PollingRecently, working with John Miller and Terry Connolly, I have been exploring the role of Google Forms in relation to communication within the Google+ platform itself.

For those of you that don’t know, you can easily create a Google Form by choosing that option from the ‘create’ button in Google Drive.

The game changer

Instead of simply linking to the form in a Google+ post as an external link – which is more psychological effort to overcome – you can embed Google Forms in a Google+ post directly, as you would with an image.

This enables people to remain in-platform while filling out your forms, without requiring them to enter a username and password or email address to submit their selections. Google Forms embedded break down barriers and increase the rate at which your Forms are used.

Applications for Google Forms

Google Forms Google Plus embedThe applications are limitless, but here are a few I have been playing with:

  • Polling people within a community to get their views on the future direction for content
  • Having community members ‘vote’ on a particular option for a community e.g. a motion of whether inactive members should be removed from a private community?
  • Polling on the best day to run an event – this could be for a party, a business meeting, a global hangout day etc
  • Engaging people from your profile or page in a social game and seeing if they want to engage people in their networks as well (through sharing)
  • A quick bit of feedback on what people think of you, used cautiously of course!
  • Gauging interest in paid products anonymously e.g. by asking “Who could be interested in joining a paid community?” – rather than requiring response in comments
  • And so many more…

The ability to access an audience with whom you want to engage and who are eager to participate seems at our fingertips. As such, I believe people will start using forms even more and in highly creative ways. Myself, John and Terry, for example, are working on how we can take the principles and the technology even further, underpinned by democratic principles.

Forms have been there for a while so this may not be new for some, but since communities have differentiated audiences into more distinct verticals, one can now access a more select interest group.

The business applications for this are enormous as well. If a company can a) get people’s attention, b) engage (always key) and c) create an impetus to a next step, then they will be able to move people through an engagement process and deepen the relationship. See my article on ‘Circlecentric Marketing’ to understand how it relates.


If you are a company you may well want to start thinking about Chief Engagement+ Officer as understanding how to move from a follower to a engaged participant will be so key in the future.

If you are an individual or a member of a community, you can do the same as an owner of a community – you can be polling that community as well. This is brilliant for democracy, of course, but will need to be contained within the cultural expectations of that community (i.e. do you have the right to do so) and also will people engage with you as the originator of the post/form.

All in all, we can be using forms wisely as feedback mechanisms as well as modes of engagement, enabling us to communicate in new ways with even more people.