My first Twitter poll was a complete failure.

It was actually Game 4. Sigh.

But that’s not what’s really wrong here.

[bctt tweet=”Twitter polls are a useful tool to take the pulse of your audience.”]

Twitter polls are a great way to find out what’s on people’s minds — and they are super simple to set up.  Ash Read has a good intro over on the Buffer blog. He also lists nine ways you might use them, including:

  • Asking for predictions
  • Reacting to real-time events
  • Requesting product feedback
  • Simple market research

I’m partial to predictions and reactions.

Blink and you’ll miss it.

Polls exist in the Twitter stream.

They’re tweets; you see them flow by, and then they’re gone. Which means the smart money suggests you’ll get the most traction if you insert your Twitter poll into an ongoing conversation.

Think sports, award shows, news events, or Twitter chats.

Polls are only on Twitter.

I can’t see the polls.

Polls reside on Twitter — its Web site and its mobile apps.

[bctt tweet=”If you’re using TweetDeck, a Twitter poll won’t show up in your stream.”] You’ll see my tweet — but not the poll “attachment.”

This is a problem.

Many of the people I talk to on Twitter are considered “power users.” Because we want to see both our complete Twitter stream and sort our stream into lists, mentions, and more, we’re using non-native Twitter apps like TweetDeck and Hootsuite. (Although TweetDeck is now owned by Twitter.) So I set up a Twitter poll on desktop Twitter that I couldn’t see when I looked for it on TweetDeck.

Yikes!

I know Twitter is trying to move beyond its power users. And, frankly, I get that. But many of these same people have big followings and engaged audiences. Wouldn’t you think Twitter would want them in on polls? More pertinently, if my followers can’t see my poll, what value are Twitter polls to me?

Feature photo by Hans Splitter (Flickr).