LinkedIn Hashtags: A Little-Used Personal Brand-Building Tactic | Branding
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 those metadata tags. You even see them on TV commercials.
Turns out there’s a good reason, and those who use hashtags are pretty savvy . . . when they use them wisely.
LinkedIn is one of the last of the big social media platforms to join the hashtag party, although they briefly toyed with them in 2013. As of September 2016, hashtags are back on LinkedIn, maybe for good.
Using hashtags on LinkedIn – and other social media – is a simple way to:
- Promote your personal brand promise,
- Draw people to you,
- Motivate people to want to connect with you, and
- 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, and become aware of you and your personal brand, or unique value proposition.
Use hashtags when you:
- Share (or post) an update, and
- Write commentary before publishing an article on LinkedIn.
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 “share (or post) an update” or publish a post on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform, add hashtags to your commentary that tell people what your update or post is about.
TIP: Many LinkedIn strategists advise putting hashtags at the bottom of your updates, so they don’t distract from the content or lead people away before they read the entire update.
LinkedIn’s Help pages describe how to add hashtags, and explain:
“Once you’ve added hashtags to your article, members will be able to find it by searching for that word or phrase on LinkedIn. Hashtags will not be added to the article itself, but can be found in the commentary that shows above your article in the LinkedIn feed.”
Search hash-tagged relevant words when you’re gathering competitive intelligence on your target industry, companies, and employees, or to identify people to connect with on LinkedIn . . . or when you want to keep up with trending topics. You’ll discover posts on LinkedIn containing that hashtag or topic.
Additionally, you can create hashtags around conversations, events or campaigns, and then promote them by frequently using the hashtags within your LinkedIn communications.
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, or by using 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.
And refrain from adding hashtags too liberally. Use them meaningfully and mostly to differentiate the value you offer.
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.
For example, if you are a CFO or other Finance executive, some of the relevant keywords to use and hashtag might be:
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.
You’ll be viewed as social media-savvy and up to date with the new world of work and careers in the digital age.
On Twitter, popular hashtags may become trending topics, making your messages even more likely to be seen.
My advice – Make your social media messaging even more potent. Keep at hand your list of relevant keywords and phrases that support your personal brand . . . ready to pop into your posts and commentary on LinkedIn and other social media. It doesn’t take long to do, but can make a big difference.
This article was first published for my Personal Branding Expert gig at Job-Hunt.org.
Need help and advice to better leverage LinkedIn?
I offer a LinkedIn Strategy Session for Executive Job Search and Personal Branding. (The link will take you to the Executive Career Brand site.)
More About Personal Branding and LinkedIn for Executive Job Search
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