LinkedIn hashtags are similar to the hashtags you would use on other social networks such as Instagram and Twitter. They’re meant for tagging posts with relevant topics. The hashtag then presents that tagged post into a feed with the same hashtags.
A LinkedIn user then chooses to search for specific hashtags or follow them so that appropriate content comes up on their own personal news feed.
How to use LinkedIn hashtags
Creating any post on LinkedIn allows you to type in captions. For instance, you may share a link or a picture highlighting industry stats or prompting users to take action on an event signup page.
It doesn’t matter what type of content you share. Each post on LinkedIn still has a text box for you to describe the post and include items like links and hashtags.
Therefore, adding a hashtag to any post is done with the following steps:
Create a LinkedIn post.
Write whatever caption you want.
Add hashtags at the end of the text, starting with “#.”
The word or phrase in your hashtag must be connected to the “#” symbol, with no spaces inserted.
You’ll know the hashtag feature is working if suggested hashtags appear below the area in which you’re typing.
Some important notes:
You can put a hashtag anywhere in your text. It’s most common to include them at the end of a caption, but they work in between a sentence, replacing a word, or all at the beginning of the caption.
Putting a hashtag in your comments section won’t show the post in the relevant hashtag feeds, so don’t rely on this.
Placing a hashtag inside one of your articles also won’t put the post in a hashtag feed.
Exploring LinkedIn hashtags relevant to your business
A key part of using hashtags to your advantage is discovering hashtags that are both relevant and popular.
What’s more, is that you don’t want to necessarily target hashtags that are too popular. Otherwise, you run the risk of your content getting overshadowed by the thousands of other items under that one hashtag.
Having said that, here’s how to explore and discover useful LinkedIn hashtags for your business:
Step 1: View what’s recommended or already relevant
If you already have a LinkedIn page, the social network recommends hashtags to you in your profile.
Even new profiles receive recommendations based on your past and current positions and connections.
Go to your LinkedIn feed to see this module on the right side of the page.
You can view recent searches, groups, events, and followed hashtags. Some of them may not render any useful results, but it’s a good place to start.
You can also click on the Discover More button to view a longer list of suggested hashtags. These new LinkedIn hashtags are excellent for finding content that you may enjoy. Some of them will also be excellent choices for inclusion in your own posts.
Step 2: Search for hashtag options in the search bar
The primary way of searching for hashtags is done in the search bar. This is located at the top of your page.
Put your cursor in the search field and start by typing in “#.”
This is the only way to target your search for hashtags. Going straight for a word or phrase reveals all sorts of suggestions like people and posts.
As an example, I typed in “#timemanagement.” Doing so provided another related hashtag along with the specific one I typed in. You can also click on the “All Results” link to see more.
Right now, click on the specific hashtag you typed in. This reveals the entire feed of posts that has utilized the #timemanagement hashtag, opening up all sorts of ideas for content and information about whether or not the hashtag is worth pursuing.
Step 3: Examine hashtag follower numbers
The first bit of data to examine is the follower count for that hashtag.
This particular hashtag test is showing that almost 5,000 users follow along to see what others are sharing about time management. This is pretty good!
There’s no hard rule as to how many followers is enough, or too much.
However, it’s probably best to avoid hashtags that have just a few hundred followers. We’ll cover more on this below, but the same can be said about hashtags with millions of followers.
Step 4: Identify hashtags that have traction
Just because a hashtag has many followers doesn’t mean it should be added to your list of hashtags to use.
In fact, some hashtag feeds are so cluttered with spam that the followers most likely never see anything of value.
You also want to see if any of the posts in that hashtag feed are receiving any activity, such as likes and comments.
Remember, much of your posting on LinkedIn is for B2B interactions. Therefore, a dozen likes from real professionals is really good! You’re not necessarily only looking for hashtags that generate thousands of likes. Relevance is far more important on LinkedIn than popularity.
Save that for Instagram.
Checking the feed for likes and comments
Seeing that a hashtag has thousands of followers is not enough. Are those followers real? Do any of the users actually interact with the posts? Can you tell if the brands get any leads from the posts with these hashtags?
These are all valid questions, and they don’t get answered until you go beyond the number of followers for each hashtag.
Luckily, it only takes a few moments of scrolling to understand whether or not a hashtag is worth using for your own business.
Sticking with my example of #timemanagement, I continued my research by looking at the posts in this feed.
One of them is somewhat of a motivational post by an HR professional. She shares a picture of herself to add some personality to the post, along with a long story about how she has worked on her own time management.
As you can see, she received over 100 likes and seven comments. It looks like this hashtag at least has potential for some real results!
Another post on this hashtag feed includes a video from a time management and productivity conference, where the keynote speaker talks with some colleagues about the event.
The hashtag has definitely generated some interest, seeing as how the LinkedIn post has over 2,000 views, 27 comments, and 48 likes.
Sometimes a long-form text post is enough to create some chatter amongst your online colleagues. The following post is shared by a best-selling author. He outlines a few of the tactics he uses to manage his time, make sure he enjoys his work, and doesn’t waste time with silly tasks.
Again, this post has received a nice combination of likes and comments.
But wait! Are we sure that all of those comments are authentic?
It’s easy to write off hashtags where there are lots of likes but no comments. This shows that people are willing to click a button, but not willing to engage with the writer. That’s no good.
However, sometimes we find that comments are just as misleading. So, we recommend clicking on the comments section to see what’s being talked about.
In the following post, other professionals are stating their own concerns, questions, and praise. It’s clear that these are real people with real thoughts about the content.
Alternatively, you may find that some comment counts are misleading, like when:
The author fills the comments area with their own thoughts.
Comments are riddled with spam.
Arguments get out of hand and don’t create genuine conversation.
Step 5: Follow the best hashtags for content ideas
Don’t stop when you identify a hashtag that gets people talking on LinkedIn.
You must log the hashtags that make the most sense for your own brand.
You could write them down, log them in Excel, or better yet, follow them on LinkedIn.
The Follow button for any hashtag is found at the top of the hashtag feed. We saw this earlier, where it tells you how many users are following the hashtag.
All you have to do is click on the Follow button to see posts with this hashtag in your own newsfeed. Again, there’s no better way to learn about the type of content that other brands are sharing in your industry.
Furthermore, consider connecting with people, or following brands, that perform really well for certain hashtags. They’re obviously doing something right!
The post below shows a woman who reshares a caption and image posted by a company.
To connect with an individual, go to their LinkedIn profile to follow them or connect with them.
LinkedIn Business pages allow you to follow them right from the newsfeed, as is displayed with the Foodspring listing below.
Step 6: Explore recommended hashtags based on your search
Returning to the top of the hashtag feed, you’ll notice a button with three dots (…).
Click on this to show a few more options.
One of them is for discovering new hashtags. Click on this to move forward.
The list of recommended hashtags is based on your past searching habits, past jobs, and overall activity on LinkedIn.
Because of this, you won’t only get suggestions based on your most recent hashtag search.
For example, I’m not seeing a bunch of hashtags that only revolve around time management. Many of them relate to my writing and content marketing jobs.
Anyway, it’s still a great place to see suggestions you may have not thought of before.
This is also a nice roundup to immediately eliminate hashtags with too broad of a focus.
Take #technology as an example. It has over 25 million followers. In short, you have little chance of getting noticed with such a saturated hashtag. Too many posts are being shared on that feed, so your posts will get quickly pushed into the secondary pages where no one goes.
In fact, it’s typically a good rule to skip hashtags that go past the million follower mark. This is completely up to your own personal testing, but even going over 100,000 followers is going to be a struggle to get noticed.
However, the #contentwriter hashtag is around 16,000 followers. There’s far more potential for that if I plan on sharing content related to that topic.
Using your log of effective hashtags
There’s one more option in that little hashtag menu that comes in handy.
Click on the “…” button one more time.
Click on the Manage Your Hashtags link.
The next page lists all of the hashtags you follow on your profile.
Feel free to edit this list by removing hashtags that don’t make sense for your brand.
More importantly, copy all of these hashtags into a separate document so that you can copy and paste the list into all of your LinkedIn posts.
You’ll want to double-check to see if all of your posts relate to these hashtags, but typically you can complete a quick copy and paste if you’re sticking to one industry.
This way, there’s no need to think about your hashtags when posting to LinkedIn. You also don’t have to type anything in addition to your caption and post link.
Joe is a Chicago-based writer focused on social media, WordPress, and eCommerce tools. When not riding his bike in Chicago he's camping in Wisconsin. View Joe's portfolio at joewarnimont.com to contact him and see past work.