How Twitter’s New Polling Feature Can Help Associations Boost Their Marketing Efforts

Twitter has recently undergone a minor facelift, refreshing its look a bit, adding some new tools and rejigging old ones (turning the ‘favourite’ button into a ‘like’ button) in the platform’s ongoing attempt to appeal to social media users.

One of the more interesting parts of this refresh is Twitter’s addition of a polling feature. Facebook users have long had access to a survey-like tool that allows them to measure whether friends want to play board games or drinking games at their next party and Twitter seems to have finally caught on to the usefulness of this type of feature.

Not only is the new Twitter Poll tool fun to use and experiment with, it could also be quite useful to associations. If you’re interested in boosting your organization’s social media strategy and strengthening its efforts in other areas, check out the three ways Twitter Polling can help:

It Can Give You More Data

Content might be king on the front lines of marketing, but data reigns supreme when it comes to building a sustainable, successful strategy for associations. Twitter polls can act as a tool to collect stats and numbers that your organization can use to improve its various initiatives, events and services and attract members.

There are a variety of ways in which associations can get more data from Twitter polls. After all, you just have to ask a question, sit back and see how your audience responds and then act on the information provides. For example, you can ask your followers what part of their job keeps them up at night and provide some options. The answers will help you get a better sense of what problems your members are facing, which will help your association work towards providing solutions (and “solutions” is another word for value). You can build your conference education, webinars and benefits program out of the responses from this question.

Just remember, sample size counts. You can ask the question several times in different ways to make sure you get a total response representative of your membership. Encourage comments and discussion around the results as well to get a broader outlook on the issues your members care about most.

It Can Boost Member Engagement

Member Engagement is the holy grail of association marketing. It’s nice to have lots of people join the organization, but if they aren’t involved, engaged and making the most of their membership, its hard to prove the association’s value, which threatens retention rates. Twitter polls are just one more small way to increase member engagement and bring awareness to the association’s value.

First thing’s first, the very act of asking a question encourages members to get involved by answering. It is an easy way for people to engage with the association without having to fill out a long survey, volunteer on a committee or attend an event. It is the epitome of micro-volunteering. The next step in this process is to act on the responses from the poll. If you ask in a poll what subjects should be the basis of a conference education program and then take the suggestions from your Twitter audience, members will feel like they have made a difference and have a voice in the direction of the association. When people see results from their engagement, they are more likely to keep on participating and finding value in their investment.

Your association can also increase member engagement by simply highlighting some of the services it offers with a Twitter poll. Ask your audience which service they find most helpful. Some members might not even know these services exist. Knowing a service exists will make it infinitely more likely that members use the service and engage with the association.

It Can Provide More Content

Data and member engagement are useful tools for your association and will help it benefit in the long-term, but sometimes you just need to help your members have fun in the here and now. Twitter polls can provide your organization with some great content to use across its multiple communication channels to make flat, clunky-looking content more visually appealing.

Twitter poll questions don’t need to be completely serious all the time. Ask your audience a fun question about their job or the industry. Take their responses and create a visual display of the data for the organization’s e-newsletter, magazine or website. Post the results on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform and ask for comments or stories. You may even get an idea for an article or author (or both) from the responses that you can add to your communication channels.

In the end, you have to be able to mix the promotional efforts, attempts at gaining member insight and a fun element to use Twitter polls effectively. The more content you can produce without utilizing a great deal of resources, the more cost-effective your association can be at engaging its community and providing value that will go a long way to retaining members.

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