Set the length of your Twitter poll

Brevity has always been the king of Twitter and a poll that lasts too long will quickly lose value. Now you can set your poll to last as little or as long as you need it to.

When creating a poll, ask your question in your tweet as you normally would. Remember, including a poll will use up 24 characters of your 140 character limit so keep your question short; you’ve only got 116 characters left.

Then, by default, select two possible answers. If you want a third or fourth, select Add A Choice.

Next, select your Poll Length. (No sniggering at the back.)

The default option is one day, but you can reduce that to just five minutes if you wish. The maximum time you can run a poll for is seven days.

Once the poll is finished, you can share the results as you see fit or use them to shape your business if that was your goal.

How do I extend the life of my poll?

The biggest challenge polls face is how quickly they get lost in the noise.

If your poll is going to be lasting a while, make sure you pin it to the top of your Twitter feed; this means that people who are browsing your profile directly will see the poll first and gives them a chance to vote. Just remember to unpin the poll from the top of your feed once it has expired.

To pin your tweet, select the icon with the three small dots in it and from the drop down menu select Pin To Your Profile Page. Simply repeat to unpin.

pin your tweet to your Twitter profile

If your poll is engaging enough, others will retweet it, extending the life of the tweet further, and feel free to link directly to your Twitter poll on your website, Facebook or other social platforms. Using the menu drop down described above, select Copy Link To Tweet and copy the address that appears to your other channels with a message to encourage people to pop along and vote.

Just remember when sharing your poll outside of Twitter that, in order to vote, viewers must have a Twitter account.