SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE: Hashtags are no longer relevant or necessary on Pinterest.
You can now tag your products on Pinterest via Idea Pins or standard Pins, however. Check out this podcast for more info.
Today’s podcast is going to be all about how to use hashtags on Pinterest. I been fielding a ton of questions about hashtags over the last year. Some of you are still confused about how they work and some of you are just pretending they don’t exist because that feels easier.
Smart Fun DIY
I have Jennifer Priest of the craft blog Smart Fun DIY on the podcast with me today, who I met briefly at Social Media Marketing last year. I also recently heard her talking about hashtags on Leslie Samuel’s podcast.
Jennifer claims to be the least tech-savvy person in blog land. She started out as a crafter and taught scrapbooking classes. She entered the world of email marketing in 2001 when she started selling products on eBay.
In 2007, she started her blog and really dove into learning and testing mode. In 2009, she landed her first social media strategy consulting job. Currently she provides social media strategy services for craft/handmade companies in addition to blogging.
She started taking Pinterest seriously in 2015. Prior to that, she wasn’t using it as a marketing tool.
Jennifer got really excited about hashtags when she was doing some research and experimentation on the results that her clients were getting. Hashtags seemed to act like a really powerful SEO-type signal, informing Pinterest of what type of content is being shared and where the content should be shared.
How to Use Hashtags on Pinterest: Q & A
How many hashtags should you use and where should you use them?
UPDATED NOVEMBER 2019: In the podcast, Jennifer mentions that her rule of thumb is to add as many relevant hashtags as you can (up to 20). While that was a best practice at the time, current best practice is now to add a few relevant hashtags to your Pin descriptions. Focus on quality over quantity. While Pinterest doesn’t limit the number of hashtags on a Pin, descriptions that feel spammy will do little to add to the Pinner’s user experience. Less is more! Just ask Pinterest.
You do have a 500 character limit in your Pinterest description, so you can’t go too crazy. Generate a set of keywords you can use as hashtags.
Always put hashtags at the end of the pin description. Users are accustomed to reading the description and then seeing the hashtags at the end. Your description should be easy to read.
We recommend using a branded hashtag (for me it’s #simplepinpodcast) at the beginning of your hashtag list so that people can click on it and see all of the pins you’ve posted on Pinterest. It’s a great way to get more exposure.
You can use hashtags in board names as well. Jennifer hasn’t been able to replicate this recently but what she discovered early in the game was that putting hashtags in board names boosted the performance of those boards in searches.
Go ahead and test out using one relevant hashtag at the end of your board name!
How specific do our hashtags need to be?
Jennifer’s best advise is to use a mix of broad and specific hashtags. The broad hashtags will help you show up in the search feed and will show up chronologically. Using specific hashtags will help you show up when someone searches for something specific. For example, dinner recipes could serve as a broader hashtag while chicken and rice could be used as a more fine-tuned hashtag.
Use Pinterest to discover what keyword people search for to find your posts and use those keywords as hashtags. If you don’t know about keywords on Pinterest, there’s a podcast episode that will walk you through everything you need to know.
Should you go back and update old pins with hashtags?
Jennifer doesn’t advise going back through all your boards and updating old pins unless they are sending you traffic. Go into the blog posts themselves and update the pin description to add some relevant hashtags. Only do this with pins/blog posts that are getting traffic or have seasonal relevance. Have a strategy behind why you’re updating.
Are there stats somewhere to show me how much a specific hashtag has been used…kinda like on Instagram?
The short answer is yes. But it really doesn’t mean the same thing as it does on Instagram. Remember, your Pinterest strategy is completely different than your strategy on Instagram.
Whereas on Instagram you can show up in someone’s feed based on the hashtags you use, Pinterest focuses on several factors to decide whether to show your pin. Things like the quality of your image, your description of the blog you’re linking to, and board relevance, all show Pinterest what your pin is about. They match your content as closely as possible to what the pinner is searching for.
It’s so important to keep in mind that what works on one platform won’t necessarily work on another.
Are Pinterest users actually clicking on the hashtags or are they just being found through search?
Users find hashtags through search. You need to position and choose hashtags that will send strong signals to Pinterest about your content.
Are pins with hashtags more likely to be stolen by scammers?
You have to find a balance. If you make your pins hard to find for scammers, you also make them hard to find for other pinners. Don’t spend too much time worrying about that.
What if someone clicks on my hashtag and it sends them away from my pin?
Well, that’s awesome, because you can also be on the receiving end of that. If someone clicks on a hashtag that you’ve used, they’re likely to see your pin and click on it. You have to have the mindset of people coming to Pinterest to discover things, and if your goal is to serve your audience, you’ll be able to do that.
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Jennifer leaves us with this advice:
If you see something new on social media, invest the time to learn about it. That way, you are growing and learning along with the platform. But if you can’t learn at the beginning, still take the time to learn with childlike wonder. Always test and analyze and figure out what strategy works for you. You won’t learn new things if you sit around and wait for other people to come to tell you about them!
Ready to take a deeper dive into learning how hashtags work on Pinterest? Check out Jennifer’s Hashtag Pro course. Jennifer is offering Simple Pin Podcast listeners a $50 discount by using this link OR using code SIMPLEPIN at check out over at Smart Creative Social. #AWESOME
2:32 – Smart Fun DIY
12:11 – Q & A
12:16 – How Many Hashtags and Where
22:16 – Broad or Specific Hashtags
28:32 – Updating Old Pins
29:58 – The Difference Between Instagram and Pinterest Hashtags
33: 56 – Are Hashtags Actually Being Clicked On?
36:12 – Final Questions