What can #YourMum teach us? A lot apparently
Last week Penguin Books launched a Twitter campaign to celebrate Mother’s Day. They decided to ask users to tweet them to provide book suggestions for their mothers. To the internet’s amusement they used the hashtag #YourMum.
For the next hour (and every lunchtime this week), tweet us using #YourMum & we’ll endeavour to provide gift (where gift = book) advice. Go!
— Penguin Books UK (@PenguinUKBooks) March 9, 2015
As you can imagine, they were bombarded with numerous #YourMum innuendos and jokes. It’s caused quite a debate online about whether it was an innocent mistake from a somewhat naive publishing company, or in fact a ploy to gain exposure and interest.
Hijacking Twitter hashtags
It’s a common trend used by brands and marketers; to hijack trending twitter hashtags in order to promote their own company. What Penguin Books failed to understand about this technique is that the aim is not to just use a funny hashtag that others can hijack. Whether it was deliberate or not, the campaign has done little to prove their social media prowess. Not even their competitors think it was a smart move:
Social media campaigns should always be carefully thought out. It may seem like a good idea to go with the light-hearted idea that will grab attention but it won’t necessarily be the attention you want. Ignoring the obvious embarrassment you’d face as a brand, it means you may be linked to content that’s inappropriate for your brand image.
#YourMum led to a number of crude and sexual jokes (obviously) which Penguin was unable to manage. They were therefore linked to explicit tweets on one of the biggest social media networks in the world – not the smartest idea for a children’s book publisher.
Now, humour is important and you should try to include it whenever relevant as it makes your brand more approachable and likeable – just don’t get carried away with it!
Top Twitter Fails
This may have been quite a spectacular Twitter faux-pas but Penguin definitely isn’t the only one to slip-up. What better way to get through a Monday than to laugh at the mistakes of some of the world’s biggest brands:
Lesson: avoid any posts that reminds people of past scandals
Lesson: Keep a record of who has your Twitter login details
Lesson: research your hashtags before using them!
Lesson: read your hashtag
So it seems the main thing to remember is not to act hastily. Social media is a fast-paced, ever changing environment but it’s also merciless when you get it wrong. Once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back…