16 min read
I'll be honest. I'm not a big Instagram user.
(I think my 51 followers would agree.)
But even for me, it's hard to swipe past an Instagram Story poll without responding.
There's just something about those little interactive Stickers on Instagram stories that piques our curiosity:
Is a hotdog a sandwich?
What's better: cupcakes or donuts?
Black and blue or white and gold?
But Instagram polls are more than just a fun way to grab attention and entertain your followers. For online creators and business owners, they're a valuable tool for everything from brand education and marketing to researching your market and creating launch buzz.
I asked designer and Instagram coach Hollie Arnett of Black and White Studios why polls are so popular.
“I love using Instagram polls on my Stories because it transforms them from a one-way broadcast from me to my audience, into a two-way dialogue between us where I can get their input, increase their interest in my work, and start conversations in the DMs.”
The numbers don't lie—Instagram Stories and polls have never been more popular—over 500 million Instagram users are now using Stories every day. Over 60% of businesses on Instagram Stories use interactive Stickers like hashtags, @mentions, or polls every month.
Whether you sell courses or cupcakes, there's never been a better time to grow your audience and business online with Instagram Story polls. Let's first look at the three types of polls you can add to your Instagram Stories, then we'll check out some engaging and entertaining Instagram poll examples to inspire your own marketing.
Instagram offers three different poll stickers you can add to any of your Instagram Stories:
Let's take a closer look at each in turn.
First added to Instagram back in 2017, the Instagram Story poll makes your Instagram Stories more interactive by prompting viewers to answer a simple two-answer question.
The default answers for a new poll sticker are Yes or No, but it's easy to customize the question and choices. It's a great way to both entertain and learn from your Instagram audience.
A few examples of Instagram Story poll questions you could ask:
Once your followers add their vote to your Story, you can see who voted and which answer they voted for in the Instagram app (I'll explain how to do this a little further down).
About a year after adding the original poll sticker, Instagram introduced the Emoji Slider sticker.
Instead of only offering two possible answers, the Emoji Slider sticker lets your audience leave a rating on your Story—for example, how 🔥 your upcoming digital product launch is, or how 😭 they are that they missed your latest webinar. Moving the emoji on the slider and releasing sets each viewers' response and your audience will also see the current average response from other viewers.
Adding an Emoji Slider to your Instagram Stories is easy. Simply choose the Emoji Slider sticker (next to the regular Poll sticker) and add it to your story. You can also select which Emoji is shown on the slider, adding an extra element of fun.
The third and final type of interactive poll you can add to your Instagram Stories is a Question sticker. Now it might be debatable whether this is technically a “poll,” but no matter the definition, it's a great way to interact with your audience and learn more about what they're thinking and looking for.
As with the other poll types, adding a question sticker is easy. When you drag the question sticker into your Story, you can modify the question you're asking viewers. Once our audience members tap on the sticker, they can type their responses, which you can see in the Instagram app.
Pro tip: Instagram Story poll answers aren't anonymous, so keep that in mind when coming up with the questions you want to ask!
Instagram Story polls might look simple on the surface, but they're super versatile. They're a fantastic tool for creators and online business owners like yourself to learn about your audience, spread the word about your brand, share your products and services, and to keep your followers entertained.
A few creative ways you can use Instagram Story polls for your online business:
Instagram Stories—and polls in particular—are great for keeping your brand top of mind and helping your audience learn more about your business. Adding an element of interactivity to your feed helps your posts stand out—and with over 500 million accounts now using Instagram Stories every day, it's worth taking every advantage you can get.
You can prompt your followers to share their opinions on topics related to your business, like personal finance blogger Ramit Sethi does with his Instagram Story poll on housing costs:
You can share your excitement about upcoming events, like how business strategy blogger Melyssa Griffin uses an Instagram poll to promote her forthcoming Create with Confidence challenge:
You could simply add an Emoji Slider to give your stories a quick engagement boost, like this quick weekend update double-header from creative business coach Morgan Rapp:
Whether you're sharing personal stories or business updates, Instagram polls are a fun way to keep your business and brand at the top of your audience's minds.
For those selling online courses and other digital products, Instagram polls are a fantastic way to build excitement and anticipation with your audience. Prompting users to respond using a poll helps them feel like a part of the excitement, boosting their chances of attending your event or buying your products during the launch window.
Say you're a cooking coach, like Lien from Vegan Meal Prep Sunday. You might tease your audience before sharing new recipes, asking if viewers want to see the recipe. Once the poll is complete after 24 hours, you can share the poll results in a new Story to build even more anticipation.
You can also try sharing a teaser of an upcoming event or product launch in your Story, and ask viewers if they're planning to attend, like this Instagram poll example from interior designer Kristen Forgione:
As an added bonus, you can also see who responds to your poll and message them in the Instagram app before the event with a reminder and a link to join the event. Neat!
Instagram polls are more than just a nice way to entertain your followers. They're also a useful tool for getting to know your audience, their business, and their needs.
Polls let you find out:
Let's say you're launching a new product or service, and you want to gather feedback from your audience to validate your idea and improve your offer. Business consultant Tara McMullin uses an Instagram poll to ask about her audience's experience with podcasting. She then takes things one step further, using an Emoji Slider to ask viewers if they're thinking about launching a podcast soon:
Check out this great example from marketing coach Tom Ross. Tom uses his Story to explain his idea before asking an open-ended question about what his audience thinks:
Here's one more top example from husband-and-wife wedding photography duo, the Youngrens. As part of their photography coaching service, they used an Instagram poll to ask their audience if they struggle with setting their pricing.
The questions might seem simple, but the value for your online business is huge. Gaining a closer understanding of your audience helps you tweak your Instagram strategy, your blog content, and your products and services to best match their needs.
Instagram polls are a handy way of collecting ideas and inspiration directly from your audience. You can use the Question poll sticker to collect feedback and inspiration straight from your audience—ideas you can use to fuel your social media content, blog posts, and new products.
Say you run a blog and Instagram account sharing mental health quotes and information, like Instagram user mentalillnessquotesinfo. You can use the Question sticker to ask open-ended questions about how your audience is taking care of their mental health, and collect their answers in a blog post:
If you're a business coach like Rochelle Sanch, you could ask your Instagram followers what parts of their business they love (or hate!) the most, and use their answers to come up with ideas for new blog posts:
You might also consider being more direct with your questions, like how business coach Liz White asks her Instagram followers what they're hoping to get out of their business over the next six months:
No matter how you ask your questions, it's essential you let your audience know you hear them. Highlighting the best responses in future Stories is a great way to close the loop with your followers and show them how their feedback is making a difference!
Instagram polls are also a handy tool for driving traffic back to your website or landing page.
The psychology behind why this works is fascinating. By adding a smaller task (responding to a poll) right before a more significant task (joining your list or leaving Instagram to read a blog post), you greatly increase your followers' chances of completing the second task.
The phenomenon is known as the Zeigarnik effect, and you can take advantage of the effect using Instagram polls to grow your list and make more sales.
There are two different tricks you can use. First, you can prompt users to answer a question in one story, then let users swipe up to access the related content in your next story, like food blogger Tessa Arias of Handle The Heat does in this example:
Another trick you can try is to prompt users to answer a poll question, then share the link with respondents through a direct message on Instagram, like this example from Instagram user financesnacks. They use the Story to share a hint of a new lead magnet they're working on, before asking users if they want to see more. Once the Google Sheets version is ready, they can then send the link directly to people who responded to the poll.
Instagram polls don't always have to mean business. They're also a fun way to engage with your audience, even if you're not trying to learn anything specific.
Try asking your audience fun questions like their opinions on sprinkles (and share the results later on for bonus points):
… or whether their hair is behaving:
… or even use a poll to gather some free gardening advice:
Questions like these are fun for your audience to answer, and tend to stick with your audience for longer than more business-focused questions.
Alright, enough inspiration—how do you actually make a poll on Instagram?
Start by creating your Story—tap on the “Your Story” icon at the top of your Instagram feed, and use your phone's camera to capture a new photo or video to share with your story (or upload a photo or video from your phone).
Next, tap on the Sticker icon at the top (the one with the smiley face on it), or swipe up to add a sticker. Scroll through the list of stickers until you see the sticker marked “Poll,” then tap it to add it to your story. You can also add an Emoji Slider or a Question by tapping on those stickers instead.
Fill in the question for your poll, and change the default answers if you like. You can replace the default question text with emojis, to grab viewers' attention.
Next, you can resize and reposition the sticker, placing it where you want on your story.
Finally, share your Story by tapping “Your Story” or “Send To” at the bottom of the screen.
After your Instagram followers begin voting on your poll, you can see the results in the Instagram app.
Open up your Story that contains the poll, then tap on “Seen by X” in the lower left-hand corner. This'll open up a screen showing how many people viewed your poll, who voted, and whether they voted Yes or No.
You can (and you should!) respond to each person that votes on your poll. Simply click the little paper plane icon next to their name, and it'll open a prompt where you can send a message to that person. For example, if you shared a poll asking if people want to see a replay from a live workshop, once people vote, you can easily send them the link to the replay.
You can also hit the Share Results button to, y'know, share the results of a poll. Tapping the button lets you add the results of the poll as a sticker in a new Story. It's an easy way to share the love with your audience.
Don't forget: your story will only be visible for 24 hours once you post it, so make sure to come back to it the next day and see how your poll did!
Sure—online quizzes about your favorite sandwiches and snacks still have their place.
But for growing your online business, it's hard to ignore Instagram Story polls. They're a great way to engage with your audience, share your brand and business, and learn more about your followers. And the more you know your audience, the more you can help them—and the more products and services you'll sell.
And the dress? It's black and blue.