A series of previous articles looked at hashtags in general and in specific relation to Twitter and Instagram. A list of those articles, together with clickable links, is provided at the end of this article.
Most social media users are accustomed to the use of hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and that by them they are able to locate content of interest and relevance to themselves. The fact is hashtags have become commonplace on those two sites. But, what about Facebook and LinkedIn? Do hashtags have a place on them? Is it worth utilising hashtags for those sites? The truth is most users have not really thought of hashtags when posting on or using them, relying more on content descriptions to draw attention or to decide if a post or article is for them. Nevertheless, as the two sites adopted the option in recent years, hashtags do have a place and can prove effective if used correctly. This article will consider how they may be best utilised within those two sites.
Due to some differences, Facebook and LinkedIn will be considered separately.
Though hashtags (first introduced in 2013) are less common on Facebook they can have a positive impact:
- They are searchable thereby enabling users to find discussion, information and topics relevant to their interests. A note of warning: apparently the search facility is not always perfect and Facebook users are not accustomed to searching hashtags. Nevertheless, that does not mean they should not be used.
- They can encourage interaction from those interested in the same subjects.
- They can trigger conversation round relevant topics.
- They can help create a community of likeminded people.
- They may be utilised to highlight a campaign (e.g.to gain visitors; sell a product; create a group; etc.)
Using Facebook Hashtags
A few principles to be held in mind when utilising hashtags on Facebook:
- They should be carefully chosen. (Ensure relevant and on subject.)
- They ought to aline with audience interests. (Users should be aware of those beforehand.)
- They are best kept simple and straight forward. (Quirky ones may confuse and lose people.)
- They need to be limited. (Apparently studies have shown engagement decreases when too many used in a post. Recommendation is no more than two to three.)
- They may be branded. (Applicable to businesses and anyone who has a professional profile. Authors should be aware they are in essence in the business of selling books and may therefore brand themselves.) (Proposal is to consider branded hashtags in more depth in a future article.)
When writing a post Facebook will suggest some hashtags at the bottom of the panel. It is worth considering these and utilising any which appear highly relevant, bearing in mind the need to limit how many are used.
Users should aim for consistency across social media sites e.g. if publishing similar information on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook consider using same, or similar, hashtags. That said, it will be worthwhile checking how they operate and what impact each has within individual sites: Due to their varied nature it may be different.
Users should keep in mind LinkedIn is primarily portrayed as a site for professionals and that a high percentage of users are such. It is understood both recruiters, for all sort of professions, and those seeking employment find success through the site, though to what extent is not known by the writer. Nevertheless, and perhaps in support of recruiting and the marketing of various services, multiple discussion groups have been established. Many appear to simply cater to those with common interests, though of course, participants may hint at their individual services. There are a few which include authors, editors, publicists, readers, book marketing professionals, social media experts, etc. It is therefore appropriate for authors to consider the site.
It should be pointed out, LinkedIn is unlikely to help much with selling books but being on the site provides:
- Exposure to different categories of people than those generally encountered on most standard social media sites.
- A chance to learn from other people’s experience and knowledge.
- Opportunities to help others through sharing personally gained insights.
- The ability to build relationships with likeminded compatriots.
- Knowledge of appropriate professionals for those who wish to employ such.
Naturally, qualified personnel will also hope to gain clients but, and this is a real bonus, many are unstinting in freely sharing much of their knowledge.
Using LinkedIn Hashtags
LinkedIn incorporated the option to use hashtags in 2018 both within content and comments.
As with standard social media sites, utilising hashtags within LinkedIn facilitates discoverability. They are also searchable meaning users may locate content relevant to their interests and aims.
There are some points to keep in mind when adding hashtags within LinkedIn:
- There is no limit to how many hashtags may be added but recommendation is to use no more than five with an article or post. (Most would suggest less.)
- Adding too many hashtags could result in the LinkedIn algorithm identifying the entry as spam, with consequent results.
- Hashtags should not be entered in isolation. They should either be included within text, provided the entry will read sensibly, or after the text, which is generally the more recognised and utilised method.
- To make them reader friendly recommendation is, especially when the hashtag comprises more than one word, to capitalise the first letter of each word. (Reminder: there should be no spaces between words otherwise only the first word, immediately following the #, will be recognised.)
- Before adding a hashtag users are advised to find their niche and see what hashtags other people within that niche are utilising.
- LinkedIn’s suggested hashtags should be considered. (These are displayed while text is being entered.)
- A balance between popular and specific hashtags should be considered to enable broader exposure.
- Users should not assume everyone is familiar with a given hashtag, even a popular one. (This is why using a mix of popular and specific hashtags is sensible.)
An added advantage to the hashtag facility in LinkedIn is that users may follow them: the resulting content discovered is then shown in the users feed.
It should be noted, though hashtags may be included with profile and company page details, they are NOT searchable, unlike in other areas.
The broader adoption of hashtags means most online users are now familiar with them whereas previously some did not understand what they were and found them confusing. It therefore makes sense for those users intent upon gaining attention and exposure for their content, to utilise the facility.
Hashtags across all social media sites (in this context LinkedIn is treated as being a such a site) are useful additions. They assist with the discoverability of relevant, helpful, and on topic, information and content.
To make their use as effective as possible, care needs to be exercised with the choosing of appropriate options and the number of hashtags added.
Disclaimer: Other than being a user of the sites, neither T. R. Robinson Publications nor T. R. Robinson have any affiliation to any of the companies or organisations mentioned. Nor do either receive any numeration for mentioning them.
Hashtags (#) – Provides further background and information.
Best Times for Posting on Social Media – Provides a general guide to optimum posting times.