What to do when Trump calls your company out on Twitter
© Getty Images

This week, President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics MORE took to Twitter to express his concerns with the cost of Boeing’s next generation Air Force One. Within minutes, shares of Boeing fell sharply, knocking more than $1 billion from the company’s market cap.

While Boeing’s stock price recovered by the end of the day, the incident demonstrated the significant impact that a single tweet from our next President can have on a company’s bottom line.


In the month since his election, Trump’s tweets have had significant impacts on corporate fortunes. Already, the President-elect has used his uniquely unfiltered social media presence to draw attention to appliance manufacturer Carrier and Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank. He used those tweets to claim quick political victories, all nearly two months before he takes office.

There are still many questions about what type of president Trump will be, but his online activities since Election Day suggest he will be a leader whose immediate reactions to news stories involving major corporations and other global forces will be on display for the world to see.

For many companies and organizations who are used to a more measured, predictable approach from world leaders, this presents new challenges.

In the era of Trump, companies whose businesses touch areas of concern to the White House, such as trade, immigration, healthcare, defense and more, will need to be prepared with strategies to react to, counter or even take advantage of becoming the focus of a Twitter attack from the Oval Office.

Over the past year and a half, Trump has harnessed Twitter in a way that no other politician has, by delivering raw and unpolished commentary that belies the focus-tested nature of so many political statements. For companies looking to both challenge and work with his White House, finding their own authentic voice on social media will be essential.

Developing a social media presence that seems more human, more organic and more willing to be bold will not only help companies stand out in the Trump era, it will set them up to be able to use that voice to engage with Trump himself in the medium where he clearly feels most at home.

Whether a company finds themselves needing to respond to a tweet from him directly, or if they’re simply organizing support for the issues that matter to them, having that clear, bold voice on social media will be an indispensable tool.

If an organization does wind up on the wrong end of a Trump tweet, it does not have to spell disaster. A strong, vocal and practiced ecosystem of supporters and allies—from within an industry, from the academic community or from the media—will be key to mitigating any damage from a pointed attack on social media. It could even flip the script, putting the White House on the defensive and playing into the narrative that Trump’s most aggressive tweets are reactionary and unbecoming of the presidency.

Throughout his campaign, Trump was vocal about how much poll numbers mattered to him. We can be certain that public opinion will continue to matter immensely to him. If a company or organization is able to mobilize a disciplined opposition with a resonant message, it could very well come out on top even after attracting negative attention from the White House.

While the subjects of Trump’s tweets may sometimes seem chosen at random, smart organizations should invest in media and influence analysis that helps them better predict the issues and policies that matter most to the president.

We know, for instance, that shortly before Trump tweeted his concerns about flag burning—an issue that he had not spoken about before—a report aired on Fox News about a flag burning on a college campus.

More than possibly any president in the modern era, Trump is deeply influenced by the media he consumes and the voices that surround him in his inner circle. This means that taking a keen eye to where he and his advisors receive their information is more critical than ever.

Taking a sharp, critical view of the ecosystems of influence around the White House will help companies make decisions that keep them safe from unexpected presidential tweets. It may also help them discover new methods for influence and advocacy.

With just over a month left before Trump is sworn in as our nation’s 45th president, it’s important for organizations looking to do business or affect change under his administration to assess just how they will operate in this new era.

When Trump enters the Oval Office, he will more than likely be an unconventional president, just as he was an unconventional candidate. Twitter may continue to be a tool he uses to great effect. This means that any organization that might attract the attention of the White House should consider new ways to operate and engage with the highest office in the land.

Nick Horowitz is an account director in the Washington, D.C. office of Racepoint Global, an intelligence-driven marketing agency.

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.