The buzzword in the business world today is “building a brand”. Before we move further, what comes in your mind when you think the word “brand”?
Is it just a logo or colour?
Hashtags are already a key element on most social media platforms and now they’re making their way to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s new Hashtag Communities is a great tool to improve user’s experience and broaden their opportunities on the networking platform.
But let’s start with the basics – what is a hashtag and what is its purpose?
Hashtags are keywords or phrases with the # symbol placed in front. They’re hyperlinked when clicked on and direct you to a separate page with a feed full of information containing that same hashtag. The same way that your search results appear when you type keywords into the LinkedIn search bar, so do your results when you click on a hashtag. Simply put, hashtags group similar content together.
Hashtags have a range of purposes to benefit LinkedIn users. Firstly, they categorise content to filter out the noise, especially considering that the internet is full of an abundance of content. As the title suggests, hashtags truly create communities. They allow users to find more like-minded industry professionals, by being visible even to users who aren’t connected. That’s because LinkedIn doesn’t limit what content appears in searches with the common hashtag that’s being used. A greater reach means increased brand awareness.
Hashtags also allow users to take control of their feed and specify what content is relevant to them. Their ability to share information gives users a more efficient way to learn through LinkedIn.
Possibly its most significant purpose, hashtags create and encourage discussion. Since content containing hashtags is easier to find, it encourages more users to engage with it. Twitter’s already doing it, so why encourage intelligent professionals to engage in meaningful conversations on LinkedIn, as well?
How will hashtags improve your LinkedIn experience?
Hashtags can be used in two ways. Firstly, they can be monitored, useful for those who want to receive information under the hashtag. Secondly, they can be included in content, useful for those who want to distribute information under the hashtag. In order to maximise their LinkedIn experience, most user’s use both.
To get you started, LinkedIn suggests hashtag communities for users engage with, based on what it believes will be relevant. Users can choose to follow hashtag communities or “pin” them to bring that content to the top.
To best be used effectively, hashtags should be neat. They should be clear, short and easy to understand, and should contain capital letters if more than one word is used (e.g. #SocialSelling). While I emphasise its significance, hashtags shouldn’t be used excessively. Too many hashtags actually make posts harder to read and therefore, easier to ignore. This also prevents posts from looking like spam or too attention seeking. Most experts find two per post appropriate. However the challenge with using minimal hashtags is ensuring you use the most relevant and popular ones that will give the content the best quality exposure. Not only is it beneficial to use hashtags that describe what the content is about, it also helps to consider what words clients may use to look for you (e.g. #SalesExpert).
I suggest rotating between a range of hashtags. Use popular hashtags to broaden you reach, but also use a unique hashtag that separates yourself from the noise. This also makes it easier for people who enjoy your content and business to find you specifically. For example, you may notice that I use #WednesdayMotivation for my posts that contain inspiring and motivational quotes.
LinkedIn hashtags are not only limited to articles and posts. They can also be woven into your headline and profile, which increases a profile’s chances of appearing in searches.
Adopting this tool from other social media sites, LinkedIn recognises the many ways that hashtags improve its user’s experience. It’s useful to listen and engage in conversations through hashtags, especially while they’re still new on LinkedIn. Unlike Twitter, hashtags are yet to get lost amongst the noise on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn professionals should use that to their advantage!
Want some more tips about maximising your LinkedIn experience to you and your businesses’ full advantage?