What's the Best Way to Get Great Response When Posting Surveys to Social Media Channels?

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One of our attendees from the “6 DIYMarketing Research Trends” webinar had a question about why the surveys he’d launched on Facebook weren’t getting good response rates.

Here’s my answer:

You know I've had THE SAME problem.  I posted a survey about what marketing challenges people were having on facebook and didn’t get a good response.  That got me to thinking about why that was.

I think it has to do with what people are DOING on Facebook.  Think of it this way.  When you're on eBay, you're --- shopping.  eBay is a shopping site - you're not researching, you're not reading or browsing -- you're shopping.

When people are at work - they are working -- so if your survey is professional or industrial in nature - it matches the "mood" they are in -- working.

When people are on Twitter -- they are reading and learning with a little bit of socializing - but mostly clicking on links to learn.

When people are on Facebook - they are totally socializing and having fun.  And if your survey topic or questions "interrupt" this social fun they are having -- they will zap you.  However if your survey follows a sort of viral formula -- then they will love it and pass it on.

In other words - your survey topic or questions need to be light, easy, applicable to empty headed socializing -- and not thinking too hard -- unless your survey is about a product or service category that engenders that same casual nature.  So a survey asking people how creepy they think the Burger King guy is in the advertising will get more traction than how much they love their Goodyear Run-flat tires.

If you want your survey to go viral, it has to have the elements that make urban legends spread.  For more information on that, check out the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.  In this book, they outline the key attributes of a successful viral campaign.  They use the acronym SUCCESS:

  • Simple- Strip it to the core – focus on ONE thing the DIFFERENTIATING FEATURE or IDEA

  • Unexpected – Violate expectations – the Old Spice videos completely throw us for a loop with their absurd authenticity

  • Concrete – Be visceral and visual – remember the make it blend, what about the old Halloween story of razors in apples?

  • Credible – The idea has to stand on its own as being true – Think of Ronald Reagan asking If you were better of today than four years ago – you ask yourself and you know the answer.

  • Emotional – Appeal to the individual as much as possible, people relate to people not numbers.

  • Stories – stories make everything memorable – we learn business and marketing concepts via case studies.  Stories make concepts stick

I’d love to hear the opinions of other research experts out there.  What do you think a survey needs to have to go viral on Facebook?

Leave your recommendations as comments and I’ll summarize them all in an article!