There was a time in 2014 when LinkedIn removed the polls feature, but that didn’t last long, and they reintroduced them this year. It is time to look at how they can be best utilized in your digital marketing plan. You can create polls on profile pages, within user groups, and on individual pages, even inside an event. With 675 million users targeted at professionals and market peers, LinkedIn is a very influential platform. Understanding how to use all of its features to your benefit is very valuable.

The page hosting a poll cannot vote, but page admins do have the option of voting on behalf of the page. Anyone who votes can see the percentage breakdown once they have cast their vote. If you are the poll creator or a page or group administrator, however, you can see a more detailed look at who has voted for what. The creator or viewers can see how many people have responded to the poll while it’s active and once it’s come to a close.

Polls offer a unique combination of customer engagement and market research.  This can be a powerful tool for gathering information from connections you have built and gain insight on a variety of topics, including buying habits, interests, hobbies, trend opinions, and much more. The polls feature interface is straightforward to use and set up. The multiple-choice format allows for quick and easy creation, distribution, and data analysis, all in one simple process.

There are lots of ways you can take advantage of polls on LinkedIn to boost the efficacy of your marketing strategy on the LinkedIn platform. Here is a look at how to use them and some of the best ways to utilize this feature.

Getting Started

First things first, let’s take a quick look at how to get a poll set up and the entire process. The first step is to click the Start a Post option in the Create a Post window. There will be a (+) option that will drop down to give your access to the Create a Poll option.

The next step is to set up the question and poll answers so make sure that your questions and answer choices resonate with your poll’s topic. You will see a disclaimer that says that LinkedIn does not allow for polls requisition political opinions, medical information, or other sensitive data. The final step in creation is selecting the poll duration. You can choose from 1 day up to 2 weeks. What you choose for a duration will depend on your goals and potentially the nature of the question. Some poll purposes and questions will be more well suited to a shorter or longer polling time. Choose accordingly. Once you have selected the duration, the creation process for the poll is complete and all you need to do is click Done.

Your poll is now ready, but the poll is separate from the poll post. The post is how the poll is presented and will include LinkedIn hashtags that relate to your topic. Use these hashtags and the presentation text to draw interest, offer value, and build intrigue. Click Post when you are ready to publish.

As the owner of this post, you will be able to view the name, headline, and response of the participants. This can be invaluable data and can be used as a way to determine who may be receptive to further contact or promotion. Remember that once a poll is finished it will stay up indefinitely on the page, group, or event it was posted in until you decide to delete it.

So now you know the ins and out. How can you use polls to grow your business?

Discover What Your Network Is Looking for In Content

Audience polls can be a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of your community’s needs and preferences. Poll your viewers on what types of content they prefer. This can give you a leg up when deciding what content to produce and how to present it. Your content is only as good as the engagement it gets. Anything you can do to research what content will get the most engagement can help you streamline the marketing process. Sometimes the best way to acquire valuable information is simply by asking.

Follow-ups can also be a great way to let your audience know they are being heard. If you set up a poll asking for opinions of their favorite types of content, and then come back after and deliver that style of content, you can really let your viewers know you are listening. Don’t be shy about it either. Try making a post specifically about the content you are delivering being in response to the poll. People want to feel like you are listening to what they say.

Gather Opinions

People love sharing an opinion. Not only can this make them feel heard, but it also just lends to the personal feeling of community that can go such a long way in marketing your business. Ask for opinions. Polls allow you to streamline this process and break things down into more manageable bites. Your page should be designed to build and foster a community of your target audience. This makes LinkedIn a great place to get target audience opinions on new marketing approaches, logos, slogans, policies, or even products. When your audience feels their suggestions matter, you build trust and brand loyalty.

Ask Specific Questions

Obviously, polls are useful for asking your viewership questions, but don’t feel like you have to be broad and appeal to the widest range of your viewers. Sometimes specifics can be even more important. 40% of LinkedIn users use the site every day. This gives you a large pool of active and interested viewers who will be happy to answer questions that are presented in a value offering manner. Asking specific questions offer significant value to those who feel drawn to answer them. Specific questions can target specific concerns or interests. Detail can be so crucial to the success of all marketing avenues and detailed questions can facilitate detailed information. Skip the middleman and ask your audience directly.

Collect User Feedback on Products and Services

New products or services debuting can be a stressful time. Gathering feedback on the products or services being launched and on the launch process as a whole can be so valuable to your marketing efforts. Asking what customers value the most in something, or asking your audience to choose possible updates or adjustments they could really benefit from, can give you incredibly useful market research.

Direct customer feedback can mean everything when it comes to adjusting things. When you start an ad campaign or launch something new, you may be able to tweak things as you go to achieve the best results. Asking for feedback through polling can be a really effective method of determining what may need to be tweaked or adjusted.

Gauge Interest in New Concepts

Market research can apply to every stage of an idea. From conceptualization to production to realization to release to promotion. The conceptual genesis can mean so much though because if you don’t have reason to trust the concept you may be wasting valuable time and resources.

Polls can be designed around conceptualization and gathering information to best facilitate design direction in product development. Not only can these polls give you feedback on potential concept directions, but this can also give you a snapshot of the potential audience and a look at the amount of interest these concepts may or may not generate.

You can even use these kinds of new product polls in conjunction with other marketing efforts or promotions. This could look something like offering special samples, first exclusives, or promotions to those who respond. Ways to add clear value propositions to any avenue of your marketing campaigns can definitely help both in information gathering and in spreading the word and getting your messages out.

Encourage Further Engagement

As mentioned above, promotional rewards for participation can be effective in gaining interaction and engagement, but anything you can do to encourage further engagement with your brand will be valuable. Try encouraging leaving comments explaining a participant’s choice. This can give people the simple reason they are looking for to share even more valuable and detailed feedback. Also consider combining poll posts with simple calls to action. There are many effective marketing techniques that can be utilized in conjunction with LinkedIn polls in this way.

Now that you have an idea of just how easy they are to use and the true depth and versatility LinkedIn polls can offer, consider trying them out in your branding campaigns. Try working with your web design company team as well to explore integration and connection to these polls from other areas of your web presence.