It’s been a little over a year since the professional network did away with LinkedIn Signal, a LinkedIn feature which allowed people to filter their updates and news stream. Professionals were able to easily search for relevant information and contacts, and receive auto updates of rich content in real time. Signal mined through the daily noise to highlight the most popular links, shared content and news stories. More importantly to the social web, it provided #hashtag search. But when Signal went away, the hashtag capability died with it. Hashtags currently have no functionality on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn “works on developing more useful products and features, we are left wondering if the absence of hashtags has left a gap in the social experience.
We asked social marketers “Should LinkedIn have hashtags?” Here’s what they said.
With the hashtag growing in popularity across Twitter, Instagram and most recently Facebook, why is LinkedIn holding back? Is the hashtag not sophisticated enough? We polled our community of social marketing experts if LinkedIn should support hashtag functionality. We were surprised to discover that they were split 50/50. Here are some of their comments.
Stacy Donovan Zapar, the most connected woman on LinkedIn exclaims,
“OMG, yes! They took them [hashtags] away when they got rid of LinkedIn Signal. Now you can’t search updates at all! No clue who is talking about what, no way to thank people for sharing your blog posts, etc. I miss the hashtag search functionally immensely.”
Peggy Gartin, content marketing manager, also agrees that LinkedIn hashtags should be an available feature, despite what that may say about the platform’s overall capabilities.
“Yes. And I say that knowing that adding clickable hashtags often shows how weak a platform’s search function is. Yes anyway.”
It just goes to show how important this function can be.
Katie Skow Villarreal President and creative director at Skovi Marketing says,
“Hashtags are awesome for events, larger conversations, and occasional humor. I’m not totally against them when they serve a purpose. I just feel Twitter has been littered with them this past year and not always for the best. So as long as it’s not a “there goes the neighborhood” situation on LinkedIn, it’s a welcome functionality.”
Events are another great reason for hashtagging. Hashtags help drive engagement and build excitement for attendees and those on the outside looking in. Events are shared frequently on LinkedIn, and many events host their own LinkedIn groups as a perk for attendees.
Finally, following and tracking discussions is probably one of the most desired uses of hashtags for professionals. Hashtags can be a great way to search what people are saying about a specific topic for example. Holly Kolman, relationship marketing strategist, says
“I can’t find anything on LinkedIn. I used to like the polls, now they are gone. I used to like the Q&A, now it is gone. There is no central place to find and communicate with people you don’t know and don’t want to spam anymore. I would like to be able to click on a hashtag to find someone writing about a topic that interests me. Yes, there will be silly hashtags. Yes there will be annoying overuse of hashtags. I’m kind of okay with that.”
Now that individuals are able to publish their own stories on LinkedIn, hashtags would be a great way to find articles surrounding their specific topic of interest. It might even be a great way to for LinkedIn professionals to network with other like-minded individuals by finding people interested in the same topics.
When it comes to the hashtag, people either love it, or hate it. But the truth is that the hashtag can be useful when it’s not being spammy. So, what do you think, should LinkedIn have hashtags?