Are you using hashtags on LinkedIn?
Don’t worry, it’s not a trick question.
You’ve probably used hashtags on Twitter and Instagram because it’s the done thing. You may have started using hashtags on Facebook? But you might be caught in two minds about using them on LinkedIn. Are they even allowed on the ‘professional’ network?
Well, the short answer is, “Yes, they are!”
And if you want to reach a wider audience with your content, then it makes sense to start using them.
But before you dive in, you need to know how to use them correctly so you can create the right impression.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to use and optimise your hashtags on LinkedIn so you can get your content discovered by more people outside your immediate network.
But first, here’s a brief history of hashtags on LinkedIn …
When did hashtags arrive on LinkedIn?
Hashtags have had a topsy-turvy ride on LinkedIn. A few years back they were present but LinkedIn “rolled it back due to poor user response.”
In 2016, they were available on the mobile app only: “Hashtags included in your posts (or others) are now tappable and lead to search results so that you can discover other posts with the same hashtag.”
Then, in 2017, hashtags reappeared on the desktop platform as part of the new user interface. But still, nobody knew what they were supposed to do or how to use them.
By early 2018, reports surfaced of some users being ‘forced’ to insert hashtags into their posts:
@LinkedInHelp - why am I unable to post on LI w/o using a hashtag? Sidenote, I already looked in the help center and was unable to find a way to contact the support desk. So here I am, reaching out to LI via Twitter.— Lexy Quad (@lexyquad) April 5, 2018
LinkedIn confirmed they were running a beta test “to better understand the value of using hashtags in posts to help members discover and join relevant conversations.”
But now, it’s safe to say that LinkedIn hashtags are back and working. So let’s take a look at how you can make the most of them.
How do hashtags work on LinkedIn?
Hashtags on LinkedIn work in a similar way to Twitter and Instagram – to categorise content.
Hashtags help users find content on a specific topic. And, if you add hashtags to your content, they’ll help you get discovered by other users, including those not connected to you. What's more, you can follow hashtags on LinkedIn, meaning that posts containing your chosen ones will appear on your feed.
From a marketing perspective, that’s the winner – making your LinkedIn content available to a broader audience.
Do hashtags work on LinkedIn Profiles and Company Pages?
You can add hashtags to LinkedIn Profiles and Company Pages, but they don’t behave in the same way. They’re not searchable, and they don’t highlight as a blue clickable link, which makes them a non-tagged keyword.
For example, when I search for #socialselling in ‘People’ (rather than the default ‘Content’) I see these results:
My first result shows Sarah Santacroce, who doesn’t have the hashtag in her Profile Headline and Summary, although she does reference the term ‘social selling’ – without the hashtag – in the Experience section of her profile:
The second result shows Steve Jones, who does have the hashtag in his Headline and Summary:
The same happens if you search for hashtags in ‘Companies’. For example, DigitalMarketer uses #socialselling (and other hashtags) in the ‘About us’ section of their company page:
How to use hashtags on LinkedIn
There are two sides to using hashtags on LinkedIn:
Finding relevant hashtags to follow, so you can join a conversation.
Adding relevant hashtags to your content, so more people can discover you.
Let’s take a look:
How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn posts
At the top of the homepage, click into the ‘Share an article, photo, video or idea’ field to write your post content:
Add hashtags – using the # symbol – in the body of your post or at the end of the message:
How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn articles (aka Pulse)
From the homepage, click ‘Write an article’ under the status update field. You can include hashtags in the body or at the end of your article, like the post update above.
When you’ve finished writing your article, click ‘Publish’ in the top right corner. A pop-up window will appear. In the ‘Tell your network what your article is about’ field, you can add a short intro about the article including relevant hashtags:
Note: You cannot edit or remove hashtags after you’ve published your article.
How to add hashtags to your LinkedIn comments
You can also add hashtags when you comment on a post or an article. It’s another way of reinforcing your topic and making it discoverable:
How to find new hashtags on LinkedIn
LinkedIn lets you find and follow hashtags on the topics you’re interested in.
Start by entering the topic you’d like to find in the Search bar at the top of the page. For example, when you type #socialmedia you get a list of social media related hashtags:
Select a hashtag from the list of suggestions – e.g. #socialmediamarketing – to see content related to the hashtag topic in your feed.
Click the ‘Follow’ button at the top of the page to add the hashtag topic to your list:
How to manage the hashtags you follow
You can manage the hashtags you follow from your LinkedIn homepage. On the bottom left-hand side is a section where you will find your 'Recent' searches and activity, 'Groups' and ‘Followed Hashtags’:
In the ‘Groups’ and ‘Followed’ sections, LinkedIn displays up to three results with options to see more:
Click ‘Show more’ to expand the list and display more of the groups or hashtags you’re following:
Click ‘Followed Hashtags’ to show the full list of hashtags you’re currently following (here you can unfollow them or see recent posts using said hashtags).
At the bottom of this menu, click on the ‘Discover more’ link to reveal more hashtags that might be of interest:
Click the ‘+ Follow’ link to start following a new hashtag from the list:
Note: LinkedIn displays the number of followers so you can see how popular a hashtag is.
Top hashtags on LinkedIn 2021
Hashtags on LinkedIn continue to be adopted in 2021, with many having millions of followers. The most popular hashtags on LinkedIn usually consist of one word and are exceptionally broad, making them applicable to many businesses and individuals.
We've curated a list of 25 popular LinkedIn hashtags that are both, relevant to marketers and high in follower count (data correct as of May 2021):
- #innovation - 38,872,884 followers
- #management - 36,099,676 followers
- #digitalmarketing - 27,452,584 followers
- #creativity - 25,272,316 followers
- #technology - 26,488,881 followers
- #futurism - 23,567,500 followers
- #entrepreneurship - 22,797,504 followers
- #startups - 21,298,852 followers
- #marketing - 20,382,185 followers
- #socialmedia -19,756,205 followers
- #socialnetworking -19,114,722 followers
- #branding -18,080,164 followers
- #motivation -15,722,415 followers
- #personaldevelopment -14,768,913 followers
- #jobinterviews - 14,405,252 followers
- #sustainability - 13,291,913 followers
- #education - 9,643,787 followers
- #productivity - 8,498,419 followers
- #travel - 7,009,126 followers
- #sales - 5,863,978 followers
- #fundraising - 5,770,074 followers
- #law - 5,520,612 followers
- #culture - 4,728,967 followers
- #fashion - 4,215,758 followers
- #business - 3,663,739 followers
- #networking - 3,566,063 followers
- #hiring - 2,443,907 followers
- #health - 2,270,357 followers
- #inspiration -1,032,759 followers
- #success -691,515 followers
To gain a more tailored recommendation of what hashtags to follow, you can use the recommendations in your feed which you can access through your personal LinkedIn account (as mentioned above).
However, before you rush off to add any of these hashtags to your posts, remember that with such a high volume of followers and posts trickling in, your posts may go unnoticed by new audiences, and that would defeat the purpose of using hashtags altogether!
Make sure to also use niche hashtags that are suitable for your brand (or are what potential customers may be following).
Once you do choose a hashtag - don't stop there, and do an additional check for similar hashtags. LinkedIn's hashtags and their followers vary a lot when it comes to variations, even when they have a similar meaning. For example:
- #socialmedia -19,756,133 followers 🚀
- #socialmediamarketing -146,435 followers 📈
The same goes for hashtags in other spaces:
- #entrepreneurship -22,797,459 followers 🚀
- #entrepreneur - 510,988 followers 📈
Finally, just because a hashtag doesn't have a lot of followers yet, it doesn't mean it won't grow in the future. For example, the hashtag#entrepreneur has gained 10x more followers between 2019 and 2021!
So if you find a hashtag that makes sense in a specific niche, you have the chance to become an early adopter.
10 tips for optimising hashtags on LinkedIn
Now you know how to manage your hashtags on LinkedIn, follow these tips to make the most of every post you publish.
#1 - Make sure your hashtags are visible
There’s no point using a hashtag if you’re operating in private mode on LinkedIn. Check your profile settings to make sure it’s public to everyone, else your content (including hashtags) won’t get discovered.
#2 - Only use relevant hashtags
Just because a hashtag is popular, doesn't mean that you should use it. For example, if your brand is promoting financial services on LinkedIn, then using the #fitness hashtag as part of your posts isn't going to attract the right clientelle. Keep hashtags relevant to those you're trying to reach.
Top Tip: Find relevant hashtag holidays to celebrate on your brands LinkedIn page with our 2021 Social Media Holiday Calendar 🎉
#3 - Don’t use too many hashtags
There’s no limit to how many hashtags you can add to your content. But if you use too many your post will look spammy. LinkedIn best practice suggests that , three to five hashtags is plenty.
Some people fall into the trap of cross-posting content from Instagram that includes multiple hashtags. And then their LinkedIn post looks awful:
#4 - Format your hashtags
LinkedIn defaults to lowercase when it displays hashtags; e.g. #socialmediamarketing. But it’s considered a good practice to use capitals at the start of each word, so it’s easier for people to decipher; e.g. #SocialMediaMarketing.
Note: Abbreviated acronym hashtags are not standard on LinkedIn. For example, on Twitter, the common acronym for #SocialMediaMarketing is #SMM, but LinkedIn prefers the full version.
#5 - Combine hashtags with your message
It’s always best to add at least one sentence to your post rather than using hashtags exclusively. Even when you post an image or video, add a short sentence along with your hashtags.
A splattering of hashtags with no context looks lazy and spammy. And LinkedIn’s algorithm stops irrelevant, low-quality, and spammy content from reaching a user’s feed.
#6 - Place hashtags sensibly
You can place hashtags in your message or at the end, but don’t hashtag every word. As Nick Diakanastasis commented:
Write your message first and then see if it makes sense to convert a word into a hashtag, or add a hashtag at the end.
Don’t tag words that aren’t important! Remember to use a hashtag to categorise your post.
#7 - Create your own LinkedIn hashtags
Creating a custom hashtag is an excellent way to build your brand across all social platforms, and it makes it easy for followers to identify and connect with you. Rebecca Whitlocke commented:
“I would suggest that for anyone using their own custom hashtag to keep it short and memorable - I’ve seen a few recently that are 7 words strung together.”
But there’s another advantage, too. Custom hashtags help you track shares of your LinkedIn posts. As John Espirian explains:
“Searching for my own hashtags means I can see when people share my posts. Shares aren’t always easy to see, especially on LinkedIn desktop, so this is a good way to track them.”
For more tips, check out John’s article on how to create a branded hashtag for your business.
#8 - Don’t use hashtags for mentions
If you want to reference an individual or a company then use the @mention functionality rather than a hashtag:
#9 - Test your hashtags
Don’t test your hashtags like you would spaghetti – throwing a load of hashtags into a post and hoping one of them sticks is not good practice.
Instead, record what hashtags you’ve used on each post and see which ones bring the most engagement.
#10 - Always check your spelling
Multi-word hashtags can be overlooked in the final proofread for a post, but it's important to make sure you're conveying the correct message. Always double check spelling to avoid embarassment, confusion or missing your intended audience.
Hashtags are alive and kicking on LinkedIn.
Use hashtags to make it easier for other users to discover your content, and help you find and connect with other users who share common interests.
Add relevant hashtags to your content as you write posts and add comments, (or use the LinkedIn suggestions if you’re unsure), to make the most of every post you publish for your brand or your clients.
But remember to follow the tips above to ensure your hashtags are a success.
*This blog was updated in May 2021 and originally published in January 2019.