02.22.20174 min read

Facebook Live Polls, Your Personal Fortune Teller

You own a donut shop and, after many sleepless nights, you’ve just perfected a pomegranate-flavored confection that you’re sure is going to kill it… But lo and behold, you discover after baking up dozens of your new special that the superfruit trend is over, and your precious pastries will go to waste.

We've all had epic fails in our businesses—ideas we were sure that customers would love, but they just didn't click. But those days could be gone thanks to the predictive power of Facebook Live. Before testing out a new product in the open, you can solicit public opinion with a Facebook Live poll to see which products or ideas are winners and which ones aren’t worth pushing.

Most Facebook Live polls have a still image superimposed with a question and up to eight options for answers. The responses can be in the form of reaction emoticons such as "like” and “love, or they can be a unique response you code in. Because the poll is live, the votes are tallied as they post, with some polls designed to float emoticons across the poll’s image as users click on them. The result is a wave of instant, visual reactions to your question. Plus, users can comment in real time, which also gives you instant feedback.

What kind of question works best for a live poll?

You could:

  • Roll out a new product and engage with viewers about it in the comment feed, like Weight Watchers and even Facebook Live have done
  • Give respondents three options for a new menu item that viewers can “like” or “love” or dislike (i.e. “angry”)
  • One or the other? An indie apparel shop could stream a Live video with models wearing two different designs and allow viewers to vote on which one to stock in the shop.
  • Should we or shouldn’t we? Thinking of making a big change to your brand? Poll people to see whether they think it’s a good idea.

How to create a poll

DIY polling can be tricky since you’ll need to write code. Luckily, there are a number of outlets that will create the poll for you like Video React or upLIVE, both of which charge a fee, and, for free, LiveReactionsPoll.com or this open source option.

During your live feed, make sure someone on staff is on comments duty. This person should monitor the comments feed, nix any off-color comments, and respond to useful comments to cultivate the conversation. The vibe of Facebook Live is informal, so you’ll want to keep your tone casual and mention commenters by name when possible. Finally, Facebook has some rules about Live polling that you’ll have to follow so you don’t get banned from the site, so pay attention to those.

What to do with the data?

Now, back to our donut shop. Let’s say you did a live stream that shows you talking about, prepping, and revealing the finished batches of 10 different types of donuts. Over the course of the video, you’ll be able to tell the story behind each recipe, and check out comments and feedback—i.e., “this recipe needs way more bacon.” Enable your viewers to use reactions to specify their favorite concoction out of the group.

By the end of the video, you’ll have genuine feedback that can give you great insights on which ideas to focus on, what to change, and how much excitement is built up around each idea. You can use your findings for additional content, such as writing and photographing a recipe for the winning product on your blog—or even spin off a live event (with free samples of the favorite flavor). 

Facebook Live polls, done right, give you immediate insights into how your audience will respond to new ideas—giving you the power to know what’s going to be a hit from Day One. (P.S.: Maple-bacon ALWAYS wins.)

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