The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Hashtags

Hashtags are used across social media platforms to categorise content. They allow us to search for content that we are interested in and enable us to have our content found by new audiences.

LinkedIn only started using hashtags in 2018, and right now, only 1-2% of users are actively creating content on the platform. This means that on LinkedIn, there is significantly less content in comparison to other social media platforms. 

This is important, as it means your hashtag strategy is going to be different on LinkedIn than your other strategies for other social media platforms.

In LinkedIn’s own words, you should use hashtags to:

  • Establish your credibility and expertise
  • Reach people who value your insights
  • Start meaningful conversations over shared interests

In this article, the strategy outlined follows LinkedIn’s ‘best practice’ recommendations, what our team have experienced from creating content, and the advice from leading social media management companies like Hootsuite. 

The best hashtag strategy to use right now on LinkedIn

  • Use 3 hashtags
  • Use LinkedIn search to identify hashtag frequency
  • Place hashtags at the end of content
  • Go big & broad with 2 hashtags and use 1 niche hashtag
  • Use keywords to signpost your content themes

The rest of the article will be explaining WHY this is the best hashtag strategy to use in LinkedIn’s current content climate!

How to use LinkedIn search to identify hashtags to use

When creating content, LinkedIn will suggest to you hashtags to use. Most people don’t know whether to go big and broad with hashtags, for example #socialmedia or whether they should be using hashtags that are more ‘niche’ like #socialmediatips. You can find the answer to this question by using LinkedIn’s search bar.

LinkedIn search bar

Head to the top of your screen and type in the hashtag that you are considering. You will see how many posts have used this hashtag already and how many accounts follow the hashtag.

When you follow a hashtag you will see content in your feed using this hashtag. Content will appear from personal profiles and company pages outside of your network.

“Your news feed is your library. Follow hashtags like #goodnews to see more positive content in your feed every day.”

Steven Bartlett, CEO of Social Chain

The differences between broad and niche hashtags

The most frequently asked question about hashtags is how large or small to go with them. As mentioned earlier in this article, your hashtag strategy on LinkedIn is going to change over time as more and more people create on the platform.

This is because more content means higher competition for your content to be seen in hashtag feeds. In contrast, on Instagram, a more saturated social media platform, the best hashtag strategy is to identify niche hashtags relevant to your target audience.

LinkedIn suggests that we use 3 hashtags and we would always recommend listening to the rare hints the platform tells us about what they are looking for in content. Admittedly, the advice may feel somewhat counterintuitive, because if you do use more than 3 hashtags your post still appears for all of the hashtags used.

However, you want your content to be favoured by the algorithm so that it is shown to more people, and we suspect that LinkedIn recommends 3 hashtags so content looks professional on the platform.

So with 3 hashtags to play with, the best strategy to use right now is a mix of large and small hashtags. You should use two broad hashtags to increase the reach of your content, reserving one hashtag to cover a niche that is relevant to your target audience, or as a personal hashtag for your personal brand or business.

With hashtags you are striking the balance between competition and search volume. Large hashtags have high search volume, meaning they can increase the reach of your posts. But they are also more competitive. Niche hashtags are searched for less, but these hashtags also have less competition.

Let’s explore WHY this is the best strategy right now on LinkedIn, by using the search bar to compare the hashtags of #socialmedia and #socialmediatips.

#socialmedia
#socialmediatips

As you can from the two hashtags, there is a significant difference between how many people follow the more general hashtag #socialmedia, in comparison to the niche hashtag #socialmediatips.

The current consumer behaviour on LinkedIn is that people search for the larger and more general hashtags, so if this is where the attention is, it makes sense that this is what we focus on in the majority of our hashtags. This can have the benefit of increased brand awareness and spikes in engagement when our audience discovers the content.

To summarise, using both broad and niche hashtags allows us to benefit from both. And combined, with high-volume content creation, you can regularly attract your target audience by using hashtags relevant to the content you are creating.

The benefits of creating a personal hashtag

Personal hashtags are when you identify a hashtag you want people to follow, so they can easily see the content you have categorised under this hashtag. Personal hashtags are regularly used on LinkedIn by individuals looking to develop their personal brand. The hashtag may be a phrase or a name that is used to stay in the mind of their audience.

You can use the LinkedIn search bar to identify words related to your name, what you do or your businesses’ slogan. Your personal hashtag should be short, punchy and memorable and it’s best to use a hashtag that hasn’t been used before so only your content appears for it.

The absolute key with personal hashtags is that you find a hashtag you can ‘own’ and that people FOLLOW your tag. If someone follows your hashtag they will receive a notification when you post content.

But you must get creative with this! Don’t send hundreds of direct messages to people asking them to follow your hashtag. This is intrusive and a spammy technique that will not go down well with your audience.

Trending on LinkedIn

What does ‘trending’ on LinkedIn mean?

If you’ve created content on LinkedIn, it’s likely that you have received a notification saying your content has been trending. When you receive this notification for the first time it’s definitely exciting, because usually trending on a social media platform is difficult.

On LinkedIn, when your content trends it means your post is being shown as one of the first posts of a hashtag feed. This is short-lived, but it does have the benefit of your content being seen by people outside of your network who may be interested in the content you create. At best, trending on LinkedIn usually results in a slight spike in engagement from this exposure.

Of course, this is a good thing, but don’t get too carried away, as most people’s content will trend at some point or another. However, your connections do get a notification from LinkedIn that you trended for a hashtag.

This highlights why we should use hashtags related to our content, because if you trended for the hashtag #contentmarketing, for example, this is good for positioning and social selling, as you will be in the minds of clients and prospects that you have in your network.

Bonus hashtag tips

  • Use hashtags smartly to signpost what you create content about. For example, using the hashtag #keynotespeaker will inform even casual scrollers that you are a keynote speaker
  • Get creative. If someone follows a hashtag that you’ve used in content, they’re more likely to be shown that content in their feed. So ask yourself the question ‘How can I get my audience to follow the hashtags I most frequently use?’
  • Use LinkedIn analytics. Remove the guessing game of what hashtags to use by identifying the hashtags you used in your best-performing posts. You can use Shield to identify your best and worst content on LinkedIn
  • Hashtags do not work if they are posted in a comment on a post
  • Hashtags do not work if posted in a LinkedIn article as articles do not appear in hashtags feeds
  • Avoid using spaces, punctuation, special symbols or emojis in hashtags. Your hashtag should be easy for your audience to find

Joe Gannon is a contributing author at SHIELD. He specialises in content marketing and social media strategy. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn or subscribe to his YouTube channel to maximise your LinkedIn content.