Whether you’re with her, he’s with you, or you’re just not interested, there is no denying that 2016 is a heated election year here in the US. It seems as though every time we turn on the television, scroll through Facebook feeds, peruse Twitter, or flip through a magazine we see commentary and outrage pointed toward the presidential candidates. Many business owners and employees alike try to keep political opinions to themselves, not wanting to stir the pot, or upset customers with viewpoints contrary to theirs. However, with all the media buzz surrounding the election, it isn’t crazy to want a slice of the hot-topic pie. Mixing politics and business can be tricky. However, it is possible to leverage the presidential election to excite your clients without revealing who you want in the Oval Office this November… Come on, who wouldn’t vote for that!?
Did I win you over? Great! Here are four simple ways you can use the presidential election to benefit your local business.
1) Give your tip jar some personality
We’ve all seen the tip jar.
While the regular tip cup is acceptably bland, it can’t hurt to shake things up for election season by giving your jar a bit of a twist.
Intrigued? Here’s how to do it.
Create a small sign to put near the register beneath the jars, asking consumers to vote (using their tips). Get two jars and give each one a different label. You can stick with the election theme and have each candidate’s’ name on the jars or you can have even more fun with it and ask customers to choose between two non-political characters. Stumped? Here are some ideas:
Best Superhero: Batman or Superman
Best TV Show: Stranger Things or Game of Thrones
Best Ice Cream: Rum Raisin or Chocolate (you have permission to judge anyone who picks Rum Raisin)
Something as simple as this is a great way to play up the voting aspect, without asking your customers to give any sort of hint as to their political affiliation.
Tell your customers that the results will be posted the next morning, along with a new poll. You can announce the winner in a few different ways depending on where your marketing efforts are lacking.
If you are trying to get more customers to interact with your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page consider announcing the winner on one of those channels.
If you need more repeat business, let them know you will be displaying the winner in-store the following day (or at the end of the week, depending on how long you want to keep the votes going).
If you want to drum up excitement both in store and online, run one poll in store and another on your social channels.
This way, customers will not only applaud your creativity and be compelled to vote, but they will also be more inclined to return the next day, or at the very least, check out your social feed to see if they cast a winning vote.
Does your business have a no-tip policy? Consider using this as an opportunity to support a local charity, using the tip cups as donation jars, sending the proceeds to a new charity each week. Customers will be excited to participate in the poll, happy that their spare change went to such a good cause.
Gamifying something as simple as a tip jar is a great way for your business to show some personality, play up a current event, and encourage your customers to interact with your business both in person and online.
2) Tickle Their Funny Bone
Even the most passionate political aficionado can find humor in the current race to the White House. When the candidates latest gaffes and goofs take the media by storm ride the craze by turning the mishap into a caption contest. Post a funny picture of the candidate and post it to your social media channels, asking followers to write their best caption for the photo. Pick the funniest comment (or top 3 depending on comment volume) and send these winners a prize such as a gift card, some swag, or, if their sentiment is particularly hilarious, a full sized sample of your product or a gift basket full of goodies. These type of prizes will help encourage followers to participate and will allow you to get samples of your products to prospects in a creative and engaging way.
Tip: As you can imagine, these comments can get out of hand, so if you have a fairly sensitive audience it’s OK to add a disclaimer asking your audience to keep it appropriate and/or avoid profanity.
Caption contests not your cup of tea? You could have a Q/A contest, posting a question about the candidates, politics, or the U.S. government with multiple choice answers and instructing followers to comment with their answer. Then, you could select winners randomly if there are multiple followers who get the question right. Want to make this even harder? Instead of giving multiple choice answers, do a fill in the blank contest where followers have to decide the correct answer in the sentence.
Jay Jay Ghatt is also editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the JayJayGhatt.com and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!