How to Use Instagram Story Polls for Fun, Engagement, and Marketing

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How to Use Instagram Story PollsInstagram Stories – little photo or video snippets of your life that disappear in 24 hours are perfect for sharing behind-the-scenes looks into your business or products. Now, Instagram Story Polls make it even easier (and more fun) to get more engagement and increase the reach of your Instagram content.

Instagram Stories were already a powerful tool for increasing engagement, and if you are fortunate enough to have access to Links in Instagram Stories, you have no doubt about that. Our website traffic from Instagram increased exponentially when we got that feature. And the effect hasn’t dwindled as time has gone by and more people have access to it.

So, when Instagram hands us an opportunity to make engagement easier for our fans, we pay attention! And that’s exactly what they did when they introduced Instagram Polls on Stories!

How Instagram Story Polls Work

Instagram Story Polls allow you to ask your audience to choose one of two answers to your question. While the buttons show “YES” and “NO” by default, you can change them to anything you want as long as it’s under 22 characters.

As your fans vote, you’ll be notified with a running tally of the votes. If you click the notification, you’ll be able to see exactly WHO voted and how, too – so remember when you’re voting, that it is NOT anonymous. 🙂

At the end of the 24 hours, your poll disappears like any other story, and so do the results. So, if you want an accurate tally at the end, set an alarm and have a look before it’s gone forever.

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How to Use Instagram Story Polls

  1. Create your Instagram Story. You can use a video (up to 15 seconds) or a photo. Just press and hold on the “You” circle and take your photo or video or choose one from your library (only those added in the last 24 hours are accessible). If you haven’t posted a story in a while, you’ll go right to the camera. Otherwise, just press the “Add to Your Story” button.
    How to create an Instagram Story

2. Add the “Poll” sticker.

Create an Instagram Story Poll3. Customize your question and answer options. Click on the text to change it. Though you only have 22 characters for your answers, you can add text to your story if you need to. Use the guides to help you center the poll if you like. Hit “Done” and then click on the “+Your Story” circle.

Change your Instagram story question and answer choices.

4. Watch for your notifications.

Instagram Story Notifications

5. Open a notification or just click on your story to see the which option is “winning”. Click on the names at the bottom to see who viewed, who voted, and how…

Instagram Story Poll Results

How to Use Instagram Story Polls for Engagement, Marketing, and Fun

Have Fun with Instagram Stories

After a recent Facebook Live Event with my friend Jeff Sieh (video below) during which I pulled out my impressive beard so I, too, could stroke my luxurious facial hair while dispensing social media knowledge 🙂 someone made a joke about who wore it best. AHA! What better opportunity for an Instagram Story Poll? While we didn’t get in to check JUST before the 24 hours were up, last time I looked, I was waaay ahead, so I’m going to call that a win for me. 😉

Instagram Story Poll Idea

We could have added some text to the poll, such as, “Want to see what the beards are all about? Catch the replay of our Facebook Live about Instagram Story Polls at!”

Jeff suggested a “choose your own adventure” poll. Ask fans if they want you to open THIS door or THAT door. You don’t have to wait the full 24 hours for the final vote – give them five minutes and then reward them by showing them what happens when you open the door!

Use Instagram Story Polls to Gather Ideas for Content 

Not sure what to blog about or what to talk about in your live show this week? Let your fans decide! Not only will you get a feel for what really interests them, when you do publish, they’ll feel invested in the content and will naturally be more likely to read or watch and share it.

Torn between two images for a blog post or social update? Ask your fans to choose! Of course, you can always do A/B testing on images, but your fans will appreciate the opportunity to express an opinion!

Social Media Examiner's Instagram Story PollIf you regularly share videos on Instagram to teach your fans a new skill, ask people what they want to learn. This would work great for hand lettering, other art projects, cooking shows, fitness pros, and more.

Here’s a great example of a Story from Social Media Examiner. They first broke the news about a new Facebook feature and followed it up with a poll to see how people feel about the news. What a great way to jump on something that people are talking about already!

On occasion,  you could even share your Story Poll image on Facebook and encourage fans to weigh in on Instagam. Just make sure you update the post when the 24 hours are over so you don’t send someone to a dead link.

Update: A few days after our Facebook Live, cross-posting of Instagram stories started rolling out to Facebook pages! We’ll be anxious to see if we can share our Story polls. 🙂

Use Instagram Story Polls for Marketing and Sales

Thinking about introducing a new flavor of ice cream at your local parlor? Want to let the customers who follow you on Instagram choose which it’s going to be? You could make a test batch of each and encourage people to stop by and try them both and then vote! For those who can’t stop by, you can let them vote anyway. You’ll be able to see who voted which means you’ll what your favorite customers want. And really, who DOESN’T get excited about ice cream (or coffee, or [insert favorite treat here])?

The same idea could work for many other industries, such as fashion, decor, art… Let Instagram Story Polls become part of your market research!

What ideas do you have for Instagram Story Polls? Please share with us in the comments!

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Alisa Meredith is Pinterest Product Specialist at Tailwind — a Pinterest marketing tool,  scheduling tool, planning tool and analytics platform. She is a sought-after speaker and teacher on Pinterest and Promoted Pins in particular, having spoken at Social Media Marketing World, Agents of Change and appearing on The Art of Paid Traffic and Social Pros podcasts. Alisa has invested heavily in becoming an expert in her craft – realizing (and loving) the fact that the learning never ends!  She lives in coastal North Carolina with her pampered pets Pepe the couch potato Cavapoo, and more cats than she’d like to admit to.