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.

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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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.