Ever since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has been a hot favourite search engine for online users like ourselves, enabling us to find, store and share cool pictures. People log in to Pinterest for new ideas and inspiration too. Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is basically not a social media platform.
It is a visual search and discovery engine. But just like other social media platforms, Pinterest can be used to boost your business. With 250 million active users as of October 2018, it is obvious, right? All you have to do is to use the correct keywords so that Pinterest can increase your search ranking.
We are well aware of the use of pins on Pinterest, and it has been said many times how you can elevate your business with pins. But what about hashtags? Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash (#) symbol are used to identify specific topics and they can be added along with a pin description.
A peripheral look might not give you a clear picture regarding the use of hashtags on Pinterest. You might even wonder why you should use hashtags. If you observe Instagram and Twitter, it is obvious that hashtags make your content more discoverable.
This was not actually true in the case of Pinterest, until now. Things have changed and it has been confirmed by the officials that hashtag is now trending on Pinterest.
Why hashtags on Pinterest helps your page?
- For starters, the use of hashtags has been ‘cool’ ever since the boom of Twitter. It’s almost like human instinct now to add a hashtag along with a post no matter what social media platform we use. So naturally, this tendency gets reflected on Pinterest too. Almost half of the pins now comes with hashtags, and that means people actually believe their pins get will be more visible if they use hashtags. And if everyone starts to believe it, it will actually become true.
- Hashtags are now searchable on Pinterest. So using the right hashtags for your pins makes other users more likely to land on your post. If a user clicks on a particular hashtag, more pins can be discovered which relate to the same topic. From a marketing perspective, if you use a good hashtag, your post is more likely to come up in the feed of a user who is searching for a particular topic. So, including a hashtag in your pin enhances the possibility of getting the attention of users who wouldn’t have seen your posts otherwise.
- It helps you get clicks on pins on niche topics. You might have some really interesting pins but the topic might be not much popular. Using hashtags is a perfect strategy in such cases. There are users looking for very specific topics and hashtags help your pins reach those users. The key is to find the right target users and using an apt hashtag that resonates with your topic.
- Hashtags are good for promotions. You can use hashtags to promote your brand, an event, a contest and so on. You can even use a special hashtag exclusively for branding your page. It’s up to you make that hashtag trending and we will get to that later.
Things to keep in mind when you use hashtags
- Make sure your hashtags are authentic, specific and descriptive. It’s not useful to do keyword stuffing as Pinterest might lower the search rating of your pin. Using random hashtags drives users who are not relevant to you and your pins may go unnoticed. And most importantly, the hashtags you use should make sense. It should be something users actually search for. For example, using a hashtag like #lilium, which is the scientific name for Lily, has no use when you are posting a beautiful photograph of the flower. Pinners always search common and comprehensible words so in this case, a simple #lily will do the trick.
- Don’t flood your description with hashtags. Pinterest specifically says not to use more than 20 hashtags but this doesn’t really mean you should use 20. It is recommended to use 4 to 5 really good ones. Use of too many hashtags will make your description look cluttered. It may decrease the search rankings of your pin and there is a possibility that the search engine views it as spam. Moreover, you can add only 500 characters in the description of your pin so you want to save up some space for the description too. So it is suggested to be clever about the number of hashtags you use.
- The best way to use hashtags will be after your description. Hashtags are cool but let’s be honest, they are a little hard to read. So, it is better to hook the pinners with a nice description first and then use the hashtag to make your pin trending.
- Be ‘neat’ when you use long hashtags. Actually, this is a rule of thumb for any social media platforms so it applies to Pinterest too. Long hashtags sometimes could look cluttered since you can’t use spaces in between. So always find a way to make your hashtags readable. For instance, if you use #backtohometown, no one bothers to read it (I bet you didn’t even lay eyes on that hashtag). But writing it as #BackToHometown, makes it more easy to read. You can also use the underscore symbol to separate words, like #back_to_hometown. But this not recommended as the users are less likely to search hashtags with underscore symbols.
- Make use of Pinterest hashtag suggestions. When you start typing a hashtag, Pinterest will automatically suggest similar hashtags which are trending at the time. You can also see how many other pins have been posted using these suggested hashtag. There is an interesting thing to be noted here. While other social media platforms basically shows you the most popular posts in your hashtag feed, Pinterest’s continuous hashtag feed shows the most recent one. This means that if you post multiple pins at regular intervals using a trending hashtag, your page can get the boost it requires. If you are using your own special hashtag to brand your page, following this strategy will be very useful.
In addition to all this, make sure you include a good description using which contains a focus keyword. And above all, make sure the image you upload is of high quality.
Pinterest shows your pin on the feed not only based on hashtags but also the quality of the image and use of the description. Hashtags aren’t everything on Pinterest but it would be a waste not to use their potential to boost your page.
Rebecca Hill is the Outreach Coordinator at TechWyse, an SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. While she isn’t building relationships with bloggers and influencers in the marketing world, she can be seen rooting for the Blue Jays.