Hashtags can be a bit baffling if you’re new to social media.
Despite the fact that they can be seen all over the place, many people still ask me about them:
I see them as a way to identify your digital content with a specific topic. They let users apply a method of tagging that helps other users easily find messages with a specific theme or topic. An obvious example for me would be #LinkedIn but for a vet, it might be #animalwelfare – I’m sure you get my drift!
You might also consider using an event or location-based hashtag, such as #Olympics or #London to identify your content with a popular theme.
Choosing top LinkedIn hashtags, such as #Management with over 36m followers on LinkedIn could be a good thing, but on the other hand, will your content be lost in a sea of other good content? By comparison, when deciding what hashtags to use on LinkedIn, #ManagementTips with only 441 followers (at the time of writing) might mean your content has a higher chance of being selected to reach that target audience. My take would be to use those hashtags which are being used by those people you are trying to attract. Mix them up with LinkedIn trending hashtags and some that are not so popular.
Firstly, DO NOT publish your hashtag in capital letters! #FAIL 🙂
The reason? Screen readers do not see the content as a word, so the screen reader separates the letters individually to the reader. Not exactly inclusive-friendly, eh? #F A I L
The better way to link words together is to capitalise the leading character of each word. For example, #LinkedInTips or #LinkedInStrategy
This helps anyone who is visually impaired or has dyslexia, for example, be more able to read a hashtag.
And lastly, don’t include gaps between words that you would normally include! A hashtag only works when the hashtag and the following words are linked together.
So, simply put, LinkedIn hashtags make your content more discoverable.
Technically, ‘hashtag’ is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and other applications and is often especially associated with Twitter to identify digital content on a specific topic.
But they are especially important on LinkedIn too. In fact, since 2018 when they were introduced on the LinkedIn platform, I’d say they are becoming even more valuable and important.
An ongoing debate exists as to the optimum number of hashtags one should use on a post. As of April’21, LinkedIn has again advised that the use of three hashtags on a piece of content on their platform is the optimum number. (Between October 2020 and April 2021 there was strong evidence to suggest that up to nine hashtags could be used on your content. That has now changed, again!)
Dr. Schwab established that the probability of securing 100 likes or comments on a LinkedIn post is 3.307% when you have fewer than 25,000 Followers. He analysed 4.988 million LinkedIn posts in more than 100 countries. He found that the probability to surpass 100 reactions on a post (Likes + comments) with a network of fewer than 25,000 connections rose to 7.2% when 3 hashtags featured in the post.
His study revealed that including more than 3 hashtags had a negative impact. However, the impact was not very significant on the number of likes and comments. Including more than 3 hashtags in a post was less detrimental than including 0-2 hashtags. The maximum number of hashtags in a single post that he analysed was 133!
But here’s my take:
Make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant to your content. Adding hashtags just because they are popular, or trending, will damage the quality of your content and your readers will perceive this as very spammy. The quality of your content will always win out over any other attempt to gain traction with your audience.
Well, there are a number of reasons.
Firstly, LinkedIn uses them to identify what content you enjoy and share in.
It does this by recognising what content you engage with.
It uses the hashtags you follow to steer an increasing amount of that content towards you.
This begs the question – are you following hashtags?
To see a list of LinkedIn hashtags you might already follow on LinkedIn, use this URL:
This will take you to the page that displays all your presently followed hashtags.
Alternatively, you can go to your LinkedIn Profile homepage, scroll to the bottom left, and there you will find a clickable link to your ‘Followed Hashtags’.
If you don’t have any followed hashtags, try searching for them in the LinkedIn search bar.
When you identify a topic you like, simply ‘Follow’ it. This will then be added to the list you now follow. The dropdown list can be quite useful too – hover over this a while and select all the ones that might be relevant to you.
Now then, this is a Super-Advanced Tip – How to add Hashtags on LinkedIn Posts
Imagine that I was in the world of copywriting. Having saved the hashtag #copywriting it now looks like this:
You will see that underneath the confirmation appears the option to ‘Start a post’ based on this hashtag.
There is some evidence and logic to suggest that a post created from this method might have an enhanced likelihood of reaching that audience with a bit more strength than if you simply added it at the end of your post. Try it for yourself to see any difference in results.
If you are not sure what hashtags to search for, think of the keywords associated with your industry or skillset. Think of the people you are trying to attract – what LinkedIn hashtags are THEY likely to be following. Use this to start your own list of LinkedIn hashtags. When you find content using these hashtags, see what other hashtags are also being used in content that is relevant to you. People have often already identified topics that you might also find useful to follow.
I think following around 25 LinkedIn hashtags is probably sufficient. I have a hunch that if you follow too many it may not help. Fewer might even be better.
Now when you produce content yourself on LinkedIn, be sure to add the hashtags that are relevant to that content. Remember to add no more than three.
I don’t think that where you add them is too important, but my suggestion is that they look pretty neat at the foot of the content, or, if you are using the word in the text of your post, perhaps add it there. This does, of course, give you more characters to use elsewhere, which will all help to add to the dwell time of your post.
And lastly, consider this. Have you thought about creating your own unique hashtag?
As with all major brands, having your brand represented by a hashtag can be really valuable. Think of #nike or #apple for example. I created my own hashtag some while ago and now use it on all my posts – #LinkedInCredible This allows me the ability to search for my own content when I need it – like a mini search engine!
Be careful not to use one that is too generic. For example, #AccountancyTips may already be used by a great number of people, so your content will be seen and heard by guess who – your competitors! It won’t be distinguishable from any other use of the same hashtag.
Have a think about how you can be creative with the use of your company name or topic and give it a try.
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