In today’s challenging economy, the businesses that survive are those that adapt. And the businesses that thrive are those that adapt according to the needs of their customers.

To become a thriving business, and learn to adapt according to your customers’ needs, you must first research those needs. What your customers need from your business may not be all that obvious, but learning those needs does not require an outside team of market researchers and an extensive budget. In fact, the solution is as simple as creating a Facebook app (formerly known as a tab) to poll your target audience.

Creating Your Poll

Various available software services make the process of creating and managing your Facebook polls simple and effective. Offered features can include pre-designed templates, custom templates, image widgets, pop-up poll forms, poll analytics, custom tab icons, and more. Some of the services even have a completely free plan option!

ShortStack, an awesome service for creating and tracking Facebook polls, offers a free, basic subscription, as well as paid membership levels for users interested in additional, brilliant poll features. Here’s an example of a Facebook poll created by Supra using ShortStack.

Getting Respondents for Your Poll

If you don’t have a large Facebook community because you’re a new business or new to Facebook, you may not see a lot of people voting in your poll initially.

If you would like to see more people responding to your poll you can promote the voting app via a Facebook ad.

Facebook Ads allow you to promote your poll and engage your fans and their friends to answer it. By promoting your poll with Facebook Ads, it is guaranteed to be seen by more Facebook users, and completed by more users, too. And by targeting your poll to the proper audience, the answers you receive are coming from the most important Facebook users – your company’s existing and potential customers.

By using Facebook Ads’ targeting options, you can ensure that your poll will be advertised to, and answered by, your target audience. The targeting options offered by Facebook Ads range from location, age and birthday, to interests, education, marital status and more. And, you can find and set an affordable, suitable budget for your ad campaign, without paying any actual service or management fees to Facebook.

Using a Facebook Ads Manager like AdEspresso you can also get rich insights into the performance of your ads (both for polls and any other kind of Facebook ad):

A sample of data that can be viewed through the AdEspresso dashboard for Facebook ad campaigns.

Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind when creating a Facebook poll app/tab.

Additional Tips

  1. Give your poll a deadline and a sense of urgency (“Vote by the end of the month,” “Poll open until Friday,” etc.)

  2. Offer incentive for participants (“The first 20 respondents will receive a coupon code,” “3 random participants will be awarded a prize,” etc.)

  3. Post status updates to promote the poll and remind fans of its deadline, perhaps with relevant images or pictures of incentive prizes

After the conclusion of the poll, it’s important to follow up with a post that thanks respondents and shares the poll results. If you awarded prizes, you should also share the names of the winners (after you contact them via phone or email). Not only does this show your gratitude for the poll responses, it also increases the likelihood of participation in your future polls.

The insights and customer feedback obtained through a poll on Facebook can be crucial to future business strategy. But, posting a poll on Facebook doesn’t just help you gather key information and improve your business; it shows your customers that you are doing so. For any customer that is loyal to a brand, knowing that the brand is constantly striving to improve is important. And, seeing that their opinion is being considered in the brand’s major decisions is invaluable.

Remember that once your poll concludes and your participants have offered their suggestions, they will expect you to use them. So, after using a Facebook poll to gather data about your target audience, make sure to put that valuable data to use!