Competitive Intelligence Research On LinkedIn Using Hashtags

Here is a quick tip for individuals who like to use the business social network, LinkedIn, to collect competitive intelligence.

Earlier this month, LinkedIn announced that it will now support the use of hashtags on their site.  Commonly used on Twitter for years, hashtags on LinkedIn were not live, however; that has changed.   LinkedIn users can now have live hashtags in their updates and can be used to find, browse and/or search for other updates with the identical hashtags.   Figure 1 illustrates how LinkedIn highlights hashtags now by turning the characters into a live hyperlink seen in a blue font.

Figure 1: Live Hashtags Supported by LinkedIn (i.e., #LinkedIn, #hashtags)

Note that before, any attempt to post hashtags on LinkedIn would just have the hashtags appears as simple text in black font. (i.e., #hashtags)

Now with the functional live hashtags, users can click on the link and browse through updates from contacts in your network and on the site.  Figure 2 is a screenshot of the results once I have clicked on ‘#hashtags’.

Figure 2: Results For The Use of The Hashtag,’#hashtags’

It is interesting to see that LinkedIn delves into its databases of users’ and company’s updates and discussion group posts to provide relevant results with the hashtag.   Along with the raw results, LinkedIn allows users to sort hits using various filters.   Figure 3 illustrates the sorted results when the company, RediumOne Inc.,  is selected as the filter.

Figure 3:  Filtered Results With Updates Posted By Individuals From RediumOne Inc

For individuals who wish to conduct a broad search, you can just enter the hashtag in the LinkedIn search engine as seen in Figure 4 with ‘#Blackberry’.

Figure 4: Results of A Free Search With ‘#Blackberry”

It is important to note that conducting a search with hashtags on LinkedIn will only work if you select the “Updates” search function as seen in Figure 4 above.

Not only can the hashtag search on the business social network be useful in terms of gathering competitive intelligence in the form of shared content and insights but it can be handy when identifying experts based on their LinkedIn professional profile.

With Twitter and LinkedIn supporting the use of hashtags now, is Facebook next?

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About The Author: Ian is a content strategist and the competitive intelligence researcher at Intelegia. With his knowledge of social media tools and an understanding of branding on the web, Ian formulates content marketing strategies for clients’ needs. As co-author of the Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index© , Canadian American Cities Online Marketing Index© and chief blogger at Intelegia, Ian documents and assesses global best practices of organizations’ approaches to social media marketing in terms of integrating their branding and communications strategies to obtain their marketing objectives. Follow Ian on Twitter @citweetz. __________________________________________________________________


About Intelegia

Intelegia is a social marketing firm in Montreal, Canada. The firm delivers social media strategies to efficiently engage with stakeholders in economic development, business to business and business to consumer segments. It assists clients by defining and executing sustainable social web strategies that will allow their brand message to stand out in a competitive environment where target audience engagement is a must.

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