3 simple social media tools to understand your customers

Since the boom of social media, businesses have found it increasingly easier to engage with their audience, and now things have been taken a step further with an increasing number of polling features being introduced. These additions have now given brands a relatively straight forward means of garnering popular opinion and understanding what it is people want.

We’ve looked at 3 different polls on social media that you can start taking advantage of now.

Twitter Polls

Twitter established itself as the main source of social polls having introduced them at the back end of 2015. The feature was rolled out to all users quickly, and while some brands used it to gain valuable insight into things such as customer preferences, others opted to use Twitter polls in a more light-hearted manner. It’s provided a great means of generating engagement on one of the fastest moving social media platforms (with the average life span of a tweet being around 15 minutes).

Setting up a Twitter poll is pretty straight forward and can be done in a few clicks on either the desktop version of the site or the mobile app. Twitter allows you to put a question forward to your followers and then provide up to 4 answers for them to choose from. You also have the freedom to set the duration of the poll, with the option of having it live for any time up to 7 days.

The quick and easy nature of setting up a Twitter poll makes it accessible for all businesses to use. On top of this, having control of its duration along with up to a choice of 4 possible answers allows you to gain more value from your polls.

The downside of Twitter polls comes in the fact that it can be tricky for smaller businesses to develop a worthwhile level of engagement. Therefore if you haven’t already established a following on the platform, a poll will in most cases struggle to generate much results.

Top Tip: If you plan on using Twitter polls then why not tie them into a trending topic. Add the relevant hashtag to your post to reach an even wider audience.

Instagram Polls

Instagram have most recently added the polling feature to their popular photo sharing app. While some features (such as adding links to Instagram stories are still reserved for business accounts with over 10,000 followers), the poll is free for anyone to use. Instagram have ensured their offering is as simple as possible. All users are required to do is take a picture on their ‘story’, select the stickers option and simply choose the poll. They can then customise it by adding a question and 2 possible answers.

A major benefit of Instagram’s poll is that you can see how each individual follower has voted, drawing a better idea of how your audience breaks down. While this data can’t be exported, making analysing it tricky, you can still get a rough idea in the breakdown of the demographic (e.g. gender) that voted a particular way by scrolling through the results. In addition to this you can also see if your poll is of interest as Instagram also provides the total number of people that viewed your story along with those swiped away from it. Having a large number of views and only a handle full of actual voters would signify that it didn’t quite capture their attention.

The only limiting aspect of Instagram’s offering is the fact that you can only offer 2 possible answers. This however doesn’t hold their offering back given the plus points we’ve mentioned above along with the fact that, as a social network, it currently offers the greatest level of organic engagement out of the main social platforms.

Top Tip: Ensure that your content is visually pleasing! Instagram stories are flooded with easy on the eye content so if you want your posts to stand out then be sure take time when creating them.


Polly is an app which has recently grown in popularity. It allows users to create polls and then share them on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. Polly hasn’t really established itself on Twitter (primarily due to Twitter’s native polling option) or Facebook, which has led to it focussing most of its attention on Snapchat. Setting up a poll via Polly is again a rather simple job, and in similar fashion to Instagram, using Polly alongside Snapchat allows the use of visual content to grab your followers’ attention.

The drawbacks for Polly stem from people’s unfamiliarity with it at the moment. While it’s growing in popularity, it appears to be thriving amongst 16-24 year olds (a similar audience to that of Snapchat in general) which could pose a problem if your target audience falls outside if this age range. In addition to this, with Instagram now having a more intuitive poll and a seemingly superior alternative, the early growth of Polly could well be halted.

The one place Polly does however have the upper hand over Instagram’s polling systems is that it allows for a greater number of poll answers – allowing for more in depth feedback.

In Summary

Using social media polls both in a light-hearted manner and to gain an insight into your followers is a no-brainer. With them being free to use and relatively simple to set up, there is very little resource that is spent on getting them published.

In addition to this, the frequent use of relevant and interesting polls will also show your followers that you enjoy engaging with them and also care enough about their opinion. Go ahead and try polling to your followers. Make the most of current affairs and subjects they’re likely to be interested in and remember, social media is about being “social”, so don’t come across as being overly ‘salesy’.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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