LinkedIn Hashtags: Why And How You Should Use Them
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful (and underused) social platform for the health industry. It’s a great tool to assist medical staff in building their personal profiles and bolstering their credibility, and also allows organisations to reach certain audiences with strategic messaging.
Given the amount of effort, resources and cost that can go into producing quality content for social media, it’s important to ensure that it reaches a large, high quality audience. On LinkedIn, this is quite achievable through the careful and deliberate use of hashtags.
We’ve done a lot of research into how tags work, and how organisations in the health space can take advantage of platforms like LinkedIn to engage more people. But before we dive into our LinkedIn tag research, let’s look at how the health sector can benefit from the reach of social media content.
The purpose of social media for health organisations
Many healthcare organisations have been slow to adopt the use of social media. In the US, only 26% of hospitals and 36% of physician practices are utilising it. But with Australia pushing for increased digital experiences in health, many are realising the potential of these platforms to connect with and engage patients, ultimately boosting health outcomes and experiences.
Whether health organisations are using social media or not, patients are. They’re actively sharing content about their healthcare experiences, reviewing medical practices, and seeking information about their own health. In fact, 40% of consumers say that information found on social media affects the way they manage their health. This presents an exciting opportunity for health organisations to better engage their audiences online and take their healthcare offering to the next level.
Being active on social media allows health organisations to educate, inform and service their patients beyond the physical healthcare practice. Content shared via social platforms can come in a variety of different formats:
- Responding to and correcting misinformation about health – such as practitioners dispelling myths or advising on suitable management techniques
- Monitoring public health – such as conducting social listening exercises to gather information on flu symptoms
- Engaging communities – such as starting conversations about sexual health
- Providing patient support – such as through facilitating online peer support groups
- Managing online reputations – such as responding to customer feedback
- Marketing services – such as business updates or new product offerings.
While the potential for social media to transform health is there, organisations need to be proactive about creating and distributing content that has genuine value, and that actually reaches its intended audience.
Determining which social channels to use
While many people associate social media with youth, Social Media News reports that over 60% of Australia’s population is active on social media, and over 13 million of these people are over the age of 25. Health organisations should research their target markets and select social media channels that will resonate with their audience, while meeting the objectives of the business.
Different social channels serve different purposes. Here’s a quick rundown on what some of the most common social channels are typically used for.
A site that’s ideal for sharing video content, advertising and creating specialist groups. This platform is more fun and casual, with a focus on community engagement and conversations.
A media outlet that’s highly useful for sharing shorter-form content such as article links, infographics and commentaries.
A platform for visual content such as high quality pictures and short videos. Instagram is predominantly used by younger audiences, with 64% of users aged 18–34.
A more corporate platform most commonly used for building professional networks. It’s ideal for sharing organisational updates and news, distributing research findings and attracting talent to an organisation.
Using LinkedIn for health
While health organisations can benefit from using a wide range of social media platforms, LinkedIn holds particular potential for engaging audiences. Geared towards professionals, it’s a place to share updates on research projects, health news and healthcare advice.
Organisations such as Alfred Health, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Cabrini Health provide a good example of how the health sector can utilise LinkedIn. These companies use LinkedIn to share a range of content including patient stories, latest research findings, staff achievements and career opportunities.
Beyond simply posting content on LinkedIn, organisations can achieve greater reach by optimising the use of LinkedIn hashtags. Tags are a key way to reach more people on the platform, but they should be used strategically to achieve best results.
Top tips for using LinkedIn tags well
Focus on the content
Ensure your content is well-crafted, and that your tags are used in conjunction with great copy. You can either include your selected tags at the end, or incorporate them into the post itself (tag words as you go in the sentence), if it makes sense to do so.
Don' use punctuation or capitals
Apostrophes, hyphens and periods aren’t accepted in tags, and will cut the tag short. For example, you would need to tag #tadashislinkedinadvice instead of #tadashi’slinkedinadvice.
When using multiple words in one tag, consider using title case to make the distinct words clearer. For example, #TadashisLinkedInAdvice rather than #tadashislinkedinadvice.
Use a maximum of five tags per post
Don’t overdo it. Choose five or so of the most relevant tags, and leave it at that. You can go higher than this but do it sparingly. Too many tags could result in your content being demoted (shown to less people).
Monitor performance through analytics
LinkedIn has a good analytics dashboard which allows users to track the engagement and performance of posts. Use this to keep an eye on what posts are performing well for you, and what tags you’re using which may be contributing to this success.
Create campaign hashtags
Unique LinkedIn tags can be created to drive a certain campaign for your organisation. For example, health organisations spread the word about International Nurses Day with the tag #internationalnursesday.
Research popular hashtags in your industry
You can do a bit of looking around to see what kinds of tags others are using. Look to competitors’ posts, or search tags to see what’s popular and what lots of people are following. Thankfully, we’ve done some in-depth research to help you out – read on to get our top tips.
Maximise your LinkedIn hashtags: a Tadashi deep-dive
We spent quite a bit of time researching LinkedIn tags to work out what’s effective in the health space. As with Instagram, LinkedIn allows you to “follow” certain tag terms, so all posts tagged with that term show up in your feed. We looked at over 500 hashtag terms, variations and combinations relating to digital and health. Combined, these terms have (as of July 2019) a following of just over 200 million - though not unique followers, this is a good metric to look at which tags have a strong following - and it's growing steadily.
This demonstrates that there’s huge potential to have your content seen by more people, using tags. Here are our key findings.
Generic terms rank best
We found some of the most high ranking terms to be:
- #DigitalMarketing (27 million followers)
- #Technology (25 million followers)
- #Startups (20 million followers)
- #SocialMedia (19 million followers)
- #Marketing (18 million followers)
- #Branding (18 million followers).
By contrast, more targeted terms like #DigitalHealth (`8,000 followers) and #Accessibility (~2,000 followers) have less of a following. This isn’t necessarily cause to avoid terms like this, as you’re likely to get your message in front of the right people by using them. However, for maximum reach you should consider using more generic tags with a greater following, as well.
Some tags have no following
We found that about 90% of the terms we researched had no following whatsoever – about 450 of the 500 terms we looked at! This shows that choosing random tags can be detrimental to your reach. By selecting obscure tags that have no following, you’re effectively using up tag real estate without getting your message in front of anyone.
Plural vs. single makes a difference
#startups has 20+ million followers, whereas #startup has only ~130,000. It just goes to show that being selective about whether you use plural or singular terms does have an impact. Do your research beforehand to work out what’s going to be a more effective term.
Choose single words over multi word terms
In general, we found that it’s more effective to keep it simple and use one-word tags where possible. Following, and reach, drops off dramatically when multiple words start to be combined into the one tag.
Tips for getting started
While using tags on LinkedIn shouldn’t replace the effort of developing high quality content, by putting some thought into the tags you use, you can effectively reach more people with your messaging. A good place to start is by:
- Following tags that are relevant to you and your organisation on LinkedIn
- Checking out what tags others in your space are using
- Monitoring and noting what tags seem to be making your own content perform better.
Tadashi can help you devise a strategy for managing your social media and boosting your audience reach. Get in touch with us to learn how we can help.