As you may know by now, I am a massive marketing nerd, with a particular passion for Instagram. I believe it is one of, if not THE, best platforms at the moment to create engagement with a target audience (obviously this does depend on the situation).

So, it may not surprise¬†you that every time the platform releases a new update that is going to change the way we market, my excitement usually gets up to levels that are just a little bit weird in all honesty. You can imagine the smile on my face this morning when I opened the app to find a new ‘poll’ feature available in Instagram stories…I have been playing with this since and have formulated a few ways that this new feature can be used to boost your engagement on the platform.

Give & receive

Competitions are very popular on social media as a way to engage with audiences, grow followers and increase brand loyalty for your existing audience. But how often do you see competitions where the business running it is trying to get every last ounce of ‘value’ they can.

For example:

To win this doughnut simply:

  • Like this photo
  • Follow us
  • Follow these other three accounts we are associated with
  • Tag us in your latest photo
  • Use our hashtag
  • Buy our products
  • Give me a lift to the airport
  • Sign over your mortgage to me


Ok, that was overkill…but you get the idea, all too often competitions on social media are directions, not conversations.

Although still quite slight in its application, the new poll feature allows you to open an easy dialogue between your audience and your brand. For example, not exactly a give away…but similar in its application… I set up a story for a men’s bracelet brand, with a story a little like this:

  • What is your favourite bracelet?
  • Onyx?
  • or Tiger Eye?
  • Vote for your favourite…
  • The winner gets 20% off for the next 24 hours.

A little while later…

  • Tiger Eye is smashing it…where is #teamonyx at?
  • Annnnnnnd the winner is….Tiger Eye
  • Discount code it INSTA20 – use the code on link in our bio

One awesome little feature on the new poll is that you can actually see who has voted for each option. This will also allow you to go to each that voted for the winner and highlight the offer they have unlocked.

Market research

Probably the most obvious benefit of the new poll feature is the ability to tap into your audience’s opinions on anything new you are working on. Got a handful of new products you need some opinions on? Run a poll. Got two packaging prototypes you just can’t decide on? Run a poll.

The other major benefit to doing this is that you get a pre-made audience who have already bought into the decisions you are making as a company. If your audience picked your new product and you can get the price point right, it is likely they are going to be pretty up for buying it. With the feature that shows you who voted for what you can go even more personal and inform them exactly when that product is available or even give them exclusive early access.

Have a little fun

Although I am sure Instagram made considerations for the business applications when creating this new feature…it is most likely they were mainly thinking about having a little fun. Entertain your audience by using the poll buttons simply for engagement… where relevant, ask questions like peoples opinions¬†who had the best fancy dress at the Christmas party or who has the messiest desk space.

Although this type of engagement can seem trivial, it lets you create a culture where communication and interaction with your audience becomes very normal…making it infinitely easier for you to convert that audience into customers.


There are clearly some great applications for this new feature. Have you seen this being used well or have an idea of how it could be leveraged to a businesses benefit? Ping me an email on or add me on LinkedIn.

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