Oh Hashtags. They have taken over the internet. From #metoo on Twitter to #thisisthelongesthashtagihaveeverwrittenbecauseihavenolifewhatamitalkingabout on Instagram (yes that’s a real hashtag, go look it up), hashtags are literally everywhere. Including Pinterest.
Hashtags on Pinterest are intended to help you find content you are interested in. Because they are new-ish to Pinterest, most hashtags have been simple one or two word keyword phrases such as #giftsforher, #jewelry, #businessquotes, etc. Newer more “designer” hashtags like #nevergiveup, #bossbabe, #itsagirlthing, etc. are just beginning to show up.
There are still lots of questions about how to use hashtags on Pinterest, but the WHY of it is easy to answer. Hashtags on Pinterest are just one more way your content can be found in a search.
How is this different from just searching Pinterest for the keyword phrase itself? I’m glad you asked!
If you were to type in jewelry, sans hashtag, you would get results based on the most popular and most relevant pins. If you type in #jewelry you are going to get results based on the most recent pins using that hashtag.
That means search results for #jewelry are going to be constantly changing. Which means unless you are using that tag on a significant number of your pins – or are planning to use it on every one of your own pins from now on – you won’t stay at the top of the search results for very long… if a lot of people are using that tag.
FYI: #jewelry has 474,559 pins tagged with that hashtag as of this post’s writing.
Okay, so what’s the recommendations for hashtags on Pinterest then? Is it worth it to use them?
Yes, on your own original content pins only. Don’t waste your time hashtagging everying that you repin – just tag your own stuff. Although the hashtag search results will change rapidly, it’s better to attempt to show up than to definitely not show up at all.
That said there’s a few things you can do to make hashtags on Pinterest work better for you:
First, understand that hashtags ONLY work in the description area of PINS. If you’re putting hashtags in your board descriptions, you’re wasting character space and time (for now…who knows? Maybe they’ll introduce hashtags to this space too in the future..)
Second, you do not need to use the entire 500 character descriptions space for hashtags. You should still write in a sentence with at least one keyword phrase in the description area and THEN add your hashtags to the end. Three to five hashtags is plenty, but you can add up to twenty per the Pinterest limits.
Third, you want to try to use the same hashtags over and over again so that you have a greater chance of appearing at the top of search results by having recent pins with that hashtag. Choose hashtags that are relevant to your brand/biz. I personally do not use designer hashtags, yet, because hashtags on Pinterest overall are still so new and it’s just too early to tell which ones will be good/established and which ones will fizzle out.
Now, if you belong to a group of people who are all using a designer hashtag (like #bluefairypinterestrockstars – just kidding, I literally just made that up) then go ahead and use it. But I’d mainly stick to keyword phrases, for now.
Also, you want to keep in mind that the more popular (more pins tagged) a certain hashtag is the faster your content will get lost in the growing sea of content. However, if the hashtag pool is too small, then it’s unlikely that many people are searching for it/using it and your content likewise will just be lost in anonymity.
Alright, so where do we FIND these hashtags? How do we research which ones are good/popular?
As far as I know, there currently isn’t any database or anything keeping tabs on hashtag counts on Pinterest. (If you know of one or are running one, please drop a comment and tell us where to find this magical resource!)
The only way to know how many pins are using a specific hashtag is to go pin something. Then, before you actually save it to the board, start typing your hashtag in the description area below the pin image. A drop down box of some suggestions will pop up and tell you how many pins are associated with that tag. Keep in mind that what you see is NOT an exhaustive list.
If your tag doesn’t show up in the drop down, you can search for it in the Pinterest search bar (be sure to include the #) to see how much and what kind of content turns up.
If you’re being super serious about Pinterest’s hashtags, it’s probably going to take awhile to find the ones that are best for you and you’ll probably have to change them up every so often as new hashtags gain popularity and others become too popular for your content to compete.
My personal opinion is that, unlike on Instagram or Twitter, hashtags on Pinterest are NOT a make-or-break strategy. This is because they are not the only way to get found or search for content on Pinterest (there are a myriad of ways to be found on Pinterest). As such, it seems counterproductive to spend too much time researching and worrying about them.
Use hashtags on your pins, sure. But honestly? You can probably throw up a few hashtags (try to use the same ones over) on your pins and call it good. Focus your time and attention on creating good SEO elsewhere on Pinterest and consistently pinning quality content, both your own and from other pinners, and you’ll do just fine – even if your hashtags aren’t 100% perfect.