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Content Radar: Polls May Change How You Use Instagram Stories

This week, polls are the latest thing on Instagram — but are they the greatest? Also, if you are like most publishers, you’ll be making more videos in the next year; Snapchat influencers are now publishing more frequently on Instagram Stories; and if you’re a marketer, people trust you less than Congress.

Will Instagram polls be good for your brand — yes or no?

In its continued effort to add new tools and features to help Instagram Stories separate itself further from Snapchat, Instagram announced in a blog post October 3 that users now can create polls within Instagram Stories. Opinions differ on the value that these polls bring. But before you make up your mind about the role polls will play in your marketing efforts, it’s best to get to know the new feature a little better.

How to make a poll

Creating a poll is fairly simple. Simply take a photo or a video in Instagram Stories, then tap on the “Stickers” icon at the top of the screen. When the “Stickers” screen appears, tap “Poll.” From there, you can type in your question. The default poll includes two potential responses: “Yes” or “No.” But if you want to change the answer options, simply tap on either of the default options and type a new response.

Using a poll on Instagram Stories

Why create polls?

Like your mother probably told you, just because you can do something, that doesn’t mean that you should do it. So, what’s the value of an Instagram poll? Why should you use them in your marketing efforts?

On the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, social media consultant Jeff Sieh explored a few reasons why.  “You can be very creative with these stickers and ask questions to your audience, which as marketers is really, really cool,” Sieh said. “If [users] go back and watch the story again later, they will get the updated results. So, it’s kind of a real-time thing that’s going on. Your creativity is your only limitation with this.”

Not everyone agrees

Of course, not everybody is equally excited about polls on Instagram. Instagram influencer DevanOnDeck discussed in a video on his YouTube channel why he’s not excited about the new feature.

“It takes away the fundamental best part of Instagram Stories for me,” he said.

PollsInstagramStories“Instagram Stories is the place on Instagram where you can be a little bit more willy-nilly. In a world where things are curated and perfect, you can be a little bit more loose and casual with your Instagram Stories. That is the joy of it because you are just able to connect and communicate with another human being. When you have something so automated and so simple, and so dumbed-down — such as polls — it takes away that opportunity to have a conversation.”

Devan suggests creating your own informal polls in stories by asking your followers to send you a direct message with a response to a question you ask, adding that this lets people be more social and it allows them to provide more than one of two short responses.

Tips and tricks

If you decide that polls might work well for your organization, here are a few tips that can help you as you start to create them:

  • Each response choice can only be up to 22 characters.
  • A response can be multiple words, such as “Sure Thing” or “Not a Chance.”
  • Instagram inserts blue lines on the screen when you are placing your poll sticker to help you line it up in the center.
  • Instagram will allow you to see who votes on your poll — and how they voted (to the chagrin of many).
  • You may not publish more than one poll in your story.

A full 80 percent of publishers will spend more money on video in the coming year. Some publishers aren’t convinced that video leads to increased revenue, which perhaps is why 1 in 5 respondents to the survey said the move toward creating more videos is based on audience preferences alone.

If you work in marketing, people don’t trust you. But don’t take our word for it, read about the 4As study that concluded that people who work in advertising and marketing are trusted even less than cable news and U.S. Congress. Ouch.

A new study shows that Facebook Watch videos are being viewed an average of 23 seconds. Although this is more than the roughly 17 seconds users spend watching videos on the Facebook news feed, there is still work to be done to get people to stick around and watch video content on Facebook like they do on YouTube.

Influencers are departing Snapchat in favor of Instagram Stories, according to a new study by MediaKix. The study, which measures the publishing frequency for top influencers on Instagram Stories and Snapchat, found that influencers are using Snapchat 33 percent less.

Chad Buleen

About Chad

Chad Buleen is an award-winning journalist, the manager of social messaging for a large international nonprofit, a digital media enthusiast and father of four. Follow him on Twitter .

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