| December 01, 2020
Have you been publishing content on LinkedIn but not finding meaningful engagement with your target audience? What’s holding you back may be your use of hashtags. Or, if you’re not using them, read on to learn what you’re missing.
If you’re looking to publish content on LinkedIn and reach people who may be interested in your message, product or service, you need to understand how hashtags help LinkedIn decide who sees your content. Once you understand, it becomes far easier to reach and engage the people that matter most to you.
What Are Hashtags?
Hashtags are special words like “#linkedin”, “#marketing” or “#leadgeneration” that you see woven within posts. Sometimes they’re included within the primary body of content; other times, you may see them at the bottom of a post.
Below is an example of a post using the “#PRINTING” hashtag.
What most people don’t realize is that hashtags are not just for looks or witty sayings. On LinkedIn, when you include a relevant hashtag in your post, people following that hashtag see your content. This means your post is seen by more people, and they’ll help you establish your credibility and expertise.
When people follow a hashtag, they have to intentionally opt-in to seeing content about that topic, which means they’re more likely to value your insights, and even more likely to jump-start meaningful conversations over shared interests.
How to Include Hashtags in Your Posts
When you’re composing a post, there are three ways to include hashtags:
- Add a hashtag by typing # and the word you think is a good hashtag. As you start to type, you’ll notice that LinkedIn provides some suggestions. Before you pick any of the suggestions, type the hashtag into the LinkedIn search and see how many people are following it. If there are few or no followers, discard and try another.
- Select from the hashtag suggestions made by LinkedIn (bottom of your post). LinkedIn’s AI makes these suggestions based on your activity and prior content. As noted above, make sure to check the number of people following that tag to ensure it aligns with your goals.
- Type your desired hashtag from the “Add hashtag” feature. This feature isn’t all that helpful, as it simply just inserts a “#” into your post and you can start typing.
Hashtag Best Practices
When you’re including hashtags, here are a few things to keep mind:
- Include the # sign before a keyword or phrase. Avoid spaces, punctuation, special symbols or emojis when creating the hashtag.
- Use up to three hashtags per post, and use both broad and niche hashtags for better exposure. You’ll certainly see people using more than three hashtags, but LinkedIn recommends up to three, so try this and see how it works for you.
- Follow hashtags to see the topics you care about. This gives you an easy way to engage in conversation with people who are like-minded, and perhaps interested in what you do.
- Because LinkedIn doesn't make it easy to track and monitor relevant hashtags, create a “Hashtag Tracker” and update it monthly. This can act as a handy reference so you can pick from a list of hashtags you know have a decent following and that are aligned with your needs.
If you want to see my personal Hashtag Tracker (including how we measure hashtag growth), scan the QR code shown here, and connect with me on LinkedIn.
In the connection request or in a message, send me the word “PSDA HASHTAGS,” and I’ll send you back some examples.
In a previous column, I gave you the tip that most modern phones now have QR readers embedded in the phone’s camera app, so give it a try. Open your camera app and point it at the QR code. If your phone is “smart,” it will give you the option to jump directly to LinkedIn.
Until next time, here’s to your marketing and sales success!
David Rosendahl is the president and co-founder of MindFire, a company that uses a unique marketing platform combining direct mail, email, social and other channels to create more leads and sales.
Marketing and Sales Business/Growth Strategies