Should You Be Using Hashtags on Pinterest?
You’re pretty much certain to see hashtags everywhere you look on many of the popular social media networks, and if you are a fan of Pinterest, you’ll probably notice that they have started appearing there regularly as well. However, you may have wondered why hashtags are not as prevalent on Pinterest as they are on the other social media platforms, because it would seem that there are business opportunities which could be capitalized upon to a greater extent in Pinterest.
There’s a definite reason why Pinterest does not have as widespread use of hashtags as other platforms do, and that reason will be explained in this discussion. The following guide is offered for the purpose of describing the hashtag experience on Pinterest, and for those who feel that it would be worth their while to exploit the Pinterest potential, here’s how you might want to go about it.
Hashtags are used differently on Pinterest
While hashtags can allow you to zero right in on Twitter content, they don’t work in quite the same way on Pinterest, even though they are definitely supported by the platform and have a somewhat similar function. Any hashtags that you use in profile names, account descriptions, board descriptions, or board titles are not clickable in Pinterest, and in fact the only place where you can click on a hashtag and use it to search for content is in the description of a pin.
Once you do get some hashtag search results, they can be filtered so that only boards are displayed, rather than other types of objects as well. It is possible however, that you still get mixed results in your search boards, because they may not have the same hashtag you used in your search at all. Some may have simply included a matching word in the description or the title and were included on that basis, so it’s very possible that applying hashtags to your account descriptions or your board, may not provide any real value in this manner.
Pinterest itself does not supply a lot of documentation or guidance on the use of hashtags on its platform, although one of its more notable posts declares that putting too many hashtags in your descriptions will degrade your potential ranking. That of course, is something that’s worth giving thought to, as well as the fact that any promoted pins are restricted to having a single hashtag in the description.
Hashtag searches have doubtful value
As can be seen from the above, it’s certainly possible to search using hashtags within Pinterest, but the value you get for your effort may not be worth it, because returned results tend to be quite unpredictable. In fact, it’s very common for completely irrelevant results to be returned, which would of course make your search effort an exercise in futility, as well as a waste of your time.
This is in stark contrast to how marketers use Twitter and Instagram with hashtags to increase their brand visibility, because both those platforms are very inclusive of hashtags, and their search algorithms are a clear reflection of that fact. Searching on hashtags in Pinterest can actually be more detrimental than helpful in some cases, especially where you have additional entries returned that include unrelated pins on social media. In those situations, it could actually cause visitors to be directed away from your content, in which case you will have lost all hope of user engagement.
Contest hashtags on Pinterest
One of the best uses for hashtags on Pinterest is with contests, and in situations where very unique hashtags are used. This means that any hashtag you use should have no commonality at all with search terms which are frequently used, because what you’re trying to achieve is to have pins lead back to your content by a unique hashtag.
Some companies have had really good results by running contests which made use of a single hashtag that was unique to their products, and could not be confused with any other commonly used search terms. In scenarios like these, participants would create a new Pinterest board using the hashtag, and then pin site images to their personal boards. This would entitle them to enter their names in the contest drawing, thereby providing tremendous brand recognition for the company, as well as identifying a whole host of potential new customers.
Hashtag use in marketing campaigns
Apart from the unique contest hashtag approach, there are some other ways that hashtags can be used on Pinterest to good effect. For instance, you can use them for promotional impact across all the social media channels your company is involved with. Again however, you should make a point of using hashtags that are unique, memorable, and in some way very descriptive of your brand and your company. This has some hidden benefits to it, because it will allow you to monitor the success of your marketing campaigns, since whenever you click on one of your Pinterest hashtags, all the campaign pins will show up in your search.
The bottom line on hashtags in Pinterest
As you can see from the guidelines described above, hashtags may not be quite as broadly practical or useful to use in Pinterest as they are on other social media platforms. This is partly a function of how Pinterest uses hashtags, and that is starkly evident whenever you conduct searches on hashtags. That being said, if you have the time and are willing to invest the effort in being very precise in your use of hashtags on Pinterest, and keep them very unique so they don’t mesh with common search terms, they can sometimes be used to wonderful effect. It’s fair to say with all this in mind, that hashtag usage is probably more generally effective and useful on Twitter and Instagram, but if you’re willing to put in a little more time and effort to use precise hashtags, you can achieve some very favorable results in your Pinterest marketing campaigns.