LinkedIn is an unbeatable platform for publishing B2B content.
LinkedIn is prime content real estate for B2B Marketers. There are many reasons why business make it a major part of their social media strategies, including:
- Thought Leadership: LinkedIn is one of the best spaces for publishing long-form content that builds credibility and the perception of expertise among B2B professionals.
- Engagement Opportunities: The platform offers numerous ways to build engagement with leads, customers, and peers through posts, comments, groups, articles, and more.
- SEO: Google search engines crawl every post on LinkedIn, supporting your SEO efforts.
What’s missing from that the list above? LinkedIn’s hashtag functionality. Unlike consumer-oriented social platforms, LinkedIn’s professional base provides extensive opportunities to leverage hashtags as a B2B marketing tool.
You can’t afford to pass up hashtags on LinkedIn.
The question is why–even though hashtags are intrinsic to Twitter, Instagrams and other social platforms–aren’t hashtags commonplace on LinkedIn? The most likely reason is that the platform only started using them in 2018. As a result, many people are still unaware that it’s an option, they may not think it’s professional, or they simply don’t know if it’s worth it.
As for wondering if it’s professional, LinkedIn recommends using hashtags somewhat differently than using them on consumer-based platforms. As for wondering if it’s worth it, the answer is yes. LinkedIn is the top professional platform, with an enormous B2B audience just waiting to find your content—users who can turn into leads:
- LinkedIn currently has over 610 million members.
- The network has 303 million active monthly users, 40% of which visit the site daily.
- 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a content distribution channel.
- LinkedIn is responsible for 80% of B2B leads from social media.
- 46% percent of the social media traffic to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn members are the folks B2B marketers need to reach, and hashtags are one way to do it. As publishing on LinkedIn continue to rise, members are enjoying the new hashtag capabilities to sift though the content jungle, just as do on the Internet as a whole. The hashtag train is leaving the LinkedIn station, and you can’t afford to get left behind.
The Value of Using Hashtags on LinkedIn
One more interesting factoid: 91% of business executives report that LinkedIn is the best source for content relevant to their profession. They turn to LinkedIn with their professional hats on, specifically to get more insights into their industry and to help solve problems.
Why wouldn’t an executive with limited time want to use hashtags to identify exactly where they can find the right content?
Given all the numbers, the question is not why you should use hashtags on LinkedIn, but why not? It would be a shame (and simply not a good marketing decision) to pass up an opportunity to be associated with the topics your audience cares about by using hashtags to call out relevant content.
Here are some more convincing reasons for you to pay attention to hashtags on LinkedIn:
- User Insight: Hashtags on LinkedIn allow you to follow trending topics, “listen” to your audience, identify issues that are relevant to them, and publish content that provides a better user experience.
- Audience Reach: With improved, more highly focused content, you can reach a broader audience—or increase engagement with a specific segment. It’s a great way to get your updates in front of people outside your immediate LinkedIn network without needing to be connected.
- Help Users Find Content: As with Twitter and other social media, hashtags help you categorize your posts, making it easier to find other relevant content you have published. And when members search on a hashtag you have used, it’s easier for them to discover you.
- Differentiate your brand: Branded and unusual hashtags can make you stand out from your competitors. Plus, they help you track who is interested in what you’re saying.
- Expertise & Engagement: LinkedIn recommends that hashtags be used on their platform to establish credibility and expertise, reach people who value your insights, and start meaningful conversations about shared interests.
Are You Up-to-Speed on Using Hashtags on LinkedIn?
In talking to some clients recently, I found that many (as individuals as well as on corporate pages) weren’t utilizing hashtags on LinkedIn—even though they were successfully using them on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. This applies to both individual professionals and businesses.
Here’s a quick run-down on some ways to making more of your LinkedIn activities using hashtags, many of which are quite simple. This isn’t a deep dive or “how-to,” but will help you consider the ways in which you can get more from LinkedIn with a few simple hashtag techniques.
Start by adding hashtags to your status updates.
The most common-sense way to start using hashtags is by adding them into your status updates. You can place them below your update, as seen in Social Media Examiner example on the left, above. Alternatively, you can embed them into the wording of the post, as you see in the Electronics and Semiconductor example on the right.
I think adding them below the post provides a cleaner look that is easier to read. It may also make LinkedIn users more comfortable since they are not used to seeing and clicking on hashtags on LinkedIn.
Unlike Twitter or Instagram, LinkedIn recommends using three hashtags—again, to avoid confusion and maintain a business-oriented look. I’d say any more than five looks spammy and is total overkill.
Use hashtags as keywords in LinkedIn articles.
The reason I said that posts were the most common-sense way to use hashtags is that, well, they act like the typical the hashtags we’re used to—links that bring you to relevant discussion group.
What happens with hashtags in an article? While you can add hashtags in the body copy or at the end of a LinkedIn article, just like in a post, they won’t be clickable (also known as non-tagged keywords). It’s still useful, however, because it can help LinkedIn members can find your article by entering that hashtag as a search word or phrase in the LinkedIn search bar.
One way you can add hashtag functionality to your article is in the “Tell your network what your article is about” field that appears after you click “Publish.” Rather than just type hashtags into the field (which looks a bit careless), include a short introduction followed by 2-3 hashtags (which will be clickable). These hashtags will not be added to the article itself but can be found in the commentary that shows above your article in the user’s LinkedIn feed.
Note: You cannot edit or remove hashtags after you’ve published your article, but you can go back in and edit or delete your update.
The jury’s still out on using Hashtags in profiles and company pages.
As with LinkedIn articles, hashtags used in profiles and company pages are not clickable. However, they can be useful in highlighting professional skills or aspects of what a company offers. These hashtags can help you get found in LinkedIn’s search engine when members are looking for someone with your capabilities.
If you choose to use hashtags on a profile or company page, I would do it sparingly, at the end of a section, to highlight your skills areas, as shown in the image above. Again, I recommend not including them within the body copy because it makes the overall profile more difficult to read (and a bit confusing since they are not clickable).
Engage with LinkedIn members using comments that include hashtags.
Commenting on posts in your feed or LinkedIn groups helps build your network, and savvy comments help you get noticed. Make the most of your comments by adding hashtags to reinforce your association with relevant topics and help members with your same interests find you.
Social listening for engagement:
Social listening is also part of engagement. Following the right hashtags lets you monitor discussions on topics that are either broadly relevent to your brand (such as #SEO) or those related to a narrower industry niche (such as #SEOtools) .
Here’s how: Just type #(YourTopic) into the LinkedIn search bar and click “Follow.” As you type, LinkedIn will provide you with a list of similar topics (see left side of image above). Click on a hashtag and the page shows how many people are following it, indicating its popularity. Once you’ve selected which hashtags to follow, it’s easy to keep current with what people are talking about in real-time, and then use that information to create useful, timely content.
On the left side of your LinkedIn homepage, you’ll see a list of the hashtags you are following. Plus you can easily find more hashtag topics with the “See all” and “Discover” options (see right side of image above).
Explore the best hashtags for your audience and brand.
Considering you should only use three to five hashtags (three is LinkedIn’s recommendation), there are a number of ways you could go. I recommend a combination of broad hashtags, niche hashtags and custom “branded” hashtags (or similar combination).
Here are several types of hashtags you can mix and match:
- Broad, popular hashtags, such as #Marketing. These will be faster-moving, high-volume discussions. While there’s more exposure in terms of people following a popular hashtag, there’s also more competition–you’ll be visible for a shorter period of time.
- Niche or industry hashtags, such as #TechnologyMarketing or #SmallBusinessMarketing. These will have fewer eyeballs. However, the discussion will be slower-moving, providing you with longer visibility. The audience may be more targeted to your brand and topic.
- Brand-defining hashtags, such as #BostonTechBlogger. Keep it short (no more than several words) and easy to remember. Search for it on LinkedIn and see if anyone else is using it. If not, your custom hashtag is one way for LinkedIn members to recognize you among the posts and comments they see. Another benefit: you can search on your custom hashtag to see when people share your posts so you can track them more easily.
- Location-based hashtags, such as #BostonMarketing, are good if the post is relevant primarily to a certain city or region.
- Event hashtags can help you attract attendees, keep them updated on the event, and promote conversation among attendees.
- LinkedIn Recommendations, which will appear at the bottom of posts as you create them. This can help take out some of the guess-work if you’re stuck.
Build hashtags into your LinkedIn strategy.
There are so many good reasons to get ahead of the game by using hashtags on LinkedIn. You’ll optimize your content, promote engagement, and be able to gain more insight into your customers—so you can be the source they turn to next time they are looking for someone like you. If you need an expert in creating articles or other content for LinkedIn, contact Boston-based Westebbe Marketing, (617) 699.4462, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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