Twitter Polls Vs. Surveys: What to Use When


Twitter Polls Vs. Surveys: What to Use When

Lisa Vitale Twitter’s new partnership with Nielsen to provide Twitter Surveys – a service which will allow Twitter clients to tweet mini-polls, giving recipients the ability to respond within the tweet itself – begs the question where the value lies for B2B marketers between these quick polls and more in-depth surveys. As MarketingVOX1  pointed out recently, research tells us that seeking buyer opinions is good for business.  Beyond the obvious usefulness for gleaning insights into your market, surveys are also good for branding, and perhaps even more helpfully, for engaging your buyer.


So when is a Twitter-style quick-poll useful and when should you opt for a more in-depth survey?  The answer is (of course), it depends.  What are your goals and constraints regarding market research?


Surveys are the traditional tool of market research, helping you uncover trends, gain performance insight, gauge customer satisfaction, discover innovative business ideas, while aiding in customer retention and loyalty.  Surveys can also be used to engage prospective customers.  Leads can be generated by pursuing respondents who’ve opted-in by providing their information – a feature polling doesn’t allow for.


Yet for all their in-depth usefulness, surveys do pose challenges.  For a B2B survey to be worthwhile, you need to maximize your response rate – not always an easy task in today’s time-challenged environment.  So how do you create a survey prospects will find compelling enough to respond to?


Consider first, is your topic interesting and relevant to your prospective respondents?  If so, for B2B surveys, a promise of summary results might suffice to gain participation (topics on industry trends, challenges, and best practices are great for this crowd).  The more relevant and compelling the expected survey results the more likely participants will be to opt-in. Asking questions that address key concerns is likelier to produce higher quality leads, as those interested in learning more are often those in most need of a solution.


Other ways of incentivizing your target audience might include offering a free token item (product, content, etc) or providing a discount towards future products or services.  Regardless, the survey’s single biggest challenge – response rates – will require at the very least some creativity on your part and likely an expense to properly incentivize your audience.  But the nuanced, probing nature of survey questions is one of the best ways to understand each market segment.


Alternatively, polls are resource-efficient in all senses of the term.  They’re comparatively inexpensive to deploy in varied mediums (LinkedIn polls are free), require little time from respondents, and can provide you with quick results.  In our time-constrained culture, it seems that Twitter Surveys might be just as simple to respond to as they would be to delete – a not insignificant user-friendly feature (though we’ll know more about that once the Beta testing is complete).  Polls are a simple way to take a snapshot of your market, helping you connect with larger audiences, albeit more superficially.  In a Marketing 3.0 world, where our focus is moving beyond the buyer to encompass all stakeholders, polls undoubtedly have a place.


While Polls excel at reaching a larger audience, more quickly, in a time-/cost-effective manner, they can also lend themselves to greater bias given the limited nature of question and response style.  If subtleties, depth, and customer engagement are what you’re after, then the better choice is taking the time to develop and deploy a good prospect survey.


Engaging your market, gleaning insights, and heightening brand awareness and loyalty, are all great reasons to deploy the power of surveys and polls.  Which you use will depend on your goals and the resources available to you.  They both have their place in the marketer’s tool kit and Twitter’s addition to the array may prove quite useful.


What’s your experience? Are you using surveys or polls to gauge B2B buyer sentiment or pain points?




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