Hashtags can be found everywhere on both Instagram and Twitter, and occasionally on Pinterest. As an avid Twitter geek, I’ve often wondered how come they’re not as prevalent on Pinterest. Perhaps there’s a marketing opportunity to exploit. But would it be worth the effort?
Initially my research into the topic yielded conflicting advice with people falling either into one camp or the other. In the end, I realized that hashtags can be useful in particular circumstances. Here’s what I discovered.
Hashtags Offer a Different Experience on Pinterest
Hashtags may be a great way of finding content on Twitter, but it’s a different case when it comes to Pinterest. Hashtags are supported on this platform, and they kind of work the same way.
But on Pinterest, hashtags in account descriptions, board titles, board descriptions or profile names aren’t clickable. The only place you can click and search hashtags are in a Pin’s description.
On the bright side, hashtag search results can be filtered to show just boards. But notice how the search for #growthhacking returned some boards that didn’t have the hashtag. Some just had the right word in the title or description. So putting hashtags in your board or account descriptions may not help much in the end at all, especially if they’re general terms.
Pinterest doesn’t offer much in the way of guidelines regarding hashtag use. However according to this Pinterest for Business post, “having too many of them in your descriptions may negatively impact your ranking.” That’s definitely something to keep in mind. Another restriction is that Promoted Pins are limited to a maximum of one hashtag in the description.
Hashtag Searches Return Poor Results
Using a hashtag to search on Pinterest currently leaves much to be desired. Yes, you can do it, but you never know what you’re going to get.
It’s not uncommon for hashtag searches to return irrelevant results, making the entire exercise pointless and frustrating. Marketers on Instagram and Twitter use hashtags as a method of increasing their visibility because search algorithms on those platforms are more elegant and more inclusive of hashtags. But in the case of Pinterest, the unpredictability of hashtag searches means using them can hurt more than help. Here’s what I mean.
This search for #growthhacking returned additional entries including a couple of Pins on social media. That’s not good because it may end up leading visitors away from your content.
Using Hashtags for Pinterest Contests
Unique hashtags work best on Pinterest. Ideally, the hashtag should have nothing in common with frequently used search terms. You want a one-of-a-kind hashtag that can lead Pinners back to your content.
BloomsByTheBox had such great results the first time around that they created another contest using the hashtag #MyFavoriteBlooms2. Participants create a new Pinterest board with the hashtag, pin images from the site to their board and enter their name for the draw.
The contest provides both brand recognition and discovery at the same time. Although the original contest finished some time ago, there are still numerous Pinterest boards with the hashtag #MyFavoriteBlooms.
Using Hashtags for Social Media Campaigns
Even if you’re not running a contest, you can still use hashtags for promotional efforts across your social media campaigns. For branding purposes, you want to make sure the hashtag is unique and memorable. It’s an effective way of keeping tabs on your marketing effort because when you click on the hashtag in Pinterest, all the pins from that campaign show up in the search.
Hashtags have their place on Pinterest when used correctly. How do you use hashtags? Have you seen any good examples? Let us know in the comments below.