Using hashtags is easy, right? Simple to create, easy to use effectively, and a great way to identify the conversations you’re trying to start or get in on. Well, except when it comes to using hashtags for #LinkedinMarketing.
I often get asked if it’s even possible to hashtag on LinkedIn, or whether it’s frowned upon. After all, for the longest time, hashtags didn’t activate on LinkedIn, and aficionados considered it to be all a bit beneath the platform. Hashtags were for “fun” social media, not for the serious business of getting down to business that LinkedIn is all about.
But as we know only too well by now, social media isn’t just about what the developers want it to be - it’s all about what users want and if they don’t get their way… well, they do it anyway. Which is why many users carried on inserting tags into their posts despite the fact that they remained unsearchable and inactive.
But, since 2016, hashtags have officially become part of the LinkedIn landscape, in no small part because LinkedIn needed a way to help keep conversations going and categorized. That means you can hashtag your LinkedIn posts with impunity, right? Erm, not exactly - when are things ever that simple?
LinkedIn is, above all things, a social media platform devoted to business, whether it’s professional individuals, small to massive businesses, or consultants, networking, searching for interesting business-related content, recruiting and being recruited. This is not the network where you go to post pics of your granny’s eightieth birthday party, it’s where you go to immerse yourself in the world of work.
That’s why LinkedIn hashtags get treated a little differently from those used on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. In principle, of course, they are the same, and their technical functionality is the same, but their context and use is more circumspect. So how should you use hashtags on LinkedIn?
1 - Stick to the basics
In this post, we covered the ABCs of hashtagging, including avoiding hashtag storms, making sure they’re spelled correctly and don’t include punctuation, capitalizing each separate word to keep it easily readable and avoiding the hashtag hijack. These basic guidelines apply across all social media, so I highly recommend going through that article to familiarize yourself with the basic conventions.
2 - Be consistent
The way hashtag searches work on LinkedIn is, you enter your search term in the search bar, then select which category you’re looking for. In other words, you can fine-tune your search to look for a specific hashtag in people, jobs, posts, companies, groups, articles and so on. What that means for the LinkedIn hashtagger is, you need to make sure your hashtags are in the right places.
Include them in your articles, posts, status updates and profile to ensure an even spread and to help people find you and your content more easily. That said, don’t go crazy on the hashtags. Keep it simple and limited to the most important search terms - those that people are likely to use when looking for you or your information.
For example, if you are a customer experience expert who specializes in offering companies training and audits of their customer service, you might want to include the #CustomerExperience, #CustomerService and #CX hashtags in your bio, in any articles you publish and in your status updates. You do not need to include #customer #experience #service #happycustomer (you get the idea, right?).
3 - Don’t rely on them
LinkedIn’s history with hashtags has been tenuous at best. In 2013, they removed hashtag functionality from the entire platform, rendering this search device inactive. Then, in 2016, they were made active again - at least on the mobile app. That effectively means that people got used to the idea of not using them, or seeing them for the most part.
Now that they’re part of the LinkedIn landscape again the will inevitably become a lot more prominent and get used more often, but I’d recommend not relying on hashtags to make your profile and content searchable. Instead, focus on the rest of your profile.
The one real benefit of LinkedIn is that it’s a platform that’s all about you. It’s the one platform where you can really sell yourself in your bio, so make sure it is as good as you can make it. It’s also a platform that lends itself to producing top-quality content, so make sure any content you produce or share brings people to you.
What’s your opinion on LinkedIn hashtags - should they stay or should they go? Let me know in the comments.
Need help getting your business noticed on LinkedIn and other social media? Get in touch.