Takeaways from Beyoncé’s bawdy Red Lobster nod

News organizations and marketers blasted Red Lobster for its tardy response to a high-profile mention from the pop star. One strategist suggests taking the high road instead.

When Beyoncé surprised fans by giving Red Lobster a titillating nod in her new single “Formation,” Twitter wanted the organization to respond.

It took marketers eight hours to issue a response on the group’s Twitter feed; once they did, social media users still weren’t satisfied.

News organizations and marketing groups bashed the seafood chain on social media for not responding fast enough to her mention of a Red Lobster dinner as a reward for great sex.

Social media managers are under immense pressure to offer fast and timely responses to any mention of their brand. Often, this pressure prompts marketers to latch on to other brands’ moments of glory.

As marketers, it’s our job to promote conversations about the value of branding, preparedness and reputation management, but we should be wary of exploitation. Instead of bashing Red Lobster on Twitter, marketers should have commended the organization’s success.

Here are the facts:

  • The mention generated more than 300,000 tweets about Red Lobster.

  • Red Lobster trended on Twitter for the first time in the brand’s history.

  • The response received more than 15,000 favorites and 14,600 retweets

  • Sales saw a 33 percent spike compared with the same time last year.

Social media channels should be used for driving awareness to a brand, engaging with customers and increasing conversions, not to bully other organizations and their marketing teams. RELATED: Turn your social campaign into an award-winning social campaign. Enter now!

Here’s what brand managers can learn from the situation:

Stay true to your brand. Red Lobster is a family brand, not a millennial-focused organization with sassy, quick-witted copywriting like that of IHOP or Taco Bell.

Focus on relevant success metrics. What good are a few positive tweets if they have nothing to do with your key performance indicators or your bottom line? Focus on helping to push the business forward.

Keep things in context. Before the mention, Red Lobster’s sales were down. Gaining traction online was a major win for the chain, and the intention of the tweet was to express thanks to Beyoncé. More brand managers should consider publicly thanking those who tout their organization, rather than trying to maximize the effect of their response.

Eduardo Lopez is a digital strategist focused on bridging the gap between social psychology and marketing. A version of the article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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