Just in case you missed the news last year, LinkedIn made a return to the classic hashtags as part of their continued expansion, and this is great news for B2B marketers. By now, you’re probably accustomed to the “What people are talking about now” panel which contains the best conversations and new stories from any given day. However, knowing how to leverage a brand with hashtags on LinkedIn is something entirely different.
Change in Focus for LinkedIn
While other platforms seem to be moving towards paid content and marketing, LinkedIn is moving in the opposite direction and is leaning towards organic reach. Not only have hashtags returned, the option to post to different groups through APIs has been removed and group content is also getting more exposure on feeds.
From a marketing perspective, this comes at a beneficial time because it means we can create valuable content with realistic hopes that our audience will read it. From here, we can engage with prospective customers and show the value of a service.
In the past year or so we’ve seen some fantastic industry-related conversations start with the use of hashtags. As long as the relevant hashtag is included in a post update, users can join debates and provide their thoughts. Of course, this means businesses can demonstrate their expertise in an industry or simply share interesting topics with their followers (while also including a link to a relevant blog post).
How to Introduce Hashtags
At the moment, you’re probably thinking of hashtags in posts, and this is the most common method of integrating them on LinkedIn. However, you don’t need to rely on this alone because there are other methods too. Here’s how you can introduce hashtags:
Status Updates — As we’ve just seen, you can add a hashtag with the # symbol at any time while writing a status update. Fortunately, for those who are new to the whole idea, LinkedIn will suggest certain hashtags that apply according to the text you’ve already written.
Comments — Elsewhere, you can comment on articles and posts while using hashtags. If you want a specific topic to gain exposure, this is a great way to do it.
Articles — We aren’t saying you should fill your articles with hashtags, but there is an opportunity when you’re asked to “Tell your network what your article is about”. Take your time with this one because it is the first thing your audience reads.
With these three methods, you have lots of opportunities to get started and enjoy growth on LinkedIn this year.
Using Hashtags for B2B Marketing — 10 Tips
If you want to start embracing this helpful change from LinkedIn, keep reading because we have ten insightful tips. As well as explaining how hashtags can be utilized, we’ll also provide some insights so you can adopt a more effective strategy than the competition.
1. Add Value, Not Replace
First and foremost, the return of hashtags doesn’t mean that you’ll suddenly get away with mundane posts. Yes, you need high-quality content before then complementing the descriptive text and Call-To-Action with a hashtag. At all times, you need to keep the goal of your post in mind.
As an additional tip, don’t make every single word into a hashtag; this is hard to read and can frustrate the reader.
2. Search and Start Following
Have you found a specific hashtag that applies to your niche? Wouldn’t it be great to keep an eye on this hashtag? Well, now you can with the “Follow” button. Using the search bar, type a chosen hashtag or anything that relates to your industry. Once you’ve selected one, you’ll see the following it has and you’ll also have the option to follow yourself.
After choosing a handful that relate to your business, find the “Your Communities” section. From there, you can manage all Groups, Hashtags, and Pinned items.
3. Don’t Overdo It
If you’re like us, you’ve seen those Facebook or Twitter posts just filled to the brim with blue hashtags. In our experience, LinkedIn is very similar to Twitter in that three to five hashtags are enough. Don’t feel as though you need to do a full A-Z of hashtags. If you post regularly, you can target various hashtags over time, instead of placing all of them in one post.
4. Start Your Own Hashtag
We understand you want to join conversations and gain exposure, but we also recommend testing your own hashtags. As long as it’s short and easy to copy, there’s no reason why you can’t get other people using the hashtag, too.
Especially for those who want to track shares, this is a great tactic. With custom hashtags, you can stay on top of the conversation.
5. Remember Spelling, Grammar, and Correct Form
When selling to businesses, you’re targeting people accustomed to the business world. Before they spend any money, they need to understand and trust a brand. Regardless of the business type, poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling will only lead to one result — no sale.
Even with hashtags, there are some rules to follow in this regard:
- Don’t add spaces between words. Hashtags work without spaces between words.
- Capitalize each word so it’s easy to read.
- Check all spelling before posting.
Finally, and this is going to hurt some, hashtags shouldn’t include punctuation marks. We understand it can be painful to see “I’m” as “Im” and “You’re” as “Youre”. However, symbols such as this will break the hashtag and businesses won’t benefit from your marketing efforts.
6. Offer a Full Package
If you post just hashtags alone, it can look a little lazy, and the message can also get lost along the way. Instead, we recommend offering the full package in terms of content. When posting videos and images, add a short message and then the hashtags, too. The more features your post has, the more chance there is of your audience resonating in some way.
As a B2B service, you need to offer quality content rather than share message that look like spam. In fact, your content won’t even get that far because the LinkedIn algorithm will probably pick it up for poor quality and nobody will see it.
7. Make Your Profile Public
Although this might sound obvious, we can’t tell you the number of times we’ve seen people struggle with social media just because their profile hasn’t been set to “Public”. If you want to share all posts to your Twitter and Facebook following too, you can even check this option in your settings. Either way, your profile needs to be public for all of our other tips to work.
8. Use Locations
For many B2B services, they offer products and services that are universal. Therefore, there’s no reason why you can’t play to this and use location-based hashtags. Especially if you want to boost your consumer base and enjoy expansion away from the US, these types of hashtags will bring your brand into the path of those who could potentially have an interest.
According to Hootsuite, there were over 500 million registered users on LinkedIn back in 2018. Of this number, less than 30% were based in the United States. However, in the United Kingdom, it is thought that over 25 million accounts are registered. Considering its population is only 66 million, LinkedIn could be the perfect way to reach out to businesses in the UK, and location-based hashtags make this easy.
9. Check the Suggestions
When writing a post, LinkedIn will suggest hashtags that are relevant to the content itself. More often than not, the suggestions will actually be a good fit for the post so don’t ignore them.
If you don’t have experience with hashtags, it’s an opportunity to learn the type of hashtags that people tend to add to specific posts. Of course, if they aren’t appropriate, don’t feel as though you have to use them.
10. Check Performance
Finally, keep a record of the hashtags you use and how they performed. With a good B2B marketing strategy, you should be checking the performance of your social media posts. When you use specific hashtags, this is even more important.
Using LinkedIn Analytics, you might notice that a certain hashtag always leads to engagement. Alternatively, it might be a certain technique you use for finding hashtags; for example, getting involved in industry-related discussions.
Now is the time to use LinkedIn as a B2B marketing tool, and now is the time to use hashtags. With this guide, you have a promising starting point. Remember, hashtags don’t make up for poor-quality content; they should add value, not replace everything!