Ron Bonjean
Ron Bonjean

Twitter recently announced it would ban political advertising, a move which has caused a great deal confusion among companies, trade associations and advocacy groups. How will this impact organizations that are using social media as part of their advocacy work?

While Twitter will be announcing the details of its decision on November 15, the answer really boils down to whether or not organizations have a comprehensive public affairs strategy. With Twitter making this unexpected and shocking move, it can surely hurt groups that are too heavily focused on this advertising platform; putting all your eggs in one basket can create this type of risk. You would never invest your entire fortune in a single stock in the market; it’s similarly important to diversify when it comes to your public affairs strategy.

What does a diversified portfolio look like in a public affairs strategy?

A range of targets. To achieve your campaign’s goals, it’s important to identify the stakeholders that matter most and focus on where you can engage with them. Policymakers, opinion leaders, constituencies and even media targets need to hear and understand the message, so mapping the platforms and mediums where they can be reached is key.

Employ strategic advertising. Especially when budgets are a concern, determining the most important advertising platforms can make or break a campaign. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, national and local news and radio all have their advantages and should be leveraged for the right reason and right price.

Leverage earned media. Generating news stories generates snackable content: links that can be shared on all platforms, including Twitter.

Create compelling content. In a saturated media environment—both digital and traditional—it’s more important than ever for your organization to be willing to take a stand and take informed, calculated risks that will lead to organic followers, retweets, shares and engagement, even if some of it’s negative.

Continue to grow your followers. Continually investing in sourcing new followers, through digital research, in-person engagements, paid campaigns, or otherwise, should be a goal. The content people opt-in to will continue to be prioritized by Twitter and others.

Know how to amplify. In an environment where political advertising is limited, you should form organic partnerships with organizations and individuals that can boost your content, particularly with those who will introduce you to a new set of users that may be interested in your story.

You don’t have to rely solely on Twitter to achieve your communications goals, nor should you. There are a multitude of platforms and tools, digital and otherwise, that should be part of the strategic calculus to help you reach your targets, amplify your message and engage with your stakeholders.


Ron Bonjean is a partner of the bipartisan public affairs firm ROKK Solutions. He has served as the lead spokesman for both the House and the Senate, as well as the communications strategist for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.