Maximizing LinkedIn Polls’ Potential

Karl Walinskas By Karl Walinskas
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LinkedIn has gone beyond merely being a place for hopeful unemployed guys to hang around awaiting their next big break. It’s a way for business experts to hang out and interact with like-minded people and find the folks who show knowledge in their markets on a day-to-day basis.

Peoples’ viewpoints make for good content. If you read my eBook, LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Maximum Exposure, you know that in the chapter on Applications I touch on polls on LinkedIn but didn’t have a lot of detail to accompany it. Here is a bit more on LinkedIn polls and how to use them.

My First Poll Experience

So as to more thoroughly analyze market demand for a product I was creating on Executive Video Interviews for business leaders, I put up the following poll on LinkedIn.

How to Use LinkedIn Polls

So what did I uncover? Well, definitely I found out more people like utilizing web video for product demonstrations, something not entirely unusual given the simplicity of recording something in action and throwing it on YouTube.

But did I truly figure that out?

With only 16 replies, I’m no statistician but I’d say this lacks analytical significance. I had hoped for hundreds to respond to the poll. I mean, I placed a link to it on about twenty LinkedIn user groups. There should have been hundreds of responses right?

Survey Tips

Here are a few things I found out regarding making use of this poll to interact with the small business community:

  1. There is a lot of racket at LinkedIn. People won’t notice or even care about your survey unless you MARKET THE EVERLIVING HELL OUT OF IT. That means putting in the Groups, tweeting several times, and making use of Facebook and other social media to the max leverage you can.
  2. This is an inkling, but I believe that my Executive Video Interview replies don’t tell me that much about receptivity to the product. Why? Because people haven’t seen it yet! Two of the three responders to this survey about that item were clients of mine who had them done. Since there is no one else I know who does this like I do, that insider info distorts the survey’s results, which is why I am still questioning. Since I took this poll offline, industry experience is telling me that my sample portfolio of client interviews is ginning up a lot more interest than a survey with a product not universally known. LESSON: All forced choice results need to be commonly known. For product receptivity (like this one), poll based upon product results, not the name of the item.
  3. In some cases the most interesting facts are the comments left by people who take the poll, telling what they have done for their company (in this case). Don’t overlook that treasure.
  4. Advertising the poll in specific groups only marginally related generates no outcomes. Because I use web video to aid businesses, I got more LinkedIn Group outcomes from a group on Web Video with only a few hundred, dedicated specialists. The issue here was that some of these people, being connoisseurs in web video, may have been reciting to me what they specialized in, not what small business desired.

Linking Up with LinkedIn Surveys

LinkedIn creates a terrific survey and it’s easy to set up and put on their site, but it has 2 issues:

  1. LinkedIn only keeps each survey around for a month or so. You have to be able to promote it and promote it quickly because you don’t have forever to accumulate your information. This is true of most surveying circumstances; they’ve done all they can in just a few days, so LinkedIn has it right.
  2. You can’t post the poll on your LinkedIn page; you can only put it in your status update and publish to Groups. If you’re enhancing your profile you know you are posting updates every few days at the least. Unless you would like to become an annoying spammer on LinkedIn Groups, you won’t advertise your survey there beyond once or twice every few weeks. This suggests that on LinkedIn itself, your poll has little staying power besides in a general Polls page, and typically speaking, people aren’t reading that searching for something to do.

Don’t worry. Here are a few ways to influence polls in LinkedIn:

  • Embed on your Blog
  • Tweet out to your favored hash-tag trends and fans
  • Facebook post it for your fans

If the poll is something you are just looking to get replies to, appeal to low common denominators like popular culture or government. Everybody has a judgment on them. If, on the other hand, you are hoping to find specific niche advice about your company or market, as I was in this instance, do anything you can to pinpoint the audience to the niche so that they are interested in it enough to want to learn the outcomes themselves, or just deal with a low response rate indicative of your target reader size.

One way to do this targeting is to post your poll in a blog post or article and send to search engines. Through SEO your article will be checked out by those who found it who wanted to find it and prospects are greater they vote on the poll. In the next few days I’ll be doing this with another LinkedIn poll on marketing techniques for business. Get statistically substantial outcomes, especially if they are unanticipated, and you have produced a sound bite that you can now leverage with another blog post, an announcement to news outlets, or placed as an item of interest on your blog.

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About Karl Walinskas
Karl Walinskas is the CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms builds competitive advantage in an online world of sameness. He is author of numerous articles and the Smart Blog on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in theSmartShop. Get your FREE LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook & Video Course, Video Marketing video and course, or Mastermind Groups e-course & video now.

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