If you’ve been active at all on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, you know about hashtags. However, you may not know much about LinkedIn hashtags.
Maybe you’re feeling inundated by those little cross-hatch figures or pound signs. No wonder. Hashtags are everywhere.
It seems that anytime you see any kind of online communication – on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. – it’s loaded with them.
The History of Hashtags
Invented by social technology guru Chris Messina, hashtags first landed on Twitter in 2007.
In a fascinating article about the history of Twitter hashtags, co-founder of Exist Belle Beth Cooper noted that Chris:
“wanted to find a way to incorporate hashtags into his current use of Twitter, so that SMS or IM clients could be used to interact with hashtags, and no web-based management would be required to set them up.
Chris intended them to act as meta data for a tweet. That is, something to provide extra information about a tweet, like where you are or what event you’re referring to.”
LinkedIn is one of the last of the big social media platforms to join the hashtag party. First toying with them in 2013, they brought them back for good in 2016.
Using LinkedIn Hashtags
Using hashtags on LinkedIn – and other social media – is a relatively simple way to:
- Promote your personal brand promise
- Draw people to you
- Motivate people to want to connect with you
- Potentially influence people to help you meet your career goals
In case you’re in the dark about what hashtags are and what they do, I’ll start with a description:
Hashtags are used to categorize relevant keywords and phrases. They are a way to label themes or topics in social media messages, to categorize them and make messages with these keywords easier to find and follow online.
In other words, hashtags used with keywords make them show up more easily in search. If you post a message using hashtags, people looking for information about those keywords will be more likely to find your messages. In other words, they’ll become aware of you and your personal brand, or unique value proposition.
How to create and use hashtags
Begin keywords and keyword phrases with the symbol “#” – with no punctuation or spaces between the words, such as:
You’ll find the symbol on your keyboard above the number “3″.
When I’m using hashtags on a phrase, I usually capitalize the first letter of each word, so it’s easier for humans to read. Search engines don’t care whether or not you capitalize.
When you post an update or publish an article on LinkedIn, add hashtags to tell people what your update or post is about.
Search hash-tagged relevant words:
- when you’re gathering competitive intelligence on your target industry, companies, and employees.
- to identify people to connect with on LinkedIn.
- when you want to keep up with trending topics.
You’ll discover posts on LinkedIn containing that hashtag or topic.
In addition, you can create hashtags around conversations, events or campaigns. After that, you can promote them by frequently using the hashtags within your LinkedIn communications.
Don’t overdo it with hashtags
Do your network (and potential new members of your network) a favor. Don’t overdo it by constantly blasting the same information with the same hashtags. Don’t use frivolous or brand-tarnishing hashtags like #IHateMyJob or #DontBuyProductsFrom [name of company]. Hashtags are not a license to be snarky, or to post unprofessional information.
I agree with Chris that it’s better to insert hashtags at the end of a tweet, or LinkedIn update, to keep things cleaner. He said:
“Used sparingly, respectfully and in appropriate measure, I think that the value generated from the use of hashtags is substantial enough to warrant their continued use.”
What words and phrases should you hashtag?
Those that are relevant to your areas of expertise and represent the value you offer your target employers. Typically, they are your hard skills.
Go back to the research you’ve done on these employers, to identify the skill sets and qualifications that make you a good fit for them. Those words and phrases are likely the best ones to hashtag.
Hashtags for a finance executive
For instance, if you are a CFO or other Finance executive, some of the relevant keywords to use and hashtag might be:
Hashtags for an IT executive
Another example, if you are an IT Project Manager, some of the relevant keywords to use and hashtag might be:
If you’ve already filled in the “Skills & Endorsements” section of your LinkedIn profile with a robust list of your top skills (and you should do this), these are the ones you’ll want to hashtag.
Using hashtags regularly gives you another bonus. You will be viewed as social media-savvy and up-to-date with the new world of work and careers in the digital age.
The original version of this article was first published for my LinkedIn Personal Branding gig on Job-Hunt.org.