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Updated 15 Feb 2016

Quick Engagement Trick With Twitter Polls

Everybody on twitter is facing the same problem at the moment. Tweets are multiplying at an exponential rate and it's becoming harder and harder to get engagement from your followers. Part of the problem is the sheer quantity of tweets being sent, and attention being divided with higher interconnectedness.
Fortunately, twitter is rolling out some timeline improvements that will start to address this problem. But it is unlikely to solve the underlying issue, namely that everyone is competing for the same attention.
If you want to get engagement from your followers you are going to have to work hard for it. The old ways are still best - spark discussion, reply, interact, and have 'meaningful' exchanges with your followers. This is the only way you can build relevance in their minds, and it is the only way that you will get your tweets selected by twitter's new timeline algorithm. Yes, let me say that again:
Engagement will influence the exposure of your future tweets. Tweet
Twitter is starting to prioritize tweets that it thinks people want to see first. The primary signals going into this selection process are retweets, replies, and likes. They may also include clicks/expands and recent follows too. Your mission is therefor is to make sure you keep people engaging with your tweets, so that more of your tweets will be prioritized in the timeline selection process going forward.

Bring on the poll booster...

This little gem will massively increase your engagement with polls. Here's how it works:
  • Find a hashtag or username that is topical
  • Create a poll attached to it
  • Spend $1 to $5 promoting it
  • Watch the votes, retweets and likes roll in

Here's a quick example of one I did recently:


It's pretty simple and only takes about 5 mins to put together, but there are some very important gotchas. I'll cover them in the steps below.

Step 1: Find a topic

It goes without saying that the best topic will be one that has loads of people talking about it AND is relevant to your niche. But feel free to experiment with broad news items too, and other topical stuff. Remember, you are just trying to get your followers talking.
For one of my recent ones I selected a topic that was about an infographic I had just made. I picked @katyperry and @taylorswift as my topics because they are highly relevant to the infographic, and I also knew that there was a huge audience out there that would respond to the poll. A quick search showed tweets featuring them with good engagement.



Step 2: Create the poll tweet

This is fairly straight forward - you just create a tweet and choose the poll option. In order for this trick to work though you must add a link. The link will allow us to use a specific type of twitter promotion. For maximum benefit you should make sure the link points to something meaningful.


Notice I even made a typo in the tweet: '100' followers should have read '100 million' followers! (Not that it hurt engagement)

Step 3: Create a twitter promotion

This is where it gets interesting. You are going to use a twitter ad to promote the tweet, but because the tweet is a poll most people will ignore the link and interact with the poll instead. Some will then go on to retweet and like the poll. Twitter will only charge you for link clicks, so it becomes an extremely efficient way to get more exposure for the tweet. If you don't have twitter ads then apply for an account before carrying on here.
Go to twitter ads and create a website clicks campaign:



Give your campaign a name.



Choose the countries you want to target. As your goal is engagement it is usually best to add more rather than less. This will allow your campaign to reach less expensive audiences.



Choose some keywords to target. I've used a little trick here to only target people who are tweeting to these usernames. The '+' makes sure that this campaign will only be shown to people who have actually written a tweet with these usernames in it, but you may want to play with other keywords to increase the audience size. These also tend to be the people that engage the most. Booyah!



Set the max bid to 0.01 and ignore twitter's low bid warning. In my experience you will usually get plenty of exposure at a low bid with very large audience targeting (100k+ estimated audience). If your target audience is smaller then you will need to raise this bid. Play with this and adjust it up every hour until you get the volume you want.
It's important to note that most of your engagement will come from cheaper geographies though. Your bid will not be high enough to reach more expensive geographies such as the US. If you'd like more control over this then you should create a different campaign for each geo group and set your min bid's accordingly. Feel free to pop a question in the comments below if you want to know more about this. Also choose the accelerated option if it is shown.



Finally, select your creative.



The results

I've run quite a few of these boosted polls and the results are awesome. With the right keyword focus and a good topical tweet you can reach a thousand votes for a few dollars. It won't work for all target audiences, but it is a good addition to any other promotion you are doing. Here are some final results:




Gotchas

There are a few things to watch out for, some of which I've mentioned already:
  • You need a twitter ads account
  • Your tweet must include a link
  • You must choose a website clicks campaign
  • Target your campaign specifically to those retweeting or mentioning your topic
  • Set your bid to the minimum at the start - then adjust upwards
  • Make your poll topical

Don't send out polls every day, otherwise people will tune out. Just sprinkle these in every now and then as a fun way to mix things up.

Send me your examples

If you try this out then let me know how it works for you.
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