In 2018, one of the most viral debates started on the internet about an audio illusion known as the “Yanny or Laurel”. In a short audio clip, people could hear either the word “Yanny” or “Laurel”. The debate quickly caught on and spread like wildfire, with people taking sides on social media. Content creators amassed millions of views discussing the debate and some crafty creators repurposed the debate into poll forms on social media.

Although “Yanny or Laurel” is not applicable to most businesses, the use of polls to attract and capture attention is. BuzzFeed has long been a master of viral content and their use of polls is a big reason why. Many businesses use Buzzfeed Polls to create polls relevant to their content. In this post, we’ll cover five of the most common mistakes they make and how you can avoid them when creating polls. 

Lack of shareability

The first and most devastating mistake you can make when creating Buzzfeed Polls is to make them unshareable. A big reason why BuzzFeed polls are so successful is because they’re easily shareable and you can set them up pretty easily. You can leverage Buzzfeed’s site and platform to  capture more  leads and grow your audience. However, if your polls are unshareable, you’re not going to get the same level of engagement or attention. You can configure the settings in your poll after you’ve completed it to ensure it’s sharable. 

A good indicator that your poll is sharable will be the small social media icons on the bottom of your poll. This makes  it easy for people to share your poll on their own social media channels and help you get more exposure. If you don’t see these icons, check the settings to ensure they’re enabled. Also make sure that you share your created poll across your media channels. Some platforms will allow you to integrate your Buzzfeed Poll naturally. If you can’t, you can always add a link directly to the poll. 

Shareability is probably the main reason you’re creating polls on Buzzfeed instead of manually creating them for your business. Buzzfeed already has a large audience and your poll can get immediate eyeballs on it from using Buzzfeed. Oftentimes, businesses will forget to check their poll shareability until days after it’s live. Make sure to send it to your colleagues or friends to ensure it’s shareable and this will maximize the reach of your poll. 

Too many choices

In addition to shareability, another common mistake is giving too many options on your poll. When you ask a simple question, you should only allow a few common responses. Allowing your audience to have 10 different answers defeats the purpose of the poll. You will likely end up with answers that you can’t draw any logical conclusion from. 

To maximize the effectiveness of your poll, it’s best to keep your choices under 4 choices. The best polls typically have 2-3 choices and they take the audience little to no time to pick.  Additionally, some creative marketers also add a sense of urgency onto their polls. They will use language like “If you could only pick one” or “If you had to save one” to entice the readers to stop scrolling and click on an answer.

You can use this strategy to help you reduce the number of choices for your polls. For example if you’re doing something related to marketing, you can do a poll like this:

  • If you only had $1,000 and you had to invest in one of these three marketing channels, which one would you choose?
    1. Email marketing
    2. SEO
    3. Paid advertising

This poll is simple and will generate far more engagement and reach in comparison to a poll that is open-ended or one that has too many options. A good rule of thumb you can use is to make a poll simple enough that your mom can do it. This will help you remove all the extra fluff from your poll and make it more effective. Make sure to narrow down your choices to 4 or less options and add some urgency to your question to maximize your poll’s reach. 

Lack of a CTA

The most costly mistake you can make after putting in effort to create a great poll is not adding a call to action. If your poll performs well, you can get hundreds if not thousands of people to partake in your poll. Once their answer is submitted, they can see the results and that’s usually where the journey ends for most polls. With Buzzfeed Polls, you’re able to add a CTA at the end of your poll and this will help you capture some of the contact information of your poll participants.

This doesn’t take a lot of work, you can add the CTA directly in your poll dashboard. With your CTA, you should have a few sentences that’s related to both the poll that the audience just took and how you can help them with your business. This will help you capture and nurture leads and ultimately make them customers of your business. 

Here’s an example a CTA from a company called Outgrow:

After I took their quick poll, there was an immediate call to action to learn more about building similar polls and I can access free information by entering my email. This is a very powerful way for businesses to expand their email list and get more opt-ins. By doing this, you can continue to offer free value to your audience and ultimately upsell them on your products and services. 

Failing to use images or videos

If you want to get the most amount of responses to your poll, it’s best to include some element of video or images into your poll. Something interactive like an image or video will capture the attention of your audience before your headline does. Since most people are scrolling on the internet, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. A well thought out image or video that is relevant to your poll is a great hook you can use to get people to answer your poll.

Here’s a great example of how you can use an image to capture attention for your poll:

In this picture above, you’ll see a recent poll created debating which country people would like to visit between Sweden and Finland. The creator of the poll used the best possible images to capture the attention of the audience. In Sweden, you can see a lakeside estate that looks peaceful and you can see the Northern Lights in Finland. 

When you actually click on the poll, it’s a very simple layout asking which choice would you prefer. 

Making small changes like adding an image or video will have a drastic impact on how many people will take your poll. Make sure to take some time to get the best images that are relevant to the choices on your poll. 

Focusing on bottom of funnel questions

The purpose of polls is to get a quick idea of how an audience feels about a general topic.  Focusing on questions that are too specific or get into the nitty-gritty details is a surefire way to kill any engagement you might get on your polls. Also remember that this audience research can be used later in your SEO or marketing. With that in mind, avoid asking questions that are too specific or require a lot of thought to answer. These types of questions are typically saved for surveys which are a different tool altogether. 

For example, if your poll is directed at a business audience, avoid asking questions about specific products or services. Instead, focus on more general topics such as company culture, the work-life balance, general marketing questions, etc. This will allow more people to chime in because it also applies to them. Here are some examples of top of funnel questions you can use in your Buzzfeed Poll: 

  1. What’s the best work model for productivity? Available answers: In-office, hybrid or remote
  2. How do you feel about work-life balance? Available answers: I’m struggling, it’s manageable or I have a great work-life balance
  3. Do you use a CRM? Available answers: Yes or No

As you can see from the questions above, these are very simple questions that take seconds to answer. Since there are not many choices to choose from, it’s very easy for someone to quickly read the question and give their answer. This ultimately helps you get the most traction for your poll and you can move on to lead generation and nurture afterwards. 

Over to you

These are just a few of the most common mistakes made when using BuzzFeed Polls. Buzzfeed is a great platform to leverage to get your poll the most engagement possible. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to create polls that are shareable, engaging and informative. To learn how you can make a quiz using Buzzfeed, check out this guide on BuzzFeed’s quiz maker

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