A new Instagram feature offers a valuable PR and marketing tactic. Instagram users can now poll followers within their stories. To create a poll, capture or upload an image or video as you normally would and click the “Poll” sticker. Like stories, the poll and its results will disappear from the network, Instagram notes in its blog post announcing the feature.
Marketers will be able to increase interactions, learn more about their audience’s preferences and ask brand-related questions “just for fun,” says social media marketer Dhariana Lozano.
For instance, a restaurant can place two dishes next to each other and ask followers to pick their favorite. If you provide online courses, you could ask followers if they prefer written or video courses.
Deeper Relationships, More Sales
“Letting your audience choose – and following up with the popular vote – will show that you’re listening, which can deepen the customer-client relationship, and eventually increase sales,” Lozano says.
Digital marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuck calls the news “super interesting.” The feature makes Instagram Stories more interactive, better for data collection, and more valuable to both individuals and companies. It underscores Instagram’s ability to innovate. Multiple choice responses may be next, Vaynerchuck predicts.
“This is big,” he asserts. “Start using polls now!”
Vaynerchuck notes some key points for marketers:
- You can customize the yes/no field to any A/B question.
- When positioning your sticker, blue lines will appear to help you center it or avoid placing it anywhere that might be obscured when someone watches your story.
- There is a 27-character limit for each possible response field.
- You can only have one poll per story.
- You can see full analytics on how many people responded and who responded with what answer.
Identities are Revealed
It’s important to remember that identities of poll participants are not anonymous. Some users felt embarrassed and remorseful after they responded to polls while thinking their identities would be hidden. The Instagram blog post clearly stated identities would be known, but users might have assumed the surveys would be similar to Twitter polls, which hides identities.
“It really shouldn’t be a surprise the site that encourages the sharing and commodification of thoughts and feelings wouldn’t truly keep your thoughts and feelings private,” comments Rachel Kaser at TNW, noting that Instagram takes after Facebook, its parent network.
Bottom Line: Instagram polls allow marketers to boost engagement, learn more about their audiences and develop deeper relationships. The new feature shows Instagram’s ability to innovate and highlights the app’s growing importance for many marketers.