You would think a poll would be simple, right?

So, as part of my social media MA I’m working with an academic library on their social media strategy, and as part of that I’m showing them how to use polls on social media.  Easy (I thought).  Straightforward (I thought).  Well, as with many things, it gets a little more complicated…

To be fair, Twitter was very user friendly – simply go to the box, as though you were writing a normal tweet, and select the poll symbol:


You are then given a space to write a question, add the possible answers (a maximum of four) and select how long you would like the poll to run for:


Once the poll has finished, you can then see the final results (this is the results of one of the polls I ran for my client:


However, what about the other social media giant, Facebook?

Well, it seems there is no ultra-straightforward way to run a quick poll on Facebook.  By Googling, I found – this claims to have a free version – however, if you use their app, and don’t upgrade to premium, there will be a banner add on top of your poll, and you are limited to a maximum of 40 answers.  Any answers above this total will be locked away until you upgrade.

Other options include Poll and Polls for Pages.  However, no matter which option you choose, you will need to pay in order to run a large-scale, ad free poll.  The other option of course is to ask the question you would like an answer to as a status (with answers to choose from if you want) and ask your followers to post their answers in the comments.

The two obvious disadvantages with this are that a) it is much more difficult to persuade people to actively write a comment rather than simply click on a box and b) you then have to manually add up and collate all the answers given and there is nothing to stop individuals from giving their own answers, making statistical analysis very difficult.

Whichever method you choose, bear the following in mind (taken from ETHOS)

  • Set goals
  • Make it short and sweet
  • Engage and listen
  • Assess the poll
  • Publish the results

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