How To Use LinkedIn Polls To Drive Engagement and Client Enquiries

By Tony Restell

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LinkedIn polls are a great way to drive engagement and spark conversations with your LinkedIn audience. While there's been no official announcement to this effect, LinkedIn trainers and social media agencies can easily demonstrate that LinkedIn's algorithm now highly favours LinkedIn Polls in the homepage feed. That means they can be an invaluable tool for businesses that want to raise their profile and generate more leads and enquiries from their LinkedIn presence.

How To Use LinkedIn Polls

LinkedIn polls allow you to undertake simple market research on the platform - and provide a great way you can interact with prospects without having to resort to using pushy sales tactics or spammy marketing content. With a little bit of strategy and creativity, you can use LinkedIn polls as a powerful tool for sparking conversations and generating client enquiries, while also being of value to people in your market.

What is a LinkedIn poll?

LinkedIn polls are a type of post where you can ask people for their opinion or market feedback. LinkedIn shows LinkedIn polls more frequently in the feed than other types of posts, like photos and videos or blog shares. So they offer the potential of getting significant visibility for you and your brand - but also the potential to tarnish your reputation if used in a spammy way.

LinkedIn polls are inserted into a regular LinkedIn post and allow you to ask a simple two-line question and then offer people up to 4 multiple choice responses to that question. Your poll can run for up to 2 weeks - and you can specify the desired duration when you create your poll.

LinkedIn polls can be used to collect market feedback, tap into sentiments about things happening in your market, seek input on new services you are thinking of providing - to name just a few of their uses. LinkedIn polls can help businesses learn more about their customers' and prospects' needs. They can also be used to showcase your area of specialism, by collecting data and insights that will be useful to others in your market.

When to use them in your social media campaign

LinkedIn polls are particularly effective in two scenarios.

Firstly, if you want to get broad market feedback on a question then polls are a great way of reaching not just your own network - but also the wider network of prospects on LinkedIn. That's because as people start responding to polls, your poll is then shown to other people in their network. Meaning that the poll ends up reaching - and being answered by - a far broader pool of individuals.

This broad response approach works best if i) you're asking a question that has broad appeal (ie. it's relevant and can be easily answered by lots of people) and ii) is being asked on the account of someone who already gets good engagement on their posts on LinkedIn (as your existing engagement levels impact how extensively LinkedIn will show your poll on the platform).

The second scenario in which they are very effective is if your poll calls for a more targeted response (only a niche segment will be able to answer your poll question or will find it relevant) - and you or someone in your business has an extensive network of the right kinds of respondents in their LinkedIn network. This is because once created, a LinkedIn poll can be privately sent to some of your existing connections. So if you eg. want your poll to be seen and answered by Supply Chain Directors then you can send the poll directly to the right people - provided you already have enough of them in your network.

How to create an effective poll on LinkedIn

It's important to try and ask questions that can be answered by most people who will see them. That's because each vote on your poll is viewed favourably by the LinkedIn algorithm: "this poll is proving interesting to people, it should be shown to lots more people!". Conversely, if LinkedIn shows your poll to people and very few people are responding to the poll that's an indicator to LinkedIn that the poll's visibility should be killed off.

So try to either come up with polls that will be relevant and easy to answer for a wide population of people; or, if going niche with your question, be sure to then go the extra mile and directly send the poll post to a pool of people who are of the right profile to be able to respond.

Examples of successful polls on the platform

The most widely viewed polls are those that are easy for people to answer AND that encourage people to also add a comment to expand on their answer or to provide some other information. The reason for this is that every poll vote, like, comment or share on your poll post is treated as an "engagement" on the post by LinkedIn. So the more of these you get combined, the more widely your poll is going to be seen...

... plus of course the simple act of having lots of people comment also gives you lots of opportunities to respond and interact with people.

Here's a simple example of one that did well (60,000+ views and a large number of responses) by getting people to both vote and comment on the post. What's more, because the question uncovered the fact that it's highly possible to get lots of meetings through using LinkedIn, it was of great educational value to our ideal clients (small business owners and sales teams) and so was valuable too.

Example LinkedIn Poll

Tips for using polls effectively in your marketing strategy

The following PDF has some additional tips on using LinkedIn polls effectively in your sales & marketing strategy:

In addition, I would also highlight the value there is in devising questions that create opportunities to have subsequent conversations with your ideal prospects.

For example, if a business coach posts a poll asking what aspect of your business you would most like to improve... just think about the answers that come back. Every respondent reveals that they would like to improve their sales & marketing or their operations or some other element of their business...

... Now imagine if the business coach then follows up with each person who's taken the poll to see if it'd be helpful to them to jump on a quick brainstorming call to uncover some quick wins for improving that part of their business. You can start to understand how that LinkedIn poll isn't just giving the business coach heightened visibility in the market, but it's also actually starting the types of conversations that will lead to new client wins. Powerful hey?!!

When not to use LinkedIn polls

LinkedIn polls are a great way to get LinkedIn to show you more frequently in people's homepage feeds. But it is important for your professional reputation not to ask inane questions. I see lots of people using the polling feature to ask people if they prefer cats or dogs? Or to ask what is your favourite pizza topping?

These types of poll questions give people huge exposure - and so it's easy to be lured into thinking that this is a quick win for your business. The problem with them is that most business decision makers can quickly become irritated if this kind of poll starts filling their homepage feed. So you end up being muted (and not seen) by the very people you'd want to be choosing to buy your services, whilst getting mass visibility with the kind of bored employees who are more likely to engage with such clickbait.

That's some general guidance on not misusing the LinkedIn polls feature. But the other situation in which polls will not work well for you is if your LinkedIn network doesn't mirror the audience that you'd want to be responding to your poll.

For example, let's say that you're thinking of entering a new geographical market. You might use polls as a way to get some insights about that market, or to gauge the potential demand for your services if you did go ahead and launch there.

The problem with this is that your LinkedIn poll is initially seen only by people in your existing network. So if you don't already have lots of relevant connections in that location, your poll is going to be a flop and quickly be demoted in the feed.

To conclude then, only use LinkedIn polls if the account on which you're posting the poll has a good reach to the kinds of people you'd want to respond to that poll.

Concluding Remarks

LinkedIn polls are one of a huge number of "hidden gems" on social media. They provide a ready-made way to get you significant brand exposure with your target audience - and more importantly, to start sparking conversations with your ideal prospects. Hopefully these tips will give you more confidence in making use of this feature on LinkedIn. Of course if you'd like to have social media experts handle all of this for you, you're very welcome to book in for a call and we'd be delighted to chat through how we could work together to implement numerous tactics like this.

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