Archive for month: November, 2015

5 Features That Would Make Twitter Polls Truly Useful

30 Nov
November 30, 2015

Twitter polls were a welcome addition to the platform when they became widely available a couple of months ago in a very basic form. I’ve dabbled a few times with some questions with really mixed reaction, so while early days, I see a lot of room for improvement in the product.

While they’ve added the ability to have up to four options, there are still five features they need to add for it to be a truly useful as a survey tool on the platform.

Shorter Timeframes

Currently the only time option for running Twitter polls using the native function is 24 hours (noting some people have custom card implementations that work differently), which is too long. If your target audience has a small number of infrequent tweeters they follow then you may hold people’s interest and increase votes, but consider how many other people your followers are connected with, and understand how much other content is competing for air time with your poll.

It also allows you to be more reactive to live events and maintain relevance.

Ability To Retweet

Asuming we are stuck with the 24 hour timeframe, the ability to tweet the same poll again would be useful. Given the tweet with your poll slips further and further down feeds during that day long period, the visibility decreases.

By being able to push it into your feed again (either manually or automatically) would ensure visibility and increase responses.

Targeting

The broad nature of Twitter means that your audience will be made up of many different. Good polling is generally targeted in nature, taking a pulse amongst a group of people with similar interests.

The ability to set a target audience, outside of Twitter ads for promotion of the poll, would help increase interaction and respondents.

Analytics

Currently the only numbers supporting your poll are the votes, and if you dip into analytics, the number of people who saw the poll. From this you can measure a response rate, but that’s it.

Ideally you want to be able to dig deeper in to understand the people who responded – where are they, who are they, are they your target audience, and what can you then draw from that data as far as insights go?

Image and Video Support

The stats on the performance of visuals and video on Twitter show that there is a clear increase in engagement with tweets that contain them over those that don’t. By adding images to polls, they become a quick reference for the options presented.

Video would also present an interesting angle, allowing people to consume a piece of content and then feedback on it through a poll.

All five of these things tie together quite nicely as ways of increasing and measuring end-to-end engagement, and if they were implemented polls would become a truly engaging piece of the platform.

What about you? Any other features you’d like to see from polls?

Automated Twitter DM, and Why It Needs To Stop

23 Nov
November 23, 2015

I make a point each day of trying to find more interesting people to follow on Twitter (more on how I curate an interesting feed here), however lately this practice has been marred by an increasing number of automated direct messages.

Although nothing new and almost universally derided amongst Twitter users, it seems recently that the dial has been turned up to 11.

My reaction is simple – instantly unfollow.

We all know the social media metaphor of the bar, and that you wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger and try to sell something. Yet this is exactly what the auto DM is.

So what is it that annoys most people?

We’ve Not Yet Established Trust or Value

A follow on Twitter is not an instant indication of trust. It’s an indication that I have found your last few things reasonably interesting and think I want to see more. Twitter is one of the lowest touch networks when it comes to connecting with people you know and trust, and in most cases the strength of a connection, especially at this embryonic stage, is tenuous.

By sending me an automated message straight away – inviting me to connect on LinkedIn / Facebook, try your product that’s in beta, visit your website or download your eBook – assumes that the value you offer has been firmly established and that all connections are created equal.

It demonstrates the value you place on the connections you make. Even by automating even something as simple as gratitude for a new follower instantly shows that you don’t care enough to take the time.

These networks have always been about establishing trust, an automation of your 1:1 interactions flies in the face of this.

Don't Be This Person

Can Automated Direct Messages Work At All?

I’ve been part of Twitter for nearly 7 years, and can count on the one hand useful direct messages I have received. The most useful I ever received was a pay-it-forward kind of message, telling me three more interesting people I should follow.

If you’re serious about leveraging a network of connections like Twitter, avoid automation of direct messaging. It presumes that everyone follows you for the same reason, and that you need to interact with every single one of them. You don’t.

Let me be clear here – direct messaging is still of value. When you take the time, personalise it, and mean it. Spend the time, understand the value you provide, and use that to deepen your connections.

This provision of value is the new currency. and done right can pay greater dividends than trying to sell them something.