How to use hashtags on Linkedin and own the conversation

Remember playing tag in primary school? Let me help… you’re frantically running after people, desperately trying to get them, so that you’re not ‘it’; because back then the worst thing you could be is ‘it’.

Now thanks to social media, being ‘it’ is exactly what you need to be, whether you want to or not. It’s also why marketing feels so uncomfortable to people who can easily picture a rotary phone. We weren’t brought up to toot our own horn, be a tall poppy or proudly declare ourselves ‘it’. It just feels wrong.

On other platforms, those targeted at the masses, the genpop, the genYs & Zeds -  including #twitter, #facebook, #snapchat, #youtube, #pinterest and my favourite #instagram, tagging is as native to spending time on the site as is the thumbs-up sign.

However Linkedin is like social media royalty. We’re above all that tagging nonsense right? We’re professional and serious and career-focussed. We’re not on here for entertainment; gosh no!

Sorry folks. Tagging has come to Linkedin and if you want to be ‘it’ in the social media playground (and believe me you probably do) then you can get in on the ground floor. There’s not that much action around hashtags now but the point of getting your head around this new thing early is to be ahead of the game before hashtags really take off on #linkedin, like they have on other platforms.

For #nonprofits, #community, #socialenterprise and #member organisations, Linkedin is unlike other platforms precisely because it’s pitched as a serious and professional site. It’s where you form #partnerships, share your message and thought #leadership ideas, or find great staff and possibly even some funding and support.

Linkedin Is rolling out hashtags or ‘tagging’ across the platform in stages. Sadly, I just wasted 30 minutes looking for it on my laptop and mobile app site, but if you’ve got premium or you’re one of the lucky ‘chosen’ few then you’ll already have this feature under your ‘discover more’ tab (I’m guessing it’s a tab since I don’t have this? Let me know in the comments please).

So how do you approach incorporating hashtags into your Linkedin sharing? Let’s break it down...

Search meaningful conversations using hashtags

You can find articles and posts on a particular topic using hashtags. Either type the term [eg: #socialmarketing] into the search bar, either online or on the app, or click on any hashtag you see in a post that interests you.

Once the feature is fully rolled out to all, you’ll be able to choose and group the topics that interest you and see them first in your feed.

It’s unclear how #hashtags will affect #LinkedinGroups; whether they’ll sit alongside groups or supercede them over time. I personally stopped using groups when Facebook groups took off but this feature may still be useful for communities of practice. #communityofpractice

Create your own conversations with hashtags on Linkedin

Investigate which hashtags have a good following in your field (just click around) - remembering that as a new feature there won’t be that many at the moment.

Take a look at the leaders in your space, the ones with the most followers for instance, and see the hashtags they use. Pay attention to who is using that hashtag and how they use it in tandem with their content before adding any hashtags to your own strategy. It's important to verify whether the hashtag is actually popular and that you have the correct meaning for it.

Decide which hashtags represent you or your organisation best and add those to your posts, comments and possibly even your bio.

You can either incorporate hashtags throughout your posts like I’ve done here or add them at the end of your post or comment. There’s currently no limit to the number of hashtags you can use per post, but like on other forms of social, using too many can seem desperate or salesy.

Also, you won’t be able to edit or delete hashtags you’ve added after posting even if you edit the post later.

Be a thought leader on linkedin with hashtags

I believe that hashtags are more powerful if you are ‘it’. Being it means that your organisation and it’s team are thought leaders or influencers so you have a bigger audience, bigger reach and therefore, as a #missiondriven organisation, have more impact and more results.

To help make your organisation or yourself ‘it’ on Linkedin, create your own meaningful hashtags to help people find you. These are the hashtags that you will use and ‘own’. You’re aiming to be the ‘it’ of the conversation that is swirling around your hashtag.

How to use hashtags to reach your target

Eventually we will all have a ‘Your Community’ option and ‘Discover More’ tab. You’ll be able to find, follow and pin your favourite hashtags and thus, conversations. Your pinned tags will mean you see that content first. The Discover feature will also show how many people follow that tag, hence how popular or niche it is.

This means that you want to use hashtags that your clients, customers, supporters and communities would be interested in. If they’re searching, they need to find you. Again, this will effect groups.

Avoid hashtag overwhelm

Social Media platforms seem to change daily - the feed, the features, the scope - it’s hard to keep up as a media professional, nevermind as a hardworking, under-resourced social enterprise or community organisation or charity.

The best way to stay on top of these changes and manage the overwhelm and the process is to have as many people in your organisation - including volunteers - knowledgeable and trained to help you spread the word and activate your #strategy.

I’d like to help, get in touch here or check out

#marketing #promotions #socialmedia