How to make Twitter polls work for you (business guide) - John's IMSecrets

I started my digital marketing journey four years ago. I kept reading I should consider blogging but they never said how to find topics to blog about.

They only said “find topics your audience is interested in” or “write about the things people are searching for”.

It’s great advice. But it’s completely unactionable.

I mean, how do we find these topics? And how do we get the feedback?

That’s exactly what you're going to learn today so keep reading.

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How to make Twitter polls work for you

About a year ago, I started using polls on Twitter (I was terrible at it). I created my poll, added a nice call to action, and waited.

Nothing happened.

Not a single vote on the poll. I decided to try again, only this time, I chose a different topic. I checked my analytics to see what my audience cared about and made a list of interests.

I figured if it didn’t work I could try a different topic until I succeeded. There was one problem, though.

I didn’t have a lot of attention on me. And the results I got were a reflection of that. I realized that after a month of testing and failure.

You're going to learn how to make Twitter polls work for you. You'll learn how to get the attention you need and how to create polls that help you increase engagement.

How do twitter polls work?

It’s simple. You choose a topic you like, ask a question, write up to 4 answers, select the poll length, and click on "tweet".

After that, your poll goes to a part of your followers. They will vote and you’ll get feedback. Once it finishes, a new notification will appear in your notifications tab.

Why do twitter polls work?

When we use Twitter there are some things that usually go through our minds. Some people use the service to stay alert on breaking news, others use Twitter to “keep up with news in general”. Many say to “pass the time”, and a few use the network to second-screen during live events.

Knowing this, we can create polls that leverage those topics to engage our audience. For instance, let’s say that Twitter released news about changes to the platform. We can create a poll asking people for their opinion.

Twitter plans to release threads to the public (also known as tweetstorms). How do you think it’ll impact the platform?

  • There’s going to be more spam.
  • It’ll give us more room to express ourselves.
  • arrow-circle-right
    It’s going to destroy Twitter.
  • I don’t know.

Twitter polls work because we want the feeling of importance (to give our opinion). They leverage fear, curiosity, and/or entertainment to get our attention. You'll learn how to create an effective poll in the next section.

Why people use Twitter (research by American Press Institute)

Why people use Twitter (research by American Press Institute)

How to make twitter polls that increase engagement

Before we get started, there’s something you need to know. If your account is new or you have NO engagement on your Twitter account, you’ll have to promote your polls.

If you have some attention on you, then consider skipping the “promotion” step.

This image shows the process you should follow to effectively create and promote a Twitter poll.

How to create and promote Twitter polls (flowchart)

How to do research (categories)

We fail because we start things with a blindfold. Your research will determine the success or failure of your polls so never skip this step. Here’s how to do it:

  • 1
    Go to analytics.twitter.com.
  • 2
    You’ll see 5 tabs (home, tweets, audiences, events, and more). Click on “audiences”.
  • 3
    Scroll down until you see the “interests” section.
  • 4
    Make a list of the first 5 interests. This is what your followers want; use those topics to guide you when creating your polls.
Twitter analytics step-by-step example

Twitter analytics: "Interests" example

The main reason people fail is they were doomed from the start.

Click to Tweet

How to do research (topics)

  • 1
    Head over to buzzsumo.com.
  • 2
    Login to your account (if you don’t have one then create one).

The next steps depend on what you want.

  • 3
    Search for your main topic on the most shared tab.
BuzzSumo - most shared search box example

BuzzSumo - most shared search box example

  • 4
    Analyze the topics that appear in the search results (make a list of the titles with the most engagement and save the links).
BuzzSumo - most shared search results example

BuzzSumo - most shared search results example

Variation.

  • 3
    If you want news related content, click on “trending now”.
BuzzSumo - most shared content ux

BuzzSumo - most shared content ux

  • 4
    Select the category you are interested in.
  • 5
    Analyze the results and choose a topic your audience cares about.
  • 6
    Save the link of the article.
Trending topics in tech for Twitter poll creation (using BuzzSumo)

BuzzSumo - trending topics in tech (example)

How to find the exact words people are using to communicate

  • 1
    Go to google.com and run a broad search. Example: net neutrality
  • 2
    If there’s a “top stories” section at the top of your search, copy the titles they use in a Google doc.
  • 3
    Scroll down to the end of the search results.
  • 4
    Copy all the “related searches” in your Google doc.
Twitter polls - Advanced search ideas

Twitter polls - Advanced search ideas

How to run an advanced Twitter search

The first thing you need is the list of Twitter search operators you’ll use. Here’s a short list:

  • Url: (to find a specific link)
  • Lang: (to find tweets in the exact language you want)
  • your-search-query (to find tweets with an exact phrase or word on them)
  • arrow-right
    # (to find tweets with a specific hashtag)

Click the following link if you want to read the full list of TSOs.

How to use your search operators

Here’s how to use them:

Twitter polls - Advanced search example

How to get familiar with their language

By now you should already have a list of searches in your Google doc. You are going to use them to find conversations on Twitter.

  • 1
    On TweetDeck start a new search for every related search you found on Google.
  • 2
    Analyze the results and identify the words people use the most. Make a list of them.

How to create your message

Your message will prompt people to either leave or vote. Make sure to make it brief, effective, and familiar. As a general rule, consider the following:

  • It has to be specific.
  • If possible keep it under 100 characters.
  • Avoid “I” statements and focus on “you”.​​​​
  • arrow-right
    Use the language they normally use to connect.
  • arrow-right
    Your message has to have a call to action.

Here’s an example of a message that would resonate with my audience:

Twitter poll example

Twitter poll example

How can I create a Twitter poll?

It depends on the device you are using (mobile or desktop) but the process is similar.

How to create a Twitter poll on desktop

  • 1
    Click on the Tweet compose box at the top of your Home timeline, or click the Tweet button in the top navigation bar.
  • 2
    Click the Add poll icon.
  • 3
    Type your poll question into the main compose box. You can use up to the max character count in your poll question.
  • 4
    Insert your first poll option into the Choice 1 box, and your second poll option into the Choice 2 box. You can use up to 25 characters for each option.
  • 5
    Click + Add a choice to add more options to your poll. Your poll can have up to four options.
  • 6
    Your poll’s duration defaults to 1 day. You can change the duration of your poll by clicking 1 day and adjusting the days, hours, and minutes. The least amount of time for a poll is 5 minutes, and the most is 7 days.
  • 7
    Click Tweet to post the poll.
How to create a Twitter poll on desktop

How to create a Twitter poll on desktop

How to create a Twitter poll on mobile

  • 1
    Tap the Tweet compose icon.
  • 2
    Tap the Add poll icon.
  • 3
    Type your poll question into the main compose box. You can use up to the max character count in your poll question.
  • 4
    Insert your first poll option into the Choice 1 box, and your second poll option into the Choice 2 box. You can use up to 25 characters for each option.
  • 5
    Tap + Add a choice to add more options to your poll. Your poll can have up to four options.
  • 6
    Your poll’s duration defaults to 1 day. You can change the duration of your poll by tapping 1 day and adjusting the days, hours, and minutes. The least amount of time for a poll is 5 minutes, and the most is 7 days.
  • 7
    Tap Tweet to post the poll.
How to create a Twitter poll on mobile

How to create a Twitter poll on mobile

How to promote your twitter polls

At this point, you should already have a few active searches on TweetDeck. What you’ll do now is analyze your results. Engage with the content that shows up and ask for people to vote on your poll. I call this method TOM (Twitter outreach model).

Twitter Outreach Model

Twitter Outreach Model

If you don't have a clear process for content creation and promotion, it'll be difficult to replicate your results.

Click to Tweet

Engaging with people

One of the best ways to engage with content is to ask and answer questions. This is a skill like any other and you must develop it. Here’re a couple of articles to help you ask the right questions:

Asking people to vote on your poll

After you engage with people, make sure to ask them to vote on your poll. Do this in a follow-up tweet. Not in the same one. Here’s a template you can use:

Btw, I have an active Twitter poll about [your topic]. Would you mind voting? It shouldn’t take longer than 10 seconds. Thank you in advance. 🙂
[link to the poll]

How to get the link to a tweet on desktop
  • 1
    Click on the upper right part of a tweet.
  • 2
    Click on “copy link to tweet.
This image shows the two steps you need to follow to get the link to a tweet on desktop

How to get the link to a Tweet on desktop

How to get the link to a tweet on mobile
  • 1
    Tap on the bottom right part of a tweet (it looks like the send icon).
  • 2
    Tap on “share tweet via”.
  • 3
    Tap on “copy link to tweet”.
This image shows the three steps you need to follow to get the link to a tweet on mobile

How to get the link to a Tweet on mobile

Conclusion

Twitter polls can be a great addition to your marketing arsenal. Not only are they good to engage your audience. They can also get you valuable feedback. As Jim Trinka and Les Wallace said:

“Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas.”

Having said that, give your content the best chance to succeed. If you don’t have a lot of attention on you, make sure to promote it.

Before I let you go, let me ask you a question:

What’s your favorite way to engage your audience?

Let me know in the comment section below.

About the Author

I believe in a world where most forms of online communication ─ whatever they may be ─ are made as human as possible. Everything I say and do is with this vision in mind. My name is Jonathan Nuñez and I'm the founder of John's IMSecrets. If there's anything I can do to help, just let me know. ;)

  • Great article, Jonathan! I haven’t really used Twitter polls to the full extent, but this has just opened my eyes to it.

    • I’m glad you found the post useful, Ana. If you have any questions, make sure to let me know. I’ll do my best to help. 🙂

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