If you’ve been monitoring any trends on Twitter for the last several days, Meek Mill and Drake’s names have likely been on the list too.
A Twitter fight.
More than 236 million active users on Twitter follow along with these trends, and a lot of them saw those tweets. Although brands are less likely to get in feuds online, there are lessons to be learned when they do. The brands I’m focused on today happen to be people: Drake and Meek Mill, two hip-hop artists.
The beef started innocently enough–Meek wanted to expose someone for not being authentic–using “the cheat code,” if you will.
Can’t rock wit these n#%^ s they using the cheat code! – rich homie –
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 21, 2015
Then he called out Drake for not writing his own raps.
Stop comparing drake to me too…. He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out! 😁
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 22, 2015
Drake has been silent about the allegations, save for the two diss tracks he released this week. What can we, as PR practitioners, learn from this Twitter ordeal?
Don’t let a feud go on for days without saying anything
Five days went by before Drake said anything (or, rather, released anything). Instead of tweeting back at Meek, Drake released “Charged Up” as a diss track.
This is an interesting PR move–bringing the attention from Meek to Drake. In this situation, Drake’s track becomes the main attraction.
In Drake’s case, as a less active Twitter user, “Charged Up” makes sense. He’s not a big tweeter, so by releasing a track instead of confronting Meek on Twitter, he is upholding his brand and his values. After all, he’s expressed his distaste for Twitter in his song “Jungle” because it takes away from genuine, face-to-face interactions. In “Back to Back,” Drake sings that he’s not the type to type back to people, meaning that he’s not going to reply to Meek’s tweets.
For PR practitioners, a more rapid response would generally be required. But maybe Drake’s tactic is one we should all try–coming out with a song allows you to respond in more time.
Connect with your fans (and your target’s fans)
Drake’s second diss track, “Back to Back,” is much more intense than “Charged Up.” Drake’s patience seems to be lacking, rapping that he’s “waited four days” with no response from Meek. However, my focus is on “Back to Back”‘s cover, featuring a picture from an October 23, 1993 Toronto Blue Jays (Drake’s hometown) vs. Philadelphia Phillies game (Meek’s hometown). In the game, the Blue Jays earned their second consecutive World Series title. Coincidentally, the Blue Jays and Phillies both play today in Toronto.
With this move, Drake is taking his traditional route and representing his city. Essentially, this puts the entire city of Toronto (or at least those following along with the beef) on his side. Drake appreciates his roots and mentions them often in his songs so as not to forget where he came from. He is drawing a line between Toronto and Philadelphia, Drake fans and Meek fans.
In PR, we don’t usually want to do that. Alienating fans of your brand is never a good idea, because it leads to losing customers or users. Differentiating yourself is okay, but making people mad by doing so isn’t. Drake and Meek Mill have dropped tracks together in the past, so their alienation of each other is unusual.
Don’t tweet things you’ll later regret
It’s a well-known rule not to tweet things when you’re feeling emotional. We’ve all broken those rules and sent out an angry tweet, but Meek Mill’s tweets took it to another level.
Meek’s response to Drake’s diss tracks?
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 29, 2015
As Drake says in “Back to Back,” “trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers.” Meek’s anger got the best of him and he took to Twitter to express it. Drake also admits that he’s not sure what started the beef, but he’s going along with it.
For brands, it’s simpler: if another brand is talking down about you, don’t feed the fire. It’s often better to ignore mean messages–something that is true both online and in real life. If you’re able to joke about a questionable tweet and deescalate a potential feud, do so. Or, if it’s appropriate for your audience, play around with other brands like Old Spice and Taco Bell did.
Does Meek regret tweeting about Drake? We’ll never know. Drake, though, took this Twitter fight to his advantage and was able to show off his skills and build hype for his upcoming album.
If you were representing Meek Mill or Drake as an agency, what would you have done? Do you think Drake did the right thing by releasing new music instead of fighting on Twitter?