It may be hard to believe, but with 2019 coming to a close, hashtags have been fully integrated into LinkedIn for well over a year. But despite the staying power of hashtags on the platform, many businesses still struggle with how to best use them to grow their audiences and generate engagement.
In this post, I want to remove that confusion by answering several common questions about using hashtags on LinkedIn. So, if you’ve been wondering what's up with LinkedIn hashtags, this overview is for you.
What's the value of using LinkedIn hashtags?
Much like on Twitter and Instagram, hashtags on LinkedIn are a way to categorize your posts, and differentiate them from the rest of the content being uploaded to the platform each day.
By adding hashtags, you make it easier for users searching for content about specific topics (or who are following the hashtag) to find your posts.
When should I use hashtags on LinkedIn?
Adding hashtags on LinkedIn is all about finding your sweet spot. Using a long list of hashtags in each post is best saved for Instagram. In general, Twitter best practices suggest a maximum of three to four hashtags per post, which is closer to what you want to aim for when posting to LinkedIn.
Also, hashtags should be specific to your post, not just your brand. More likely than not, people aren’t going to be searching for a branded hashtag on LinkedIn - instead, they’ll be searching for hashtags related to their industry or interests. For example, marketing guru Mark Schaefer weaves hashtags into his LinkedIn posts sparingly but with great impact. When sharing his speaker reel on the platform, he included just two hashtags at the end: #marketing and #keynotespeaker.
By including #marketing, he's tapping into the broad industry that he appeals to, and establishing that he’s a marketing speaker. By adding #keynotespeaker, he’s not only identifying one of his key strengths and business services, but he's also helping people to find his posts if they’re searching for keynote speakers.
How do I select the best hashtags for my posts?
Choosing the right hashtags for your LinkedIn updates will change on a post-to-post basis.
Overall, you should aim to use hashtags which are specific to your industry and niche consistently across different posts. You can then apply additional hashtags that are specific to what you’re posting about. For example, if you’re sharing a job post, include hashtags like #jobpost or #opportunity. You can also include event-specific hashtags to draw people who might be searching for fellow attendees.
Also, consider looking at the hashtags LinkedIn recommends at the bottom of your posts while you’re crafting them. These are populated automatically through LinkedIn’s algorithm, which means that they’ll likely be a good match for your posts.
But remember, don’t spam your posts with too many hashtags.
Should I participate in trending hashtag topics?
You may have noticed on your LinkedIn company profiles that you’re now getting notifications to join in on conversations around trending hashtags - but should you be taking the time to participate?
LinkedIn’s algorithm has two primary objectives:
- To assess content relevancy
- To assess engagement
This means that posts which are relevant are more important than those that are recent, while the algorithm also puts extra weighting on engagement.
With this in mind, participating in these trending conversations can help boost your ranking in the LinkedIn algorithm and make a name for yourself relative to that topic.
Time for a Test Drive
I encourage you to include a few new hashtags in your next LinkedIn post to see how your engagement increases. It's worth experimenting with different approaches, and monitoring your analytics - and with LinkedIn engagement overall on the rise, it could be a great way to tap into a rising content stream.