Social media can serve many functions. It is a great tool to network with peers, it can strengthen your school brand, and it makes conversing with students, alumni and the community easier. But, merely having a presence on social media isn’t enough to garner results. Finding new and creative ways to engage with your audience is an essential part of establishing a robust online presence.
As a general rule, all social media communication should follow the 80/20 rule — 80% of the content is directed toward your audience’s interests, and 20% serves marketing objectives. What does that mean? If you aren’t providing a variety of content that interests your followers, you aren’t giving the audience a reason to interact with your page which will decrease the reach of your posts.
When planning your social media posts, make sure you have a variety of links, status updates and images to share over a wide range of topics that connect back to your school. In addition to these, create informal polls to help increase audience engagement with your page and provide you with helpful feedback.
How to create polls
There is an art to creating polls that work on social media. If it is too in depth, users won’t interact. If it is too casual, you might not get the insight you wanted from the poll.
Step 1: Identify areas you would like to promote on social media. What information would help you direct your campaign?
Evernote created a poll asking the first task on your to-do list that you complete at the beginning of each week. They provided four answer options for their followers. What makes this a successful poll? First, it is simple. When you read the question, an answer immediately comes to mind. Second, it speaks directly to what the company does and engages the type of individual who would use their product. Evernote is a note-taking, organizing and storing platform. The poll and the company targets people who create to-do lists and are interested in organizational methods. By creating a simple poll, they put their company at the forefront of their audience’s minds.
Step 2: Decide how you will make your poll stand out. One of the major challenges with social media is that it is fluid. Content is constantly being added and pulling your audience further away from your message. If you want to increase your engagement levels, you have to determine how to make your content stand out.
Dunkin’ Donuts did a great job setting their poll apart with a National Coffee Day question that asked the audience to choose from four different emoji-based responses. On the surface, the poll is just a bit of fun for the reader who encounters it — which is a great way to get responses. But, what it also does is get the reader thinking about coffee, but more specifically Dunkin’ Donut coffee. They were able to bring their product to the customer’s mind without having to say “buy my coffee.”
Step 3: Write the poll question and answers. Remember who your audience is. If you are targeting students, include some emojis and make sure you are speaking to them rather than above them
Step 4: Create the poll on all of your social media platforms.
Step 5: Analyze results. What worked and didn’t work? What can be done better next time? If you use any of the major social media platforms to host your poll, there are built-in analytics. Set goals and give yourself something to measures against.
Where to post polls
Informal polls should be simple. They can be fun, informative or both. You can create polls within Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. The platforms will tally the results, or create an image posing a question and ask for votes within the comments.
On Facebook, polls for business pages are through Polls for Pages. You can create one question polls, market research surveys, hashtag polls, reaction polls, contests, quizzes and more. Given all the options available, remember to keep it simple.
With Twitter, you can create the poll directly in a tweet. Just click “Add Poll” in the dialogue box and fill in the question and answer choices. Set the length of time you would like the poll to run and tweet out the poll to your followers. If you conduct polls on a more regular basis, the number of responses will increase as people begin to expect them from you.
Instagram has recently added a polling option in their Stories section. You can easily add a poll question and answers that users can then vote on. With this platform, it is best to keep the answers narrowed down to two responses.
Through a partnership with Polly (a polling app startup company), Snapchat also offers its users a polling option. In Polly, you can select from their bank of questions or submit your own question to them. You would then write your own answers and copy the web link. After that, you would go into Snapchat, create an image for the poll and paste in the link before you publish. The audience members can swipe up to be taken to Polly where they can answer the question without having to log in.
Polls are a great addition to your normal social media content. They will give your page some fresh variety and help plant marketing seeds without being too overt.