LinkedIn Surveys: Connecting with Small Business

linkedin surveys
Tapping on small business trends via LinkedIn surveys
LinkedIn has surpassed just being a place for aspirant unemployed dudes to linger waiting for their next big break. It’s a way for business professionals to hang out and interact with like-minded others and find the folks who exhibit expertise in their niches on an everyday basis.

Peoples’ viewpoints make for great material. If you read my eBook LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Maximum Exposure, you know that in the chapter on Applications I discuss polls on LinkedIn but didn’t have a lot of detail to go with it. Here is a bit more on LinkedIn polls and how to make use of them.

Poll Results: Quantity vs. Quality

In order to more fully analyze market demand for a product I was creating on Executive Video Interviews for business leaders, I posted the following poll on LinkedIn.

linkedin survey results
Results from Karl Walinskas' LinkedIn Survey

So what did I find out? Well, obviously I learnt more people like using web video for product demonstrations, something not completely unusual granting the simplicity of recording something in action and uploading it on YouTube.

But did I genuinely figure that out?

With only 16 responses, I’m no statistician but I’d say this is missing analytical importance. I had hoped for a lot more to respond to the poll. After all, I put a link to it on about twenty LinkedIn user groups. There really should have been hundreds of replies right?

Learning My Lessons

Here are a few things I learned about using this poll to engage the small business community:

  • There is a lot of noise online at LinkedIn. Readers won’t see or even care about your survey unless you MARKET THE HECK OUT OF IT. That means posting in the Groups, tweeting several times, and using Facebook and other social media to the max leverage you can.
  • This is a hunch, but I believe that my Executive Video Interview results don’t tell me that much about receptivity to the product. Why? Because people haven’t seen it yet! 2 of the 3 of those that responded to this survey on that item were clients of mine who had them done. Since there is nobody else I know who does this like I do, that insider info twists the polls outcomes. Which way I am still debating. Since I took this poll offline, market understanding is advising me that my sample portfolio of client interviews is garnering up a lot more interest than a survey with an item not widely known. LESSON: All obliged choice responses should be commonly known. For item acceptance (like this one), survey based upon product outcomes, not the name of the item.
  • In some cases the most interesting data are the comments written by individuals who take the poll, explaining what they have done for their company (in this case). Don’t overlook that gold.
  • Advertising the survey in specific groups only slightly related provides no outcomes. Because I use web video to aid businesses, I got more LinkedIn Group outcomes from a group on Web Video with only a couple hundred, dedicated experts. The issue here was that some of these folks, being enthusiasts in web video, may have been informing me what they focused on, not what small business desired.

Connecting with LinkedIn Polls

LinkedIn creates a great survey and it’s easy to put together and put on their site, but it has 2 issues…

  1. LinkedIn only keeps each survey around for a month or so. You have to be able to promote it and promote it fast because you have a deadline to gather your results. Fact is, in most polling circumstances; they’ve done all they can in just a few days, so LinkedIn has it right.
  2. You can’t publish the survey on your LinkedIn page; you can just put it in your status update and post to Groups. If you’re optimizing your profile you know you are writing updates every couple of days at the minimum. Saving you would like to become an irritating spammer on LinkedIn Groups, you won’t publicize your survey there more than once or twice in a month. This implies that on LinkedIn itself, your poll has very little staying power other than in a general Polls site, and typically speaking, people aren’t cruising that looking for something to do.

Not a big deal. Here are a couple of ways to influence surveys in LinkedIn:

  • Embed on your Site
  • Tweet out to your favored hash-tag trends and fans
  • Facebook write-up for your followers

What about sorts of questions for polls? Well, if the poll is something you are just hoping to get replies to, appeal to low common denominators like pop culture or government. Everybody has a judgment on them. If, on the other hand, you are wanting to find specific niche information about your business or market, as I was in this case, do everything you can to pinpoint the audience to the niche so that they follow it enough to want to learn the outcomes themselves, or just accept a small response rate indicative of your target reader size.

One way to do this targeting is to post your survey in a blog post or article and submit to search engines. Through SEO your piece will be checked out by those who discovered it who wanted to find it, and prospects are greater they vote on the poll. In the coming days I’ll be doing this with one more LinkedIn poll on marketing techniques for business. Get statistically considerable outcomes, particularly if they are unexpected, and you have created a sound bite that you can now leverage with, you guessed it, another blog post, a press release to news outlets, or put as an item of interest on your homepage.

About the Author:
Karl WalinskasKarl Walinskas is the CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms builds competitive advantage in an online world of sameness. He is author of numerous articles and the Smart Blog on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in the SmartShop. Get your FREE LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook & Video Course, Video Marketing video and course, or Mastermind Groups e-course & video now.