Data archives are replete with stories that proclaim history is built from feuds. The Mau Mau fought for land and freedom, the two major ethnic tribes in Kenya got caught up in Ethnic violence over Elections results in 2007. Rivalries also form part of the “hero’s journey” archetype that is generally portrayed in all genres of entertainment. The entire “Harry Potter” series is based on the Harry vs. Voldemort showdowns. The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings “has countless standoffs, which are at play in nearly every frame of the 2 part trilogy. Feuds clearly offer unlimited possibilities but is it a useful Social media Marketing tactic?
Most rivalries take place in public and shared through TV, Radio, and Magazines and lately over social media giving people a chance to make some coin from them. Magazines have been using their covers to perpetuate feuds for decades.
They can cover all angles, from love triangles and sibling rivalries to reality TV and political drama. Political relationships and rivalries have become such a moneymaker that some feuds morph into TV shows like “XYZ SHOW” which enjoy a cult following online, perfect for social media marketing.
Because of this fascination that so clearly plays out in public, celebrities have even started to use fake feuds on platforms such as twitter to their advantage. Some Kenyan Rap Beefs and feuds have turned up to be fake, merely a marketing strategy to stir the pot leading up to a big album release.
Brands also have feuds, both real and manufactured by marketing teams. Battles of the brands are nothing new — as far back as when Pepsi outwardly marketed a larger bottle of soda for the same price as a Coca-Cola. The marketing background is abound with tales of titan’s pitted against each other. Today, brands are taking to social media showdowns and feuds for chances to one-up the other in their social media marketing campaigns.
Most recently, feuds have become a go-to marketing strategy in Kenya .Some brands are even employing ingenious tactics to leverage social media feuds to improve their social media marketing. They create a spectacle using humor and wit hoping to engage an ever growing number of social media users in Kenya. Rather than indulge in a war of words with their customers or post about their CEOs itinerary, these brands are going head to head using in what might be termed as humorous brand-wars. Nobody can forget the feud between chase bank and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) which even started a poll that saw online readers vote for their online brands.
How Feuds Work in Social media marketing
The pace at which we digest content moves the conversation along too quickly for deep reflection on feudal barbs. This is why Sites like Buzzfeed are able to aggregate content in a format that humanizes brands by showing a dialogue, which lets us appreciate how hard these marketing teams work. In a nutshell, it gives brands that “woke and friendly” personality that is personable and easily relatable to most of the online community.
Engaging with audiences on social media through some banter also lets your business get brand attention and followers on platforms like twitter and Instagram. The attention in turn translates to improved brand awareness in the long run.
Tips to Consider before Starting Social media feuds
- Your brand needs to have a bold and independent identity. Strongly differentiate yourself to prove your benefits that your competitor lacks. It takes a strong personality to poke a competitor on social media. If you’re willing to start a feud, you better be willing to deal with other brands trying to start one with you! Remember, it’s just friendly banter, never get personal.
- Your brand should have a clear and precise voice. Many people prefer a personable voice — one which will humanize your social media interactions and give your comebacks more punch.
- Your social media marketing team must have the ability to pivot on the platform quickly and swiftly. If you have to take time to get post approval, it may hinder your ability to quickly clap back to challenges made by the other brand. Banter is key.
- Target a niche Market. Identify a clique that your competitors are not targeting and tailor your social media marketing to the clique using their language to speak to them.
- Conduct some due diligence before jumping into a conversation. It’s unwise to respond to one comment without looking to see if it was part of a bigger thread. The brand might come off as too aggressive.
Rivalries engage us and push us to choose one side over another. If you feel comfortable that you have the company structure and resources necessary for a feud, then go right ahead. Taking the risk has large rewards and the potential for explosive online media attention, good for social media marketing, while the worst that can happen is a hit to your brand’s identity.