Nerissa — she writes.


Using survey results to start a conversation.

In my past life as an associate at a PR agency, I was on the account team for a major credit card company that did a survey of Canadian small business owners every quarter. After the survey was complete and results compiled, I was responsible for pitching local and national media outlets to let them know about the results. The CEO was involved in the whole survey process, so it was natural to have him speak to media.

After my third or fourth round on the project, I asked more senior co-worker on the team if there was another way we could use the results. My mistake may have been speaking off the cuff, because when my coworker asked: “what do you mean?” I didn’t have an answer.

Well now, I have one… or a few.

With so much time and money invested in creating a survey, getting respondents, compiling results and everything else, there has to be a way to get more ‘bang for the buck’.

Here are a some ideas on how survey results can start conversations and be used to share information with an online audience.

First, tracking and getting involved in relevant conversations or groups online before the survey starts and while it’s underway can be a great way to prepare for when the release goes out. The last thing you want to do is start talking to your audience only to push a product or your company.

Then once the survey’s out, start a conversation:

  1. Ask followers and fans what they think. Is there a topic covered in the survey that could be of interest to your audience? Or a certain segment of your audience? Take the opportunity to ask for general opinions and get feedback.
  2. Go beyond spitting out a stiff, scientific list of results and tell some stories. How did you and your team come up with the idea? Did anything interesting come out of the survey that didn’t make it into the release? These juicy bits are great to share in a blog post or podcast.
  3. While Twitter and Facebook might be great to ask a question + get an answer, consider using forums if you want more of a conversation. Especially if you want to reach out to a network that might not be familiar with your company or products.
  4. Are pictures or music important to your survey? Consider making a song list or posting images to Pinterest. For example, a Songza list connected to a survey that finds people work out best to music that’s over 180 beats per minute. Or linking a list of recipes on Yummly using the foods in this survey that ranks 41 superfoods according to health benefits.
  5. This one is a stretch from #4, but it could be interesting. There’s a big app world out there. Maybe there’s an app that’s easily connected to some aspect of your results. Say you’re reading a blog post about this study that found many food trucks beat out restaurants when it came to food safety. Wouldn’t it be great to find out in the same post there’s a Street Food App?!

For more reading, check out this post on why ‘most social media marketing strategies are garbage’.

And it’s a little… sell-y, but here‘s a blog post by SurveyMonkey on surveys as conversations.

Happy surveying!