The short history of hashtags on LinkedIn

As David Hartshorne says, hashtags have had a topsy-turvy ride on the LinkedIn platform. A few years back they were present but LinkedIn “rolled it back due to a poor user response.”

In 2016, they were available on the mobile app only: “Hashtags included in your posts (or others) are now tappable and lead to search results so that you can discover other posts with the same hashtag.”

Then, in 2017, hashtags reappeared on the desktop platform as part of the new user interface. But still, nobody knew what they were supposed to do or how to use them.

By early 2018, reports surfaced of some users being ‘forced’ to insert hashtags into their posts. LinkedIn confirmed they were running a beta test “to understand better the value of using hashtags in posts to help members discover and join relevant conversations.”

But now, it is safe to say that LinkedIn hashtags are back and working. I understand that you may be confused about hashtag use on LinkedIn, so here is how you can make the most of them.

Hashtags on LinkedIn: how do they work?

Hashtags on LinkedIn categorize content. They help users find content on a specific topic. And, if you add hashtags to your content, they will help you get discovered by other users, including those not connected to you. From a marketing perspective, making your LinkedIn content available to a broader audience is the winner.

Hashtags on LinkedIn: do they work on profiles and company pages?

Hartshorne discusses an interesting part of hashtag use on LinkedIn. He says that you can add hashtags to LinkedIn Profiles and Company Pages, but that they do not behave in the same way. They are not searchable, and they do not highlight as a blue clickable link, which makes them a non-tagged keyword. For his examples of how hashtags work here, read his article (link previously mentioned).

How to use hashtags on LinkedIn

As mentioned, there are two sides to using hashtags on LinkedIn:

  1. Finding relevant hashtags to follow so that you can join a conversation.
  2. Adding relevant hashtags to your content, so more people can discover you.

Below, several steps are explained to make sure you know all the ways you can use hashtags on LinkedIn.

· How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn posts/status updates

At the top of the homepage, click into the ‘Share an article, photo, video or idea’ field to write your post content. Add hashtags – using the # symbol – in the body of your post or at the end of the message.

· How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn articles/Pulse

From the homepage, click ‘Write an article’ under the status update field. You can include hashtags in the body or at the end of your article, like the post update above. When you have finished writing your article, click ‘Publish’ in the top right corner. A pop-up window will appear. In the ‘Tell your network what your article is about’ field, you can add a short intro about the article including relevant hashtags. Please note that you cannot edit or remove hashtags after you have published your article.

· How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn comments

You can also add hashtags when you comment on a post or an article. It is another way of reinforcing your topic and makes it discoverable.

· How to find new hashtags on LinkedIn

LinkedIn lets you find and follow hashtags on the topics you are interested in. Start by entering the topic you would like to find in the Search bar at the top of the page. For example, when you type #digitalmarketing, you get a list of digital marketing related hashtags.

Select a hashtag from the list of suggestions to see content related to the hashtag topic in your feed. Click the ‘Follow’ button at the top of the page to add the hashtag topic to your list.

· How to manage the hashtags you follow

You can manage the hashtags you follow from your LinkedIn homepage. On the left-hand side is a section called ‘Your communities’ that contains ‘Pinned’ (hashtags), ‘Hashtags’ (non-pinned), and ‘Groups.’ In the ‘Pinned’ and ‘Hashtags’ sections, LinkedIn displays up to three hashtags with options to see more. Click ‘Show more’ to expand the list and display more of the hashtags you are following. Click ‘See all’ to show the full list of hashtags you are currently following and change what you want pinned and unpinned.

At the bottom of the ‘Your communities’ menu, click on the ‘Discover more’ link to reveal more hashtags that might be of interest. Click the ‘+ Follow’ link to start following a new hashtag from the list. Please note that LinkedIn displays the number of followers so you can see how popular a hashtag is.

However, the best management view of your hashtags comes via the summary page. You can see what hashtags you are following, and choose to unfollow any if you wish. Underneath are several sections of suggested hashtags you may wish to follow, including popular in your industry, related to your interests, based on your recent activity, people in your community are interested in, people in your community follow and recommended for you. It is a hidden gem.

Source: Greetje den Holder via The Business2Community Blog 

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