The following is a guest contributed post by Kamiu Lee, VP of Strategy & Business Development at Activate by Bloglovin’
Since Instagram debuted their new polls feature in October, there’s been quite a positive reaction from brands, influencers and regular users alike. Not only are people using polls more than some of Instagram’s other new features, but they also boast a remarkable engagement rate as opposed to typical content posts. In fact, we have found that anywhere from 10-17 percent of users will respond to Instagram polls that they come across in an Instagram Story, compared to the average five percent who engage with regular static posts on the platform.
Brands and marketers would be wise to leverage influencers to use polls given the positive reception of this feature. In fact, we recently polled our 87K+ follower base of influencers and found that 66% of influencers had already tried IG polls. And out of those who hadn’t, a whopping 87% intended to do so in the future—this means that influencers, oftentimes at the forefront of testing content and platform features, are on board and their audiences are on board as well.
Let’s review some of the reasons why brand and influencers should be incorporating polls into their upcoming partnerships:
Increasing Audience Engagement
Since there is a clear call-to-action, Instagram users are more likely to engage with Instagram polls than regular posts, making polling is a great way for brands to really get their audience involved. In sponsoring an influencer’s poll, brands have the ability to also engage a different and highly engaged audience.
In tandem with the benefits of authentic engagement and valuable consumer feedback, sponsored polls provide a different value from standard “likes” and “comments.” Brands are constantly seeking different ways to track engagement with influencer posts, and polls offer a totally transparent way to do so.
Apparel brands, for example, could promote a new clothing line by working with influencers to create different “ways to wear,” and poll followers about which looks were their favorite. Not only does this approach provide vital exposure for the brand’s products, but offers a reason for audiences to engage and gather inspiration. A travel brand – whether an airline, hotel chain, cruise line or metasearch company – could leverage influencers to source most-desired travel destinations or open dialogue around ‘must-have’ amenities when traveling.
Gathering Consumer Feedback in a New Way
Influencers call upon their followers all the time for their opinion, asking them for feedback around what they enjoyed about a post or what kind of products or services they prefer. In talking with dozens of influencers in our network, we uncovered that most influencers are currently using polls as a content planning tool. Sam Ushiro of Aww Sam, for example, uses polls to vet potential posts by asking followers what types of content they’d like to see more of.
In the same vein, brands have always proactively searched for conversations around their products or services across social media to get a sense of consumer sentiment. Instagram polls offer brands a specific platform to obtain this kind of valuable customer feedback, allowing them to ask specific questions that may open the door to positive, consumer-driven product enhancements or creation.
Brands can work with influencers to help gauge this consumer interest via polls – especially around new product launches or iterations of existing products. For example, beauty brands could engage influencers to gather feedback around a product like an eyeshadow palette, to uncover target audience preferences around details like colors or finishes. Taking it one step further, when brands incorporate this feedback loop into their product design process, it can help boost brand loyalty amongst influencers and consumers alike.
Cultivating a Conversation via Influencers
Because the best influencers strive to create a more personal relationship with their following, an influencer’s opinion – and decision to work with a brand – holds much more weight than a brand pushing the message across their own channels. The first-person perspective – and approval – provided by influencers can be invaluable.
When there is a strong natural affinity between the brand and influencer, we find that the influencers’ following will be more inclined to engage, act and provide honest feedback through a third party they trust.
Despite polls still being a relatively new feature, given the strong uptake by influencers and users alike, brands and marketers should certainly consider incorporating it into their influencer and social media strategy. Brands can lean on the influencer themselves for authentic ideation of content, and whether to incorporate features like polls as they know their audiences best.