Guest Post by PJ Taei
The last decade has seen numerous social networking sites come and go as technology and society themselves continue to evolve. For every example like Facebook that boasts hundreds of millions of monthly active users around the world, you have a site like Friendster or MySpace that people barely even remember in 2019.
Pinterest is one of those sites that thankfully falls into the former category instead of the latter.
According to one recent study, Pinterest still boasts 250 million monthly active users around the globe as of the fall of 2018. About 125 million of those users are based in the United States and all told, they’ve created more than 175 billion pins since the site went live.
If you want to have a unique, relevant and compelling “conversation” with your target audience in the modern era, Pinterest is still one of the most valuable tools that you have. But to truly get the most out of your investment, you need to better acquaint yourself with one powerful little feature built into the platform:
Similar to other social media channels, Hashtags are short words or phrases that are commonly preceded by a “#” symbol that people on sites like Pinterest use to search and quickly identify posts on specific topics. But more than that, hashtags are an opportunity for marketers to not only boost their visibility on Pinterest, but dramatically increase their return on investment as well.
Using those hashtags simply requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
The Finer Points of Leveraging Hashtags on Pinterest
From a certain perspective, think about hashtags like keywords that you strategically use on your website in order to boost your larger SEO efforts: instead of targeting Google with those keywords, you’re targeting the far more specific Pinterest audience.
Much like Google, Pinterest uses a unique algorithm to decide what types of content people see. The elements that make up this algorithm are:
- The Smart Feed, which includes, content a user sees immediately after logging in
- The Following Feed, which is content posted by people that the user has followed
- Searches, which are the results that appear whenever someone searches for a keyword or phrase
Using hashtags not only gives you higher visibility in Pinterest searches, but it can also garner you prime real estate in something called the Pinterest Hashtag Feed as well.
The Pinterest Hashtag feed is heavily reliant on when something was posted – meaning that newer posts will always appear more prominently than older ones.
You can add up to 20 hashtags to the description of every piece of content you post, and you should absolutely do so. The more recently you include a hashtag on a particular topic, the more likely it is that current searchers will find you.
Hashtag Best Practices
When you add music to a video you’ve posted on Pinterest, for example, there are at least three hashtag opportunities hiding in plain sight. The first is whatever the subject of your video happens to be. The second is the name of the song you’ve added, and the third is the artist behind that song. This way, anyone searching for that track is going to come across your video – even if they weren’t necessarily looking to connect with a brand like yours. If what they happen to find is engaging, relevant content, you come out all the better for it.
As stated, you can have up to 20 hashtags per pin on the site – but they shouldn’t all be variations of one another. For the best results, try to come up with as many hashtags as possible in the following categories:
- Did you take an incredible photo from Manhattan? Be sure to include #Manhattan in your post
- Industry-specific. A video on demand business promoting themselves on Pinterest would naturally want to include things like #VOD #VideoOnDemand and similar variations
- Calls to action. This is self-explanatory. Always include things like #clickhereformore or #callustoday, the same as you would on something like a landing page
If you need help finding the best hashtags, you can once again allow Pinterest to be your guide. Visit the profiles of other brands in your industry and pay attention to not only what types of content they’re using, but what hashtags accompany it. The chances are high that you’ll quickly find a huge number of hashtags that you hadn’t even considered. There are also a variety of different tools that you can use to help automate this process like Hashtagify and others. Consider these tools as the Pinterest equivalent to something like the Google Keyword Planner.
Finally, be sure to pay attention to which hashtags people are responding to and which ones they aren’t. Don’t be afraid to try variations of hashtags until you find the one that really strikes a chord. Once you get a little bit of traction with a hashtag, that momentum tends to build on itself over time. So once you do find something that resonates with people and that folks start using on their own, don’t be afraid to hit that hashtag, again and again, moving forward.
In the End
Ultimately, the most important thing for you to remember is that while hashtags are a way to help people find your content, they’re also valuable for a much larger reason. They’re also a powerful way to grow an online community, bringing people together over their love and interest in certain subjects. By strategically picking out keywords that work well with your post – even if they’re not directly related to your products and services – you’re giving people a new opportunity to become exposed to your brand.
Pretty soon, that brand will become an organic part of both the conversation and the community and your bottom line will absolutely thank you for it.