You can't move on LinkedIn for hashtags. They're everywhere. Plastered gratuitously across our news feeds.
They're even making inroads into my LinkedIn experience outside of my feed, with the 'communities' addition. This box is full of hashtags I follow that I don't remember following.
So, hashtags look like they're here to stay on LinkedIn and for better or worse people are getting really into them. But what's the point?
To understand that, you need to have a vague understanding of what hashtags do. They're like Post-It notes on the internet. They act as placeholders or bookmarks for a certain topic. With that very basic understanding, you can start to see how easy it is for the wheels to fall off - if they were ever on - the hashtag train very quickly.
By this I mean you wouldn't bookmark or Post-It random words or phrases in a book or on a site. So hash-tagging #every other #word in a post that sounds like it could be #interesting, doesn't make it more #interesting. It just makes you seem mad.
It's highly unlikely that anyone is searching for #every, which renders the tag a pointless exercise unless you like your prepositions bold.
Who are the worst culprits? Everyone’s favourite LinkedIn user. Recruiters.
If they’re advertising a job for, say, a Sales Manager in Paris, throwing a few #'s in is unlikely to increase applicants. Not even #paris. It's just doing it for the sake of it. Realistically your target audience (sales managers in paris) are unlikely to be searching for #paris, or for jobs through hashtags full stop. Feel free to correct me if you're a Parisian professional though.
#Follow us #online is another criminal effort. It’s #daft.
I'm not hashtagist though. Not in the slightest. They can be really useful and are perfect for mobile. They're all tappable or clickable, which makes hopping from (useful) topic to topic easy.
So, here are 3 tips to make sure you're getting the most out of your hashtags.
If you're going to do it, do it right. That means being consistent and making hashtags work for you. If you want to collate your posts, use the same, unique, hashtag for all of them. Then, post regularly. Post quality. And use your hashtag as a link between them all.
For example, searching #cmindustrial brings up a range of jobs from our industrial division. It's a good way to keep track of posts on LinkedIn without having to do a ton of different searches.
As well as being consistent with your tags, if you're looking for exposure then share content relevant to trending topics and piggyback on the tags that accompany them. If you want a massive range of examples of individuals and businesses doing this, then dare to venture down the #worldcup black hole.
Be careful though: bookmaker William Hill got into hot water from hijacking the #itscominghome tag during England games. People weren't happy that their children were unwillingly promoting a gambling company when supporting the England team.
I even shamelessly did it myself, here! Spoiler: it made zero difference.
Check out the Competition
If you're struggling with ideas as to what to tag, start using other peoples'. Follow a few. Take a look at trends in your market to see what interests you and see what your best-in-class competitors are doing.
Basically, it boils down to using them correctly and not just using them for the sake of it. Otherwise your tags will be lost in the wilderness and will only have the effect of making a couple of random words #in your posts #look weird.
If you're one of the Twitterati or use hashtags on Facebook then I apologise if this article has seemed as though it's teaching you to suck eggs, but for the uninitiated I hope it helps.