By now, you'll have noticed that hashtags have quietly crept their way onto other social media platforms, having risen to fame largely through Twitter and Instagram. Most notably, of these relatively new homes for hashtags is LinkedIn, also known as the world’s largest professional network.
If you, like many occasional, periodic and avid social networkers out there, are wondering whether it's time you started using hashtags on LinkedIn, you've come to the right place...
Our guide details everything you need to know about LinkedIn hashtags, including when and how to use them, and the potential benefits they can bring in terms of:
- Discovering new content.
- Learning new things.
- Building your business and personal brand.
- Increasing your content's reach and engagement.
- Finding new and valuable connections.
Before we take a deep dive into the wonders of the LinkedIn hashtag, let's kick things off with the simpler questions, starting with...
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a combination of letters, numbers and/or emojis that follows the hash sign (#). Including this type of metadata tag can help people discover content based on particular topics, news, questions and so on.
Often used to categorise messages on the likes of Twitter, Instagram and, more recently, LinkedIn, hashtags essentially create archives of searchable content (usually based on brand, topic or a particular item of news) for users on said platforms.
How do LinkedIn hashtags differ from Twitter and Instagram?
Now most of you may have skipped over that last section, having already learned the basics of hashtagging via Twitter and Instagram. But what you may not know, is that hashtags on LinkedIn should not be seen or used in the same way as those channels. Why? Because of the nature of the social channel, for starters.
LinkedIn is largely a professional network - although some may say this is up for debate these days - and therefore some hashtags used on the likes of Twitter and Instagram (#SongsYouHateAndWhy, #AddSteveBuscemiToAnything and #SelfieSunday, to name a few) may not have a place here.
The functionality of hashtags on LinkedIn is similar to that of Twitter and Instagram, in that they usually increase the reach and potential engagement of your content. Like Instagram, you can also follow hashtags on LinkedIn to ensure certain content and updates finds its way onto your feed. To do this, simply type the hashtag into the search bar at the top of your feed and click "Follow".
How to add hashtags to LinkedIn posts
Ready to use hashtags to reach a wider audience on LinkedIn that spans beyond your connections? Great news! It couldn't be simpler to start! To add a hashtag to your content, simply upload or type your caption and include your chosen hashtag within it.
If you're writing an article, you'll want to include your hashtag in the "Tell your network what your article is about" pop-up after you select "Publish".
It's important to remember that, after publishing your content, you cannot edit hashtags. So make sure you get yours absolutely spot-on! How do you do this, we hear you ask? Well, that brings us to our next question...
How to find and use hashtags to use on LinkedIn
Don't worry if you're unsure about what hashtags to use - we've got you covered! Follow these tips to ensure your hashtags are the best hashtags that have ever hashin' hashtagged.
Tips to find LinkedIn hashtags:
- Location-based hashtags are great for reaching out to - and connecting with - like-minded people in your area. If your content is specific to a particular region, city or village, it'll likely be of interest to users based within that area.
- LinkedIn actually suggests hashtags based on your profile, content and previous messages. But don't take these as gospel - only use them if you see them as relevant. You'll find these at the bottom of your caption text box.
- If you're attending an event, be sure to check if it has its own hashtag. Usually, organisers will encourage people to use these unique hashtags. They can be ideal for networking purposes.
- Search for hashtags within your sector and see which additional ones are being used in conjunction with them. Be sure to follow specific hashtags to continue seeing this content in your feed. This should help with content creation.
- Check what hashtags similar brands, users and competitors are using.
- Explore what hashtags your customers and target market use. This gives you an insight into what they're interested in reading on LinkedIn.
- Use LinkedIn Analytics to dive into your previous content and see what hashtags have resulted in the biggest reach and engagement.
- Look for some of the most-followed hashtags in your industry, but also the more niche, specific ones that you can really make your own. Then, create a spreadsheet of hashtags to fall back on and select from when writing new content.
- Constantly look for new, emerging trends and hashtags to jump on the back of. To do this, keep a close eye on your industry news and all of the relevant influencers and hashtags on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn hashtag best practices:
- Avoid spacing between words. If your hashtag is a multi-word phrase, write it like so: #DigitalMarketing.
- Stick to one or two hashtags per update. Otherwise, LinkedIn's algorithm bots may see your content as spam and punish you by reducing said post's reach. You also want to avoid annoying your connections!
- Make sure your hashtag could not be construed as meaning something else. The most unfortunate (and hilarious!) example of this was when Susan Boyle's marketing team released her new album with the social media tagline of Susan Album Party. Now when you splice that into a hashtag - which they of course did - you get #susanalbumparty. We'll let you figure that one out...
- Avoid punctuation. This ends a hashtag prematurely in the same way as a space. So, instead of "#You'llNeverWalkAlone, you should write "YoullNeverWalkAlone".
- Keep hashtags short and simple - you want people to use these in their own content so don't make it more of a chore than it needs to be.
- When creating and using a hashtag unique to your brand and/or campaign, check that it isn't currently being used anywhere else. You don't want your messages lost in other, irrelevant discussions on LinkedIn.
- Try to incorporate them into your content/sentencing. This way, they appear more natural and seamless. For instance, instead of writing: "Check out our top ten tips for hashtagging on LinkedIn. #Marketing", why not try: "Our latest #DigitalMarketing insights piece tackles #LinkedIn hashtags. Discover how, where and why to use them with these top ten tips..."
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