Influencer marketing isn't the next big thing — it's already a big thing. Influencers promoting brands existed long before the digital revolution, from the beginning of print advertising to stars pushing their "favorite" cigarettes in commercials on black and white televisions. However, social media platforms have opened up the floodgates as thousands of influencers guide the decisions of millions of their followers.
The most recent, powerful tool to be added to your marketing arsenal is the Instagram poll sticker feature for stories. The feature allows you as a marketer or influencer to ask Instagram poll questions to your followers, who can then vote on an answer.
Because of the allure and the increased prominence of photos and videos online, influencers flock to Instagram, making it their favorite platform as they work to attract as many of the 800 million active users as possible.
The strong presence of influencers combined with the poll sticker makes Instagram a prime platform for marketing specialists, as social influence marketing campaigns provide brands an opportunity to organically and directly reach an enormous audience.
The poll is useful not only because it provides an additional level of engagement with users, but because it allows you to gather very specific insights. These insights can influence you and your team's marketing campaigns, as well as your products and brand.
Polling for market research
Though the Instagram poll feature only gives users two options and only lasts as long as the typical story (24 hours) you'll still be able to use it to gather invaluable information about your audience and their preferences. There are limitations to such a binary system, but it will nonetheless provide you clear feedback.
You can start by asking your audience what kind of content they want more of. For example, you can ask them, "What kind of posts do you prefer?" along with the options of "images" or "videos". The results can help you decide where you want to spend your marketing dollars for content development. If you are using multiple influencers, you might find that videos appeal more to one influencer's audience, while photos have a greater impact on another.
The bottom line is that the poll will allow you to get direct feedback through Instagram stories, rather than forcing you to attempt to untangle likes and comments to determine the relative impact of a post based on its format, content, time posted, tags, and so on.
The Instagram poll questions feature is also a great way to get feedback about your product to influence future development. You can ask your audience, "Would you pay more for a waterproof version?" along with a simple "yes" or "no". Or, you could ask them if they like a specific aspect of the current product to gauge how valuable the feature is.
In general, keep the questions simple and fun. Then, in future posts, make it clear that based on your audience's preferences, you've made changes.
A post could read, "Since more than 90% of you wanted to see more videos, check out this one."
The data you get through the poll will consist of the:
Number of story views
Total number of votes
Number of voters for each answer
This is particularly important as you get a feel for what questions engage your audience. If a low percentage of your users who view the story fail to take part in the poll, then the wording of the question is either not engaging enough, or it's simply not something your audience is interested in.
Increase audience engagement
It's very possible that customers want to voice their opinion about your company, products, or brand, but feel as though the process of getting in touch is more effort than it's worth. Lowering the barriers for users to provide feedback is an essential way to prompt more people to share their thoughts.
Social media thrives on the online world's click-and-swipe fanaticism. There's something undeniably satisfying for the user, which is yet another reason the Instagram poll sticker is such a valuable tool—it gives them one more way to quickly click and have their voice heard.
Also, the feedback loop created through the poll will allow audience members to feel more connected to a brand or company, which helps to build the sense of a stronger community.
Another way to build a stronger community is to connect with a target community beyond your brand or company by asking industry-related questions. These questions will show your audience that you're connected to the large industry and that you're passionate about it. Though such questions might not necessarily be designed to inform your marketing strategy or product design, they do allow you to build long-lasting, valuable relationships with your audience.
Who is Instagram polling with success?
Both the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball are benefiting from using Instagram voting polls. The NBA and MLB use the sticker to open up lines of communication with their enormous audiences, allowing followers to vote on which team they think will win in an upcoming game.
A poll sticker used in this way works wonders in building anticipation around their core products—the games.
HelloFresh, a booming prepared meal service company, uses the Instagram poll feature to inform their decisions about what recipes will be attractive to their clients. For them, this works as a market research tool: if respondents say they want more salmon or vegan dishes, HelloFresh can make the necessary adjustments to their menus.
As mentioned earlier, the poll is also important for influencers.
"I like to ask my followers what they want to see next from me. I cover a lot of verticals on my blog, and if one niche is in high demand, it becomes very apparent from the polls," Lifestyle influencer Victoria Van Ness says. "Your audience can surprise you when utilizing the polls: I used to cover a lot of personal style on my blog, I thought [my readers] were mainly fashion-focused, but it turns out they are really wanting more beauty and travel posts."
The results from these polls have helped Van Ness plan, strategize, and make the necessary changes to her monthly content calendar to optimize engagement.
Though the Instagram poll feature is fairly new, it's already proving to be a useful tool for marketers, brands, and influencers. By posing smart, fun questions you'll be able to create better marketing campaigns, better products, and build a stronger community around your brand.
And, if you're still not sure, you can create a poll to ask if your followers want more polls.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.