In an earlier article in this series, we covered using your social media networks to get informal opinions from your followers and friends. Now, let’s cover how to solicit more structured input. There are a number of ways to create and post “official” polls or surveys, none of which involve getting a paper survey printed, and sending it out via snail mail to your followers. Here are some options that are much faster and less expensive:
- Google Docs. Create a simple survey in Google Docs (docs.google.com) and get your results in spreadsheet format – for free! You can even brand the survey with your own colors and logo.
- Survey Monkey. If you want to email out your survey, check with Survey Monkey at http://surveymonkey.com. You can create surveys quickly and easily, and aggregate answers from up to 100 respondents for free. Get more surveys and more answers for a small monthly fee.
- Facebook Polls. Facebook makes it really easy to add polls or surveys to your Facebook profile or page. Just go to http://facebook.com/survey to be walked through the free process.
- WordPress Widgets. There are a number of WordPress widgets and plug-ins that can be added easily to your WordPress blog or website. Check out WP-Polls, Poll Code, Snap Poll, and Vizu.
Polls are perfect for the following circumstances:
- You want to increase engagement among your followers. Polls are a perfect way to gather information and use it to further discussion. Most people don’t just want to weigh in with their position; they want to discuss it, too! If you need a reminder, consider all the Facebook posturing in support of your friends’ political candidate of choice.
- You want to use current events to spark conversation. Does your audience think the latest Google search algorithm changes will affect their business? Do your blog readers agree with the experts’ national college football rankings? Ask them, and you’ll establish yourself as an expert by hosting the conversation.
- You want input from your followers and volume of responses is more important than speed. If you are in the process of developing a new product, you can find out if people would prefer an audio, video, written, or multimedia product. If you’re thinking of visiting a few cities on tour, you can see where your pockets of fans reside.
- You want to gather demographic information about your followers. Want to know how often your followers golf, how much money they spend on equipment, and what their biggest challenges are? A survey is a great way to solicit that type of information.