We’ve ran quite a handful of experiments here on the Social Media Lab related to hashtags:
That’s a lot of focus on hashtags for us so far! And I’m sure we’ll double that amount within the next year.
Hashtags are crucial to any successful marketing plan, if you’re goal is to get content discovered by those not following you already. I would assume that pretty much covers every business on social media!
So when LinkedIn launched the ability to add hashtags to post (thus giving users the ability to discover content using hashtags) many jumped on the bandwagon and used them in posts.
But, is there marketing value in LinkedIn hashtags? Or is it just to be ironic like most usage on Facebook?
I did a quick search on the Google to see if anyone had done any research on the effectiveness of using hashtags on LinkedIn, but all I mainly found was “advice” on how to use them. Some of it is great advice and I’ll include at the end of this post.
Finding data-driven research though came up empty.
Before diving into the details of how I will test LinkedIn hashtags here’s my hypothesis based off of knowledge of hashtags on other social sites:
I’m assuming due to the nature of hashtags on other social sites exposing content to more eyeballs that LinkedIn will do the same.
The Agorapulse business page has 1239 followers and actively posts. We’re are even more active on LinkedIn lately now that we can monitor comments and get reports from within our app!
My personal LinkedIn profile is my oldest active social media account I own! I think I signed up for LinkedIn well over 10 years ago. The screenshot doesn’t show it but I have about 4900 connections as of testing.
Using the Agorapulse app I scheduled 20 pieces of content to each account with hashtags, and without hashtags. Posting 1 of each type per day.
For the Agorapulse account the timing was swapped (no hashtag at night, with hashtag in the morning). I did this to try and remove the anomaly of “timing” altering the data. We’ll average both accounts together to get our best number.
I also used just 1 hashtag in the hashtag posts, and it was the same hashtag for both accounts #socialmediatips . Since this test isn’t about the optimal amount of hashtags to use 1 is enough to simply find out if more people see the posts with a hashtag or not.
In addition I used the same content on both accounts for the no hashtag test and hashtag test. Below are examples from both accounts with and without the hashtag.
I let the content post during the 20 day period and pulled the data a few days after the last post went live.
On a personal profile on LinkedIn all you can see are “views”, as you can see in the screenshots above. But business pages shows the equivalent stat as “Impressions”.
For our reporting we are going to assume these are equal for our final conclusion, but I’ll break it down per account first.
Here we go:
Impressions on posts with hashtags was 38.08% higher!
Will this difference be similar on my personal profile? Let’s find out.
Once again posts with hashtags had more Views (Impressions), at a rate of 23.55% higher than posts without a hashtag.
When we average both accounts together we find these results:
It’s pretty easy to see that a LinkedIn post with at least 1 hashtag got more eyeballs on it, and thus is the “winner” in this blogger’s opinion.
But if I try and put the numbers into a statistical calculator it’s difficult to get results to support this, scientifically speaking.
I attempted comparing in a number of ways:
But none of them came up with a statistically significant number.
When comparing data values in a statistical calculator you are looking at “conversion rate”. So it’s more about actions taken than anything, which makes the statistical significance calculator hard on an organic post such as this. Especially because I’m only measuring the Views/Impressions, not engagement rates.
All that being said it appears using at least 1 hashtag in your LinkedIn posts will lead to more Impressions, and that’s very significant! Especially at a 29.59% higher rate.
Moving forward I’ll will be making sure to post more hashtags with my updates, and will run a future test comparing between 1-10 hashtags for engagement levels.
If you’re looking for some advice on adding hashtags to your LinkedIn marketing strategy here are few articles I ran across:
The Social Media Lab is a project powered by Agorapulse dedicated to spending $15,000 per month to bust the myths, rumors and stories related to social media marketing.
We’ll test mainly organic reach, but also will run paid experiments.
We typically publish 1 blog post and podcast every other week.
The podcast is co-hosted by Richard Beeson and myself.