While social media networks are often used to connect individuals and businesses with prospects and clients, social networks also work as search engines. And, the way to search on a social media network is with hashtags.
What is a Hashtag?
According to Wikipedia a hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other microblogging services, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging which makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content.
Users create and use hashtags by placing the pound sign # (also known as the hash character) in front of a string of alphanumeric characters, usually a word or unspaced phrase, in or at the end of a message. Searching for that hashtag will yield each message that has been tagged with it. A hashtag archive is consequently collected into a single stream under the same hashtag. For example, on the photo-sharing service Instagram, the hashtag #bluesky allows users to find all the posts that have been tagged using that hashtag.
Why would you use Hashtags on LinkedIn?
First of all it allows other LinkedIn users who are interested in this topic find your content more easily.
Second of all it helps you connect with other like-minded individuals who share the same interests.
4 different ways for using LinkedIn Hashtags
Hashtags have existed on LinkedIn for a while now but last month LinkedIn announced that they are rolling out ‘new ways to help their members discover and join conversations on LinkedIn based on common topics and interests.’
1. Use Hashtags in your updates
This was already an option before, but with the new update LinkedIn is now automatically suggesting relevant hashtags when you’re posting an update. With this strategy, people who aren’t a part of your current LinkedIn network will be able to find you in their hashtag search results.
2. Using Hasthags in your LinkedIn Pulse Articles
If you’re using LinkedIn pulse you must have noticed that organic reach and engagement have gone down a lot since this has been rolled out to all users. By adding hashtags to the bottom of your article and also inserting the same hashtags to your status updates when you publish your LinkedIn pulse article you increase your chances of getting your articles seen by people outside of your network.
3. Follow your favorite Hashtags
If you check your left side bar you’ll notice a new frame called ‘Your communities’. You can pin your favorite hashtags that you’re following in your LinkedIn feed. To manage them click the Edit icon next to Your communities in the left rail of your LinkedIn homepage. From there, you’ll see a list of hashtags you follow. Clicking the Pin icon allows you to quickly access that hashtag topic.
To discover more topics click on ‘Discover’ which takes you to this page, a hashtag library so to speak. I haven’t yet found a way to search this page, hopefully they will add that soon.
4. Search for content via Hashtags
Also, consider manually monitoring hashtags on LinkedIn to find strategic opportunities to engage with your target audience. Sometimes our own newsfeed does not include enough interesting content to engage with. This is a great opportunity to get outside of your network and find content that is relevant to you.
What’s your opinion on the new hasthag feature on LinkedIn? Will you use them?