Hashtags, ugh… they are everywhere, but does anyone really know what they do or what they are? For those of you rolling your eyes at another post about those dreaded, and yes strange numbers signs, then let’s dive in so you can see, and understand, their true value.
Hashtags have been around for awhile and are used on various platforms. Twitter was the pioneer in the hashtag realm, followed closely behind by Instagram. Today, hashtags are usable on not only Twitter and Instagram, but also on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and yes even TikTok. In this article, I want to focus on the business platform of LinkedIn and how to correctly, and yes strategically, use hashtags.
First, let’s correctly identify what exactly a “hashtag” is. In terms of social media, a “hashtag” is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.
Think of hashtags as a way to connect social media content to a specific topic, event, theme or conversation. They also make it easier to discover posts around those specific topics, because hashtags aggregate all social media content with that same hashtag.
Now let’s up your game with hashtags and create a strategy for their usage on LinkedIn. There are 2 types of basic strategies for you; as a business owner, employee or brand and then their is the use of hashtags for job seekers.
Regardless of the types, there are a few best practices to keep in mind for the LinkedIn platform.
- Use no more than 3 hashtags – you can use more, but research shows that LinkedIn’s algorithm make penalize your post for more than 3.
- Insert your hashtags at the END of your post
- Pick 2 broad hashtags and 1 more niche focused hashtag – pay attention to how many posts and followers your chosen hashtags have. If a hashtag has only 1 follower and I use, then it is probably not useful to use it.
- Use hashtags already created and being used by others
- They always start with “#” but they won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation or symbols.
- Make sure your accounts are public. Otherwise the hashtagged content you write won’t be seen by any non-followers of your account.
- Choose hashtags relevant to your post – it is also suggested, in research, that posts with only hashtags and no other text are not given a lot of value in the LinkedIn algorithm.
- Follow hashtags that are relevant to you, your business, your job, your industry.
Job Seekers Strategy
For job seekers, think in terms of the following categories:
- Job Title – look for hashtags that are your specific job title as employers may use these as another avenue to find prospective future employees. I looked for current hashtags on Linkedin specific to job titles – Example #accountingmanager #engineers #projectmanager
- Industry – This is a broader sector. Examples I found #Subseaengineering #accountingandfinance
- Location/Geographic Region – This focus allows you to delve down into a specific area. Examples I found are #HoustonRealEstate #
- Companies – research your target companies and use their company name hashtags or find out if they have specific brand hashtags to use. A better suggestion here would be to tag the company profile in your post as well as use the hashtag, but remember they need to be relevant to your post content.
Business, Brand and Employee Strategy
- Brand – many company create their own specific hashtag for their followers to use. Example Adobe uses #adobelife then there is Nike who uses #justdoit #swooshlife for their communities on Linkedin. You can create your own for you business like I did for a client of mine, Urbaness, a real estate development firm in Brookline, MA. I created the brand hashtag #UrbanessFineHomes to use with every post.
- Company – for this one simply using the company name like #Phillips66 and #FedEx
- Industry – here examples can also be #realestatedevelopement #subseaengineering #spaceindustry
- Event – hashtags can be a great benefit to events even those that are now virtual. It allows a specifically created hashtag by the event to group all related social posts together. 2020 Bay Area Houston Go Red For Women campaign luncheon used #BayGoRed
- Location/Geographic Region – examples here are #BostonRealEstate or simply the name of the city #Dallas #Denver #Tampa
The best strategy for either type is to jots down several options under each category and research them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s usage of hashtags is not up to the level of Instagram or Twitter, but a good strategy (and not overdoing) can be useful. No one idea will get you moving forward, but a lot of ideas will move the needle in your favor. Hashtags are one of the good ideas to use.
So now that you’ve got an idea of what hashtags to use, how do you know which ones to use and when? Before you post, ask yourself these three things:
Before You Post another hashtag, ask yourself these 3 questions:
1.) What is the main goal/objective of this post? (Ex: Do I want potential hiring managers to see it or recruiters? Do I want potential clients to find me and see it? Am I contributing to a broader conversation about a trending topic?)
2.) What categories does this post topic fall under? (Ex: Is it in a specific geographic area? Does it feature any brands or companies? What would people type in to find it?)
3.) Do I have time to be intentional with hashtags? (Ex: Am I willing to seek out and type in specific hashtags for this post or should I fall back on a past list for speed/efficiency!)
Hashtags can be a great way to attract your ideal clients, connect you to others, and an intentional way to brand your business or yourself. Use them thoughtfully, sparingly and do your research for the best results.
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