By Nicolle Davis
You know what the hashtag is, right?
It’s this thing: #
I always knew it as a musical symbol, a tic-tac-toe or the pound sign on a phone. But over the past few years, this familiar symbol has taken on an entirely new significance in an entirely new space ─ online media.
Our company-wide branding efforts include what I think is a really cool contest involving a hashtag, asking consumers and agents alike to #SpotTheSign. In fact, it’s pretty common for brands to adopt their own hashtag, no matter the industry. Hashtags even find their way into mainstream marketing mediums, most commonly as a cleverly hashtagged phrase for print or television ads. Everywhere you look, you’ll see the hashtag flourishing.
I can actually remember the first day I saw the hashtag applied to the digital world. It was 1999, and I was working in the wireless, 2-way paging industry, which luckily allowed me to participate in brainstorming meetings. During one of those sessions, I watched the pound sign dance across our white board, and learned all about how it could help us merge huge chunks of data and then categorize that information into something useful. Like the artist formerly known as the-tic-tac-toe symbol, the hashtag as we know it today was born, a symbol of discovery and reflection.
Nowadays, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine all use the hashtag to identify written thoughts about distinct topics then group those thoughts together. Search Twitter for #RealEstate and you’ll find out what people across the world are saying about real estate right now.
The hashtag links ideas between disparate users, creating a type of stream-of-consciousness idea board we can search through to gain knowledge and even to find prospective clients. Implications of the hashtag for our industry are growing every day. By including hashtags in your social media posts, you can insert yourself into a local conversation ─ who is stopping by our booth at #MainStreetFair? ─ or join a global discussion, for instance, to see what movers and shakers have to say about a particular hot-button issue.
So with this background information to guide you, go ahead and try out a hashtag or two in your social media posts. You may be surprised where hashtags can lead you, who they’ll connect you with and what ideas they’ll generate.
And remember, the beauty of creating a hashtag is that as fast as you can think it, you can send it out into the world, and watch your new little hashtag travel across tweets and posts, as others make it their own. It’s all part of your social media song, bound by nothing but your own creativity, fueled by the harmonizing social symphony of others. The limits are truly endless for what a hashtag can help you achieve.
And to think, it all started with this: #
NICOLLE DAVIS is a licensed real estate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, the Mulhearn Group. She lives in Claremont, CA. Email her at email@example.com or visit her website: www.nicolle.bhhscaprops.com.
Nicolle joined our writing team in April and this is her first post. Welcome Nicolle!