Last week, Twitter announced it was rolling out a brand new feature – you can now create simple 2-opinion polls and tweet them out to your audience.

Here are the key things you need to know about Twitter polls:

  1. They’ve native – so they don’t rely on Twitter cards or counting retweets v favourites – which makes for a much better user experience (and probably higher engagement)
  2. They only have a lifespan of 24-hours, so you can’t keep them open for days or weeks on end, meaning you need to get a snappy response
  3. How people vote is not shared publicly (or apparently shared with anyone at all) so you can’t see individual responses. This privacy should again encourage more people to participate.
  4. Once the poll has finished, then everyone can see the aggregate results publicly (so you won’t want to run polls on sensitive / private topics)

A quick note: Not everyone has access to this feature yet, but it is being actively rolled out to everyone (no specific deadline given) so keep checking back regularly and you should see it soon!

If you’d like to know more about the nuts and bolts of how polls will actually work, then Buffer has a pretty good guide here.

The more important question though is – what can you do with them?

To answer that question, we’ve put our heads together and come up with 10 simple ideas for organisers to engage attendees with Twitter polls for events.

1. Choose a venue or location

Finding the right venue or location for your event can be a challenge for organisers, because for some of your audience, the wrong venue or location will mean they can’t (or won’t) attend your event.

If you’re stuck between 2 close locations or venues which both have pros and cons, why not put it out to audience and crowdsource the answer by inviting the to vote on their favourite one?

2. Choose a date

Similarly, finding a date that works for the majority of your audience can be a minefield, and often it’s easy to miss obvious conflicts that will affect your attendance rate, such as non-direct competitive events or holidays you don’t celebrate.

To avoid this scenario, why not send out your 2 proposed dates and find out which is best for your attendees? The answer could help you maximise your turnout on the day.

3. Choose a topic

Many events – perhaps most famously SXSW – ask the public for their opinion on what sessions and topics should be discussed. What a great way to extend this choice than via Twitter’s polls?

It’s been shown that when people feel a sense of ownership over a product or service, they’re much more engaged with it (and likely to buy) so inviting your audience to help shape the agenda is a great way to not only get it right, but increase your ticket sales too.

4. Choose a theme

Whether you’re running a networking evening, a fancy dress party or a charity ball, theming your event is a great way to make it fun and stand out from other similar events.

Twitter polls are a great way to ask what theme would be of interest to your audience, whether it’s between formal/informal dress code, 20s versus 50s or disco versus rock…the choice is endless!

5. Market research

You could use Twitter polls to run some basic market research.

For new event ideas, you could ask whether people would pay to attend an event on a specific topic/theme ; Or for established events you could ask if people would like the chance to purchase a VIP experience or other new ticket type.

Of course, this should only be one data-point in your research, but it could provide some interesting early insight.

6. Run a competition

If you don’t want to run a straight up choice, you could run a knock-out competition between several choices.

For example you could start with 8 choices of headline act, and then invite their fans to vote for which should appear at your gig or festival.

The winner of each poll would then be entered into the next poll against another winner, until there is a showdown between the finalists!

7. Create discussion points

You could easily poll people on an issue or topic that will be discussed at your upcoming event, and use it as a talking point on the day or by including it in a promotional blog post.

For example if you were running an event for #eventprofs, you might ask ‘will services like Periscope and Meerkat be good or bad for the live event industry?’ and then use the results to launch a discussion with your attendees.

8. Get instant feedback 

You could also utilise the polling featuring at the event, to take the audience’s pulse on how they’re feeling about different sessions or topics.

For example you could ask if they agree with a particular question that’s been put to a panel; or even if they’re too hot / cold in the room!

9. Understand your audience

Polls are always a great way to get a feeling for your audience, so why not use Twitter to do this as well?

At the start of a session you could ask if people primarily use iPhones versus Androids; or if they’re Millennials/Boomers; or earn more / less than a particular income – whatever is relevant for the particular session and audience.

10. Just have some fun

Finally, you could always just utilise the new polling feature to have some fun with your followers. Maybe it will be completely unrelated to your event, but you could ask if Daniel Craig is the best bond ever; whether they prefer tea or coffee; or love/hate Marmite…the choice really is limited only to your imagination.

Conclusion

While somewhat limited due to the 2-option nature of the polls, Twitter’s latest big feature update could be really useful for event organisers as a tool to engage, understand and have fun with their audience.

Will you be using it? And if so, how?

  • Was this article worth your time?
  • Yes   No