Lee Odden

Online Surveys & Social Media

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

Social Cycle of InteractionOne of the many ways companies have engaged their customers, gained insight into a marketplace and conducted research for a variety of purposes has been through surveys.  If you think that list of activities almost sounds like the reasons many companies engage in social media monitoring, you’d be right.

It’s a fundamental question that many marketers who use surveys have: How can social media can play an important part of an online marketing strategy?

Companies incorporate social media into their marketing mix for a variety of reasons:

  • Website Traffic
  • Brand Awareness
  • Engagement with Prospects
  • Engagement with Customers
  • Brand Reputation
  • Prospect Lead Quality
  • Revenue
  • Prospect Lead Volume
  • Useful Product Feedback

Social media communities like Twitter with over 100 million accounts and Facebook with over 500 million present an attractive opportunity for research, engagement and marketing.   When incorporating surveys into a social media marketing mix, there’s an opportunity to make that intersection a part of your social cycle of interaction as pictured above.

For example here is how a company leveraging a survey for marketing purposes might incorporate their social networks with online surveys:

Put a listening program in place using social media monitoring software to get a handle on topics of interest to your community.  There could be a variety of reasons to use a survey, from product research to identifying trends or for profiling customers.

Grow your network, grow your survey panel. In the context of online surveys, growing a strong social network across different channels is a bit like developing your own survey panel.  As you grow your networks through participation and interaction, trust is earned.

Crowdsource ideas like survey questions.  Ping your network with different topics of questions to see what people respond to. Leverage that feedback to construct the flow of your online survey and even some of the questions.

Ask for help. Those same, topically relevant communities can be tapped to help promote the survey at large, in situations where respondents don’t need to be a specifically defined list.

Social Media Online SurveysRecognize those in your network that helped come up with question ideas as well as those that help promote taking the survey. That public recognition is priceless, especially when it’s a genuine reflection of their contribution to a successful survey.

Promote. Being invested through participation and recognition, there’s a great chance many of those same network connections will help promote the survey results. Offer a first look at the survey report, an incentive for promotion and communicate the outcome of everyone’s efforts. Give feedback on what’s working and if you can, offer tools to make it easier to promote.

Have you successfully incorporated social media into some aspect of your online surveys? Did you find some uses more effective than others?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Thanks Lee…Good Post

    All good points – I especially appreciated your comments on Listening Programs. As with many areas of Business Marketing, the art of “Listening” is often forgotten. Social Media is no different. In order to implement any effective marketing strategy, we need to be in touch with the needs of our targeted users. The only way we can get in touch with them is by “Listening” to them.

    Thanks again…

  2. Nice post Lee. Surveys are a great way to engage your social network and conversely social networks are a great way to make your surveys more successful. Your post is filled with useful, actionable information, as always. Thanks for keeping the information flowing.

  3. We did a survey for the Relocation Industry – just a quick poll of moving/relocation companies to see where they stood with Social Media. (results: http://relocationally.com/2010/07/28/social-med…) We got a great response of 126 (during our busy summer season) and found that people are wanting to use it, and what they thought of it. Was incredibly helpful to focus our efforts. We're not up on LinkedIn with a “Relocation & Social Media” group that's going really well so far.

    • That's a great example Jenn (we prefer real names, even for community managers) I think a lot of companies don't consider first hand research of their customers to find out what social channels are the best fit.

  4. Good article. There is certainly a lot to be gained from companies participating in social surveying. There is a lot to be learned by surveying those you interact with in social media. There are a lot of good Q and A sites out there targeting different niches that can be used for those purposes at all levels personal, small businesses and large.

    Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey are large sites with vast survey capabilities, and there are other sites with other twists as well.

    1) InterAskit.com is just launched a social Q and A site that allows users to create groups (i.e. personal focus groups) of friends within their existing networks, and poll them for advice and opinions with tabulated results. This could be good for businesses that have good social followings to ping them for input.

    2) Sodahead.com has created a Q and A site, but is more of a news site that pushes the content out in the form of Q and A.

    3) Answerbag.com seems to be creating and “intelligent” Q and A whereby they try to find you similar questions that have already been answered. As a result, they don’t want duplicate questions if one question has already been deemed to have a good answer.

    4) Quora.com is also a new Q and A service launched by former Facebook'ers

    There are some distinct differences between a lot of the Q and A sites / applications out there, each with its pros and cons. It is just a matter of which one fits for someone’s particular question at that time.

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  6. Listening is such a simple, yet overlooked tool to find out exactly what our customers are looking for. Thanks for the great reminder! I haven't incorporated a survey into my marketing strategy yet, but after reading this, I certainly will!

  7. Nice post . I am agree with you that we should create a big network in social media websites and we should always take different subject so people can give us response so we can make in good relation , and we can also increase our business through the social media websites .

  8. Its very necessary for any company either big or small to run an online survey occasionally, just to check what the targeted audience is reviewing about! And Social Media is just the icing on the cake for this purpose! Its really an easy task, yet has not received that importance which it deserves!

    Thanks Lee for sharing this useful info! 🙂

  9. Great post, thanks for sharing http://www.surveyshack.com/ is another useful tool.

  10. Hi Lee,

    A company that just brought out a new capability to do facebook based surveys is QuestBack.  Product is called QuestBack Social Insight (www.questback.com).  Product is designed to combine feedback management capabilities with Social Media platforms like FB.

    Just thought that since mentioning other tools in the space that you’d want to know about this one too.

  11. Good survey of social media optimization tactics with included example !  !