, , , , , , , , , , ,


Recently, there has been some surprising discussion about the merits of auctioneers using certain hashtags on Facebook and other social networking sites. Here we attempt to shed some additional light on that conversation.

It appears to us that the #AuctionsWork, #onlyatauction and #NAAPro (and any other) hashtags:

    1. Create an excitement in a community of like-minded people about a certain topic.
    2. Make that hashtag searchable to see what everyone is saying about that particular topic.
    3. Can and do move these conversations into those people’s everyday lives — in talks with clients, customers, signage, marketing and other promotion.

For auctioneers and those others working in the auction industry (and in the case of #NAAPro, those members of the National Auctioneers Association,) these hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, and other places energize auction professionals — and maybe their social networking friends — about the auction method of marketing.

However, none of these hashtags say selling at auction is the only way to sell property, nor that auctions always work. Nor does the NAA hashtag suggest anyone must hire an NAA auctioneer … these are not to be read literally, but figuratively.

Comparing the above hashtags to tag lines (noting #AuctionsWork began as “Auctions Work!”) used by prominent companies might help with context here. For example:

    • Apple wants you to, “Think different” but what if I want to buy an Apple product already?
    • Burger King says you can, “Have it your way” but can I really? Okay, I want a burger with 300 pickles.
    • Ford suggests, “Built Ford Tough” but I know lots of Fords that are in scrap yards. How tough is that?
    • McDonalds says, “I’m lovin’ it” and while I eat at McDonalds once in a while, I wouldn’t call it love.
    • California milk processors asked, “Got milk?” No, and I don’t want any.
    • Nike says, “Just do it.” Okay, I’ll just jump off this cliff without a parachute.

These corporate tag lines are essentially hashtags in today’s environment — they rally fans, call attention to the product or service, while obviously not to be interpreted literally. They constitute sales talk or puffing which is common in the United States sales market.

We can certainly debate the value and appropriateness of sales talk, but it’s not going away any time soon. Slogans — and known obvious exaggerations — are expected by the public. If a company chooses to withhold obvious exaggeration in their marketing, they do so at their own peril.

And further, it’s not all exaggeration and mostly factual. Auctions do work; some property sells only at auction and the National Auctioneers Association enhances the professionalism of member auctioneers.

For auctioneers, and those analyzing the auction industry — it’s worth noting that a significant amount of real and personal property sells in ways other than auction. Virtually anything that reminds the public to consider utilizing auction marketing might move the needle.

Auctioneers know well that sellers choose auction marketing for a variety of reasons, including expediency of sale, reduction of holding costs and as-is transfers; it’s not just about the gross proceeds which reaches the press. The more these messages can reach sellers, the better for the auction industry.

Lastly, for those unfamiliar with puffing and/or sales talk, we wrote about that more here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/puffing-versus-misrepresentation-at-auction/

If you are an auctioneer or auction professional using these hashtags, we recommend to keep using them in a defined, prudent fashion which will undoubtedly raise awareness about the auction method of marketing … with very little (if any) downside.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Real Estate Showcase and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.