#YourMum sucks at social media, Penguin

As I frantically trawl the internet for a present for my mum this Mother’s Day, I’m presented with the usual options: flowers, chocolates and jewellery.

It’s a difficult decision with so much choice on offer. Then there’s the case of whether I want it personalised. Just on case my mum forgets she is, indeed, my mum.

But, whatever dilemmas I face, it’s not a touch on what publisher Penguin has gone throught after innocently celebrating its Mother’s Day book launch with the Twitter hashtag: #YourMum.

Don’t lie. You sniggered when you read that didn’t you? Well, if you didn’t, thousands did and took to Twitter to join in with the gaff. 

In fact, the hashtag has been used 5,000+ times in the last 30 days – and I promise you, less than a handful are literature related. 

I’m surprised that Penguin fell into this trap of ‘asking for trouble’ hashtags. It’s been hot on my mind since the Susan ‘SuBo’ Boyle album launch

Although Penguin has scored thousands of organic tweets and a PR plug on BBC Trending, it’s for all the wrong reasons. So, the only hope of encouraging people to find out what the book is all about is to pay for it via social media, digital and print advertising. And, everyone knows, paying for something when you’re good enough to get it for free, isn’t a nice feeling. 

Don’t get me wrong, I expect Penguin would’ve had a healthy budget put aside anyway, but I’m guessing it would have been to maintain sales after an initial burst of social interest. 

Instead, now, it’s starting from scratch. Although, not without a laugh from its social media team

“Thanks for pointing our #YourMum has an alternative meaning you guys! Now back to the books…” 

But, looking through its Twitter feed, it’s back to business for Penguin. It’s continued to promote the book through carefully-structured tweets – although interaction levels have slowed somewhat. 

So, brands beware. Consumers will always pull you up on rookie mistakes. 

Ask yourself these questions before  pressing play: 

  • Is the hashtag an organic and natural phrase? 
  • Does the hashtag have a colloquial or offensive meaning? Not just in this decade, but in the last century!
  • Do the words within the hashtag, when joined together, spell any phrases that would detract from your brand, product or service?

What did you make of Penguin’s hash of a hashtag? 

Penguin's epic fail

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