If we’re connected on social media, you might have noticed me banging on about hashtags for a LONG time. I’ve also spoken about it many times in relation to LinkedIn. For some reason, hashtags confuse a lot of people and most don’t know where to start.
Here’s an article I wrote on hashtags a while back, which is still relevant today.
Hashtags link you to the people and ideas you care about most. It’s how people find you. It’s how you build your profile beyond your immediate network. It’s how you get aligned to the topics you care about, digitally. If you want to be a powerhouse on social media, hashtags are critical.
But its even more critical now, because LinkedIn has taken it a step further, where you can follow Hashtags – ring any bells Instagram users?
See the first screenshot below from my profile page. In the feed, you’ll see my connection Britt Peemoller has posted something with the hashtag #storyteller. Because LinkedIn knows I’m interested in storytelling, it has flagged this in my feed, bringing my attention to it more than a regular post would. I like it.
Having your feed populated and focused on the topics you care about is AWESOME! I mean, perhaps this is the trick to ensure LinkedIn becomes the powerhouse content platform it was always hoping to become? Even better, it might actually be the solution to stopping the nonsense coming through too. Let’s hope hey?
The second piece of information in the image above, is on the bottom left. You’ll see Your Communities and below that, hashtags you follow – which, until this point, I have not actively followed, but I have certainly used the hashtags listed.
However, now you can follow them, and all you have to do is click on Discover More. Look at all those hashtags you can follow? Go through this vast list and follow the most meaningful ones to you. Don’t forget to look at the numbers of followers too – which I believe indicates the number of people who have used these hashtags, as it’s still a new feature.
This is how you bring LinkedIn – as a content and connections platform – to life. If you use hashtags well, you can open your profile up to 3rd degree connections easily, because you can potentially be featured in their feed based on your hashtag use.
Want those customers finding you? This could be the winner. Want to build a bigger profile? This’ll certainly help you achieve that – as long as your content and participation is world-class of course…
Does anyone else feel as excited by this update as I do? I think it’s brilliant and it will tackle so many of the challenges LinkedIn has been facing.
So use hashtags, use them everywhere, but please, use them on LinkedIn.
Want more insight into this change, you can check out articles here and here. There’s not a lot published, which means it’s early days, and that means it’s an opportunity for all of us. Get on it. It might also rank this blog high on Google, because not a lot is being said yet – bonus!!
Above is an image I’ve shared before, which breaks out hashtag categories by profession, industry, role, interest and so much more.
To help you, the best places to research are:
- What are the thought leaders in your field using? LinkedIn might not be the best place to discover this though, as many are still not using hashtags, so check other social platforms if you want to know
- What are the common company hashtags you could be using to tie yourself into a bigger, global conversation?
- Twitter and Instagram are great sites to search hashtags – even if you don’t have an account. This is more so with Instagram, as you can see how popular they are – i.e. number of times a hashtag is used. #Photooftheday is the most popular hashtag in the world according to the research from Simon Kemp of Kepio
- Do some research, but a few sites to reference – hashtags.org, top-hashtags.com and hashtagify.com
How hashtags are being used
As this is a new thing for many, especially those active on LinkedIn and not anywhere else, OR conversely, it’s not a new thing with many very active elsewhere and using hashtags the same way…. I need to speak about how to use them.
Example One – not good
Using only hashtags as your comment delivers no value to your audience, even if it gets you into a healthy spot in LinkedIn’s back-end. Please, never miss an opportunity to add value to your audience – because it’s about them, not you, right? Tell people why you’re sharing information and finish with hashtags. Number of hashtags to use? No more than three.
Example two – even worse
This example is a beauty (in Australia, beauty can be negative), because that’s what many do on Instagram, even though Instagram only recommends a maximum of 10 tags. My advice is don’t do this and put all hashtags at the end of your post, after your comment. If you go through your LinkedIn feed, I’m sure you can find multiple examples of people using hashtags within their comments. It’s a personal preference, but the reason I hate it is – it makes it hard for people to read what you’ve written. You don’t want to make anything harder on social media, so keep hashtags separate from the content.
Example three – yes, thank you
And finally, the fabulous Olive Huang, shows us how – I believe – it should be done. Write what you want to say, add the relevant hashtags, copy the relevant people and look at that? We’re on a winner.
Like I said, this is my preference, but it’s also based on lots of experience and research across social media. Now it’s up to you.
This is an exciting evolution for LinkedIn. It puts the information you’re interested in at the centre of what LinkedIn is all about, so:
- Work out what hashtags you should be using
- Follow hashtags in the areas you’re interested in
- Use hashtags to get you in front of new and relevant audiences
- Build a hashtag habit – it is a habit
- And put them at the end of your comments, but don’t overdo the hashtag use
The final point is, try not to be overwhelmed by hashtags. I know many are and trust me, it won’t take much effort to turn you into a champion. Simply click on Discover More, which is at the bottom left when you open LinkedIn. Although if you can’t see it, I suspect it’s because you haven’t used hashtags yet. To get this to appear, share something awesome, and use a couple of hashtags relevant to your business/industry (or from the image above) and see if it appears?
Then from the Discover More page, you’ll be able to see the topics people care most about on LinkedIn and you can follow the ones you’re interested in. After that, all you need to do is start using them. Yes?
Like many things on social media, people are very intimidated by what they don’t know. The only way to learn anything social is to start doing it. In this case, using hashtags. Good luck!
I hope that’s helpful and please, let me know if I’ve missed anything?
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