Joe Gannon x Pragya from Shield

When people think about posting on social media one of the first things they think about is hashtags.

A lot of people will ask themselves: What hashtags am I going to use? Which hashtags are going to provide the best results? How many hashtags should I use? All these questions (and more) will be racing through the minds of a new LinkedIn creator.

But are hashtags all they're cracked out to be? And do you need to worry about them?

In this blog, we discuss everything you need to know about using hashtags on LinkedIn.

After reading this blog, you'll learn ↓

  1. Part one: What are hashtags
  2. Part Two: Get inspired by some amazing content creators to see what hashtags they use and how
  3. Part Three: How to pick your own Hashtags on LinkedIn
  4. Part Four: How to measure which hashtags are performing better for your LinkedIn content (backed by data from Shield)

It's worth mentioning that although hashtags can be an important part of optimised posting, they're not the be-all and end-all. If you're looking for proven ways to help grow your audience, we recommend focusing on crafting high-quality content and posting it using a consistent schedule. So don't worry too much if you haven't worked out what hashtags are right for you!

Our key takeaway here is that hashtags combined with great content that delivers value to your audience is the magic mix.

Maybe you're already posting high-quality content consistently and are looking to optimise your posting in every way you can. If hashtags are next on your list, let us guide you through and help you find out what hashtags you should be posting on LinkedIn.

Part One: What are hashtags on LinkedIn?

Not all hashtags are equal.

Some appear on social media, some on old telephones and some on trophies. But where did they first come from and when were they introduced to social media?

Let's focus on social media and LinkedIn.

In 2007 a man named Chris Messina deployed hashtags for the first time.

Chris' intention was to make it easier for users on the platform to group tweets under given topics. Little did he know hashtags would explode across the internet and be used by billions of people each week.

Since the introduction of hashtags, all main social media platforms have rolled them out. It's become the norm.

Users can now follow hashtags to discover new posts relating to topics they're interested in. For example, if you're a football fan, you could follow the hashtag of your favourite football team. Whenever someone posts using the hashtag, you will be notified.

Hashtags are still used in a similar way to how they were originally introduced. On LinkedIn, if you click on a hashtag (let's say '#digitalmarketing') you will see posts that feature #digitalmarketing. All these posts will be grouped under that topic.

In the below poll by Filippo you can see him using #culture and #work. This makes it easier for people interested in these topics discover this content. LinkedIn's search function lets one search for posts under various hashtags. In this case, when one searches for #culture this post would show up on your feed.

SHIELD employee Filippo utilizing relevant hastags on a LinkedIn Poll

Hashtags when used correctly help you: 

  • Establish credibility and expertise
  • Reach relevant users who will value your insight
  • Starting meaningful conversations over shared interests

Hashtags can be a great way to grow your account.

In LinkedIn's guide to hashtags, they have listed some best practices for hashtags. One of which is to use 3 hashtags maximum. They don't state exactly why this is, however say to use a blend of broad and niche hashtags.

Presently, there are 3 main ways to add hashtags to your posts.

  1. Add it directly on the main body of the text by just converting a keyword or topic to a #hashtag
  2. Another way is to use the suggested hashtags feature. When you are typing your content, LinkedIn is smart enough to pick out key topics from your copy and suggest them as hashtags - helpful huh?
  3. The last way to get hashtags is to type your hashtag into the 'add hashtag' feature. This is similar to method 1, however, requires you simply typing in the topic. These appear at the bottom of your content.

Let's jump in and see how others are using hashtags!

Part two: How top Influencers use hashtags on LinkedIn- some examples for inspiration

If you have LinkedIn creator mode turned on, you will notice that you can enter up to 5 hashtags in the bio section of your profile.

But how do you decide which ones should you use? Let's look at some  examples! We have handpicked some of our favourite creators on LinkedIn and analysed their hashtags so it can help you pick yours!

Eddie Shleyner - Copywriting

In the below example, we see how Eddie uses hashtags to clearly outline what his content is all about. Anyone landing on Eddie's profile already knows to expect content around writing, marketing, creativity and copywriting.

Eddie is our go-to for all things writing

Neil Patel - Digital Marketing

Take a look at Neil Patel's profile. Just like Eddie, Neil has "talks about" hashtags. Again, users will be able to get a strong idea of what Neil is about, right when they click on the profile.

Neil Patel's LinkedIn header utilizing hashtags

Josh Braun - Sales and Cold calling

Josh is a master of cold calling and sales outbound. When you land at his profile, you can see it right on his hashtags his topics on content on LinkedIn. He talks about #coldcalling #sales. Also what's interesting here is his personalized hashtag #iteachmywifesales which is a series of content where he tries his sales teachings on his wife to test if they work.

Hashtags utilized by Josh Braun

Shay Rowbottom - Video Content

Shay is a powerhouse of engaging video content. You see it upfront on her profile with her Video Introduction in her profile picture as well. She has picked her hashtags to reflect the same.

Shay's hashtags: a mix of topic-specific and personalized ones

Noel Mack - Brand Marketing

Our final example is of Noel Mack. You can get an overall vibe for what Noel posts on his page by glancing at his hashtags. In this case, he's focused on marketing an e-commerce business with a focus on community and culture. In this case, that business is Gymshark.

Noel Mack utilizing hashtags

Part Three: What Hashtags Should I Use On LinkedIn?

So, now that we have looked at all the examples above, let’s address how you can find the best hashtags that you can use to get the most organic reach and potential engagement.

Now, bear in mind there is no one-size-fits-all recipe. Unfortunately, no blog can tell you specifically what hashtags are best for you. This is because everyone will have their own topics and own areas of expertise.

The truth is working out what hashtags are going to work for you, takes some testing, and trial and error on your part. But how can you do this? In 5 simple steps. Let's go!

  1. Start with key topics
  2. Narrow down your topics to the top 5
  3. Come up with multiple hashtags for each topic
  4. Search on LinkedIn to check the popularity of the hashtags
  5. Get inspiration by checking trending posts in those hashtags
1. Start with Key topics

Write down all the key topics and focus areas you want to post about.

To help you understand your key topics, try the framework we at Shield use to ideate. Ask yourself the following questions

What do I

Here's an example, The key topics could for a Marketer might look like this : Marketing, Content Writing, leadership, Mental health, SaaS, startups, Tech, women in tech, etc.

Now, open a blank document and write yours!

2. Narrow down your topics to the top 5

Now, out of all these topics, which are the top 5 that you are most passionate about and want to speak to your audience about? Select those five.

For the above example these narrowed down topics could be Marketing, Content Writing, leadership, Mental health, women in tech

3. Come up with multiple hashtags for each topic

You may also want to come up with different hashtags for different topics you are posting about. That way your hashtags will remain relevant for whatever you're posting.

There are some cool sites out there that allow you to search for a topic and expand that into trending hashtags. Once you enter a topic, the site will then give you relevant or popular hashtags based on what you've searched.

Top Hashtags does the same thing for Instagram and TikTok. Simply type in your topic and you'll be served up with a list of relevant hashtags ready to be placed in your captions. These could also be used as inspiration for your LinkedIn hashtags!

4. Search on LinkedIn to check the popularity of the hashtags

Another great way to discover ideal hashtags is right on LinkedIn. You can type in your hashtag directly into the LinkedIn search bar. You will then be able to see how many people follow each hashtag. Amazing!

Just type in your hashtag like below ↓

Now, hit enter and see how many people follow the hashtag. In this example, #personalbranding has the potential to reach over 10 million users.

5. Get inspiration by checking trending posts in those hashtags

Now that you have your hashtags all picked out, it might be a good moment to check what others are talking about under those hashtags.

Just type the hashtag in the search bar on LinkedIn (as we showed above) and scroll your feed to see all the posts that others are creating and publishing under that hashtag. This is a great way to get inspired or simply just stay on top of topics of interest to you.

Part Four: How to measure which hashtags are performing better for your LinkedIn content (backed by data from Shield)

Once you start using hashtags consistently, you might wonder how do you work out which hashtags are working best?

Good question! We have a great answer. Look at your data! Let's look at how you can check the performance of your hashtags with Shield.

Here’s how ↓

Step 1: Log in to Shield or Start a free Trial

Step 2: Go to the Content Report Section

Step 3: Select the Date Range for which you want to measure your hashtags

Step 4: Type the hashtag you want to measure in the search bar

Step 5: Scroll down to the Total Stats Section and

Step 6: Check Average Stats for that hashtag

Repeat this with other hashtags and compare averages to measure the performance of different hashtags with each other.

Now let's look at a visual walkthrough below.

Step 1: Log in to Shield or Start a free Trial

Note: The search function is available with the Influencer Pack!

Step 2: Go to the Content Report Section

Head to the content report section of your workspace

Step 3: Select the Date Range for which you want to measure your hashtags

Custom date range

Step 4: Type the hashtag you want to measure in the search bar

For this example we use the hashtag #personalbranding

The search bar can be used to type keywords or hashtags

Step 5: Scroll down to the Total Stats Section

Here you see the aggregated stats for all posts with the hashtag #personalbranding. In the selected time period, it shows 10 posts with a combined Views of 94,042

#personalbranding across 10 posts

Step 6: Check Average Stats for that hashtag

This is where things get interesting.

When you click the toggle button on the right end of the screen, you see all the total stats get converted to averages across these 10 posts.

Now you can do this same process for as many hashtags as you want to measure and compare averages to see the impact of these hashtags.

Although we've spoken about how hashtags can supercharge your LinkedIn game it's important to remember they're not the be all and end all. We always recommend testing different hashtags and measuring to see how that impacts your reach. Maybe some more specific  hashtags perform better for niche topics? If this is the case, try and use more of them. If some hashtags always appear in poor performing content. Remove them from your content. Keep repeating this until you optimise your hashtags.

It's important to remember hashtags also capture what's trending at the moment.

If you're just starting out on LinkedIn, build your personal brand and experiment as you go.

Building your personal brand is a great way to solidify yourself as an expert in your field and gain the trust of a growing audience. This will come with a number of benefits such as a loyal following and increased employment chances. In your efforts to growing on LinkedIn hash tags can add an extra level to your voice. Whether it's extending the reach of your posts to new audiences, branding posts, or jumping on a trend, hashtags are well worth exploring.

Do you know what your top hashtags are?

If you want to know how to find your best time to post jump right in here.

See you!

Joe Gannon x Pragya from Shield