Twitter is making rapid changes now that they have a permanent CEO in Jack Dorsey, who will be the CEO of two publicly traded companies – Twitter & Square – after Thanksgiving this year. One of those changes was rolled out system wide yesterday, and the other is being rolled out a little more slowly. I’ll incorporate both of those changes here.

First, Twitter changed “Favorite” to “Like”, just like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have been doing for years. Gary Veynerchuck opined on his own blog yesterday that this change, while it seems insignificant, is a really big deal. They also changed the star to a heart, like Instagram. As for me, I’ve often wondered why they used “Favorite”, and how other people view and use that tool. I would favorite tweets as an acknowledgement to the sender and as a method of saving stuff I wanted to read later. Facebook has just implemented the “Save” feature, so you can save a post for later.

Second, Twitter has been rolling out their new polling feature. I’ve heard about this for several months, since one of the Twitter execs did a little test over the summer. Yesterday, when I started typing a tweet to chat about “Like” vs. “Favorite”, I saw the familiar buttons – media and location – but noticed a new button: poll.

twitterpic

Way cool! So instead of just asking what people thought, I created a simple poll. See below.

So far, not a whole lot of response, but did you see what I did there? I embedded the poll into my WordPress blog. Imagine the uses for this new Twitter functionality. Here are a few initial thoughts on how anyone can use Twitter polls to engage their audience.

  • No more WordPress polling plugins – there are hundreds and many are really simple, but almost all of them just became a lot less useful.
  • Ask your audience about a new product feature – great simple way to poll your audience and ask very specifically about a certain feature that you’re rolling out, considering, or have just launched.
  • Test new product or business ideas – think about it: a paid ad that is a twitter poll, targeting your optimal audience. Great way to measure initial demand.
  • Engagement test – liking, sharing, replying, and retweeting are good engagements, but when you can get a direct response from your audience, I think that’s a much more valuable piece of information, depending on the question you ask.

twitterpicTwo things to note about Twitter polls: First, they do not appear in Tweetdeck. Instead you get a link to “Twitter Web Client” where the poll does show up. Second, as of this writing, I don’t know of any way to find out who participated in your poll. That would be very strong data to have.

I’m sure many people who are much smarter than I am can think of dozens of ways to utilize Twitter Polls, but just the fact that it’s so dirt simple to create a poll and embed it into any web page is a huge step forward for Twitter. I think the hardest part of Twitter’s near future is going to be innovating on their product while not becoming more and more like Facebook.

 

 

What do you think about that?