LinkedIn polls can be a great way of gaining some quick and dirty insights into your current market: they are a quick and easy way to get some kind of market intelligence. But they are also a terrible way to gain market insights, and here’s why:
1. Linkedin polls are not representative of the market.
When you run a poll on LinkedIn, you’re not running it across the whole market; you’re running it across your LinkedIn contacts. If you have a small network, then your poll will only be representative of the small subset of people who know you.
2. Linkedin polls are not statistically valid.
A statistically valid poll needs to have a representative sample of the population. In a LinkedIn poll, you’re sampling your own network, who are not representative of the wider population. You have no idea how they would have voted if they were members of your wider network. And you have no idea how they would have voted if they were members of a different network.
3. Linkedin polls are not representative by geography, age, occuation, or any other demographic.
LinkedIn poll respondents are not selected at random. They’re selected because they are your contacts or they follow your company page, maybe. But they are not selected because they are a representative sample of the wider market.
4. LinkedIn polls are not anonymous.
The results from a LinkedIn poll are linked to the people who took part in the poll. People will be more likely to be honest with their opinion if they’re not worried about being judged for it. Anonymous polls are more likely to get honest answers.
5. LinkedIn polls can be gamed.
LinkedIn polls can be gamed by people who want to give you the answer they think you want to hear. They can be gamed by people who want to skew the results in their favour. And they can be gamed by people with an axe to grind. There is no way to prevent this.
6. LinkedIn polls are not controlled.
The results from a LinkedIn poll are uncontrolled. There is no way of filtering the results, of ensuring that they are sensible or useful. The results from a professional market research study are controlled. You can filter the results, and you can ensure that they are useful and sensible.
7. Linkedin polls are not insightful.
The results from a professional market research study will tell you what people think, and why they think that way. The results from a LinkedIn poll will tell you only what people say. You don’t know whether they’re telling you the truth, and you don’t know what they would say if they were asked a different question.
8. Linkedin polls are not predictive.
The results from a professional market research study are predictive. The results from a LinkedIn poll will give you a snapshot of feelings at one moment in time. You don’t know whether the results will be the same next week. And you don’t know whether they will be the same if you run the poll again next week.
In conclusion, Linkedin polls are a terrible way of gaining market insights. They are not representative of the market, and can not provide you with meaningful insights on which you can base sound business decisions.