Back in the day, Instagram had a basic premise and was pretty simple in its execution. You saw something you liked, grabbed your phone, took a picture, and posted it. But as the platform grew in popularity, an ever-growing list of features made its way onto it. This gave content creators more opportunities and also made the platform increasingly popular among business users. And then, Instagram Stories debuted in August of 2016. As it turned out, this feature became somewhat of a game changer.
As more and more people started using Stories on a daily basis (with data from June of 2018 placing this number at 400 million), the feature received further updates which allowed users to make their Stories even more engaging. One of those updates was the “Polls” functionality – an easy-to-use option with tremendous potential.
It’s All About Engagement
Introduced in October of 2017, polls are very simple to implement into your Stories. Basically, you just add a sticker and customize the question and the answers. But despite their simplicity, Instagram polls can be a very powerful tool as they give you the option to easily boost engagement to new levels.
With a poll, your audience can be heard – you are giving them a stage to express their opinion. And in return, you get them to actively engage with your content. What is more, you can also gather some invaluable insights which can help you shape your future strategies.
It is this active involvement that’s the key. When someone takes the time to answer a poll, they become invested. They’ll want to see if they are in the majority. Use them in the right way, and polls can help you forge a stronger bond with your audience.
Now, we mentioned that it really takes no time at all to set up a Story poll. This is another reason they are so popular. But just because you can quickly put one together with minimum effort doesn’t mean you should. Polls certainly do have a lot of potential. But in order to realize it, you need to use them effectively. And by keeping some of the following tips in mind, you will hopefully be able to do just that.
Tips to Follow
You will not be able to apply all of the following tips to every situation. Some describe certain conditions under which polls are particularly effective while others provide more general hints. But if you try to stick to them as much as possible, you’ll increase your chances of utilizing Instagram polls to their fullest.
- Get Direct Feedback About Products This comes into play when you’re using Instagram to promote a product of some sort. Once you’re done with your design, you need to know if it is something that your potential customers will appreciate. So, why not simply ask? It’s quick, easy, and most importantly, effective. If you get positive feedback, you can proceed. Otherwise, it is not too late to go back to the drawing board. You can save yourself a lot of money if you’re off the mark with your ideas, and you will have already started promoting the product in a less direct way.
- A Soft Sell Immediately continuing with this line of thought, such polls are great when you want to deliver a soft sell. Sure, there is merit in direct calls to action where you invite your viewers to immediately purchase something. But sometimes, a more subtle approach can yield better results. When you directly promote a product, you are, in a way, telling your audience what you think they like. But by asking for feedback, you’re letting them tell you this instead. So, you can ask if they like a design, as already mentioned. Or have them pick between two color schemes. Questions are less abrasive than statements, and Instagram polls give you a great way to ask those questions and utilize a softer method of selling.
- Research the Market You can ask your audience about a specific product, but you don’t need to stop there. You can also inquire about general consumer preferences, and use that data to make business decisions in the future. Think of it as a modern take on focus groups. The data you’ll collect won’t be of the same quality, of course, but you also won’t have to pay anything to get it.
- If Something Is Trending, Use it The previous three tips were primarily related to business use, but this one is universal. No matter what your goal for using Instagram may be, there’s nothing wrong with using a trending topic or a hot issue to stimulate discussion and generate interest. If there is a major event that is of concern to your audience, your poll will give them a voice. On the other hand, you get increased engagement. It’s a situation where everyone wins.
- Consider Using Emoji A quick tip to make your polls more interesting or lighthearted is to use emoji as responses instead of text. This isn’t suitable for every occasion but can be a nice little touch.
- Promote Events Stories polls are a great way to promote events. During the buildup, you can ask the audience to decide on certain details (decorations, beverages, etc.). This will make people feel like they are a part of the organization effort. Then, before the event itself, you can create a simple poll asking people whether they’ll be attending. This “forces” your audience to make an active decision, and sometimes people will not be willing to actively say no because they’ll be afraid of missing out.
- Improve Giveaways We’ve already talked about Instagram giveaways on our blog. But another thing you can do to boost the excitement and participation surrounding them is allow the audience to choose the prize via a poll. Free stuff is great, and it’s even better if you get to pick it (at least partially). This is another way to help you achieve the goal you have in mind for your giveaway.
- Introduction for Future Contact If you’d like to directly contact members of your audience with a proposal or grow your mailing list, just create a poll and ask. Follow through on any positive responses, and you’ll have more contacts – easy as that.
Instagram Stories Polls are easy to make and powerful if done right. They are great for boosting engagement, and can really let you feel the pulse of your audience. Hopefully, these tips will help you make the most of this exciting feature.