While social media is one of the powerful PR tools in the digital world, it’s also one of the most difficult avenues for modern brands to understand. Being successful on channels like Twitter today isn’t just about delivering exceptional customer service and useful content. People want to see that their favorite brands have personalities that they can resonate with.

To drive more organic social media exchanges, some brands have taken note of celebrities engaging in social media feuds. It turns out that a little banter on social media can actually go a long way in the right circumstances.

The Rise of the Social Media Feud

Social media feuds started on Twitter with celebrities – who use the platform as a way to connect with fans and develop their personal brands. A few years ago, in 2016, Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj ended up getting into a spat on Twitter that not only attracted the attention of their fans, but also other celebrities too. The back and forth between the two stars about the MTV music awards generated a huge amount of buzz, among other artists, and consumers alike.

Nicki and Taylor aren’t the only people to get into it on social media either. Amanda Bynes caused a similar reaction in 2016 when she called Rihanna a dog and even made a few racially insensitive comments. Obviously, the argument between Rihanna and Amanda wasn’t great for Bynes’ reputation, but it did drive more attention to the two artists – and that’s where we begin to see the value in the Twitter feud.

How Brands are Embracing Twitter Feuds

The concept of using Twitter feuds for PR comes from the idea that “no publicity is bad publicity.” Companies are beginning to see that a little bit of playful banter can be a great way to get people talking about their organizations. Importantly, the feuds that companies get into deliberately online for PR purposes aren’t as aggressive as the celebrity arguments we’ve seen through the years, but they take advantage of the same demand for more raw, humorous interactions online.

For instance, every since Wendy’s started roasting other brands on Twitter, it’s become one of the best-loved profiles in the world. Wendy’s sassy comments about McDonald’s, Burger King, and other major fast-food brands have given it more attention from the social media public than any other social strategy online today. In fact, Wendy’s used their social media with attitude approach to make an extra $64 million in profit over a single year.

It’s clear that today’s customers want their brands to have real, authentic attitudes. That means that the standard posts and marketing messages won’t cut it anymore. Companies need to be willing to fight for the values that they stand for, and that means getting involved with the occasional twitter feud. Whether it’s Taco Bell and Old Spice quibbling over ingredients, or KFC and Cap’n Crunch trading burns, twitter feuds aren’t as damaging as they may seem.

In fact, the right argument could be the best way to build the potential of your brand.

Ronn Torossian, CEO 5WPR

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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