Hashtags on Pins You Make
I want to say something about hashtags here, on the topic of pins you create. As I mentioned in a previous lesson, Pinterest professionals are advising business pinners to use hashtags in their pin descriptions now. Hashtags are another way to increase your Pinterest SEO.
How do you know which hashtags you should use? A quick way to find hashtags for your product and blog pins is to use the Pinterest search bar and search for a hashtag you already have in mind.
I'll walk you through an example.
I’ve done a search for #cutejewelry here. One of these pins looks a bit like things I’m pinning for my TinyHands account, so I’m going to click on it and see what other hashtags that pinner might be using.
They’re using a lot of hashtags! I don’t recommend using that many, since it looks like keyword stuffing and will turn off some pinners.
The Tailwind blog thinks you only need a few hashtags on a pin, and that’s what I would use on my own pins. The one good thing about this pin having so many hashtags is it gives me some good ideas of hashtags I could use. I’m going to look through the ones they have here and record any of these hashtags that might apply to my own product or blog pins.
These hashtags are all clickable and will take you to new search results pages within Pinterest. I’m going to click on the hashtag #handmadejewelry since that one fits my products. Here’s the results page for that hashtag search.
If I decide to click on some of these I can see even more hashtags, and then I can click on those, and so on and so on.
If you decide to use hashtags, it’s worth spending a few minutes doing searches like this, opening up pins that seem like yours and adding relevant hashtags to your list of hashtags that might be useful for pins you’re going to create.
Make a Hashtag Swipe File
Having a swipe file of your best hashtags is going to save you time, so it’s worth setting one up. A simple google doc or other text document would work. Here’s an example hashtag file for Tiny Hands Jewelry. My brand hashtag is there, as well as several hashtags that relate in general to my product line. And then I have one or two strong but more specific hashtags for product segments. Don’t go crazy here! A small swipe file of hashtags you can refer to in a hurry is all we’re trying to create. It’s a pain to think up hashtags on the fly.
I recommend coming up with one branded hashtag you use on all of your pins – mine would be #tinyhandsjewelry – and then maybe having one or two more general but very popular hashtags that describes your brand – mine could be #foodjewelry and #polymerclayjewelry. I could use both of those hashtags on all of my pins. If I want to add pins that are specific to the exact product, I could go with #cupcakenecklace and #foodnecklace, so the pin would show up in a very targeted search for exactly that thing.
Let’s go back to that example pin that had dozens of hashtags. Pinterest lets you use up to 20. You really can use none, or just 1 or 2, and you really don’t need to use more than 4 or 5, according to advice from all of the Pinterest pros I’ve checked. They agree that the quality of your hashtags is much more important than the quantity. Be sure you are using hashtags that pinners will use to find a product like yours. Keep them specific, accurate, and descriptive.
Here’s an example using Love, Georgie’s custom cufflinks hashtag. She’s used four hashtags at the end of her pin description. These are pretty general tags for her customized gift business, except for that one hashtag “#customcufflinks” – that is what I’d call a product-specific hashtag.
Notice that she’s also used her brand name in the first line of the pin description.
Here is where that pin shows up in the search results for hashtag #customcufflinks.
Remember that hashtag searches give you chronological search results. If you’re using a popular hashtag like #handmadejewelry on your pin descriptions, you’ll appear here at the top of this search for a few minutes, but then you’ll start getting pushed lower on the page as newer pins take your place. The custom cufflinks pin we just saw was posted 21 hours ago and is still at the top of the search results for the hashtag #customcufflinks. But what if the hashtag is more popular?
Let’s go back to that #handmadejewelry hashtag search for a minute. Everything on this search results page was posted just minutes ago. And if I wait a couple minutes, that very first pin with the cute earrings has already moved to the bottom of my search results screen.
The speed with which that pin is dropping to the bottom of the search results page shows me that this hashtag #handmadejewelry is very popular. Since really popular hashtags get buried quickly, you shouldn’t count on them too much for visibility in hashtag searches. Instead you want to use a mix of popular and less common hashtags to give yourself a better chance of being seen near the top of the page in hashtag search results.
Remember that hashtag swipe file? I’ve italicized some of the hashtags. Those are the ones that are popular. When I refer to this document as I’m creating pins I can use a good mix of popular and niche hashtags without much effort, since I can pull some of the ones in italics and some of the ones that aren’t italicized. (You don’t have to use italics like I’ve done. You could use bold text or change the text color, whatever makes it easy for you to distinguish the popular and niche hashtags from one another.) For my own swipe file, I mark a hashtag as popular if the top of its search page only contains pins that were posted today or this week. You don’t have to use my swipe file format, but I find it speeds up the process for me.
Pins aren’t the only place you can use hashtags, by the way. You can use them on your board descriptions too. That’s just something I want you to keep in mind, but since hashtags are fairly new on Pinterest and most people aren’t searching for them, you don’t have to make this a priority yet for your board descriptions.
Choose Non-Spammy Hashtags
It is really important that your hashtags accurately describe the pin’s content. Your hashtags should be closely related to it, or else you risk being flagged by pinners for posting irrelevant content (also known as spam). Only apply hashtags that actually describe your pin. If you have any doubt about whether a hashtag is appropriate, it’s better to just leave that hashtag out.
Pinterest is a search platform, not a social media platform. Joke, meme, and commentary hashtags that you’d use on Instagram or Facebook aren’t going to work well on Pinterest. For things I’m pinning to my Cupcake Crazy board, for example, #ilovecupcakes would be a poor Pinterest hashtag, but #cutecupcakes would work fine.
Use Hashtags at End of Description
If you’re going to use hashtags on Pinterest, use them at the end of your pin description. Not all pinners enjoy seeing hashtags on this platform. If you put your hashtags at the end of the pin description they’re kind of hidden from pinners behind the “more” button, so you are less likely to get reported for spam-like behavior.
Hashtags aren’t essential, but if you do use them, I want you to use accurate ones so you benefit from searches but don’t get penalized.