Since this article was written, new rules about hashtags on Pinterest have come out. Learn more about why you should not use hashtags on Pinterest.
Prior to the rise of Twitter the # symbol led a life of innocence and simplicity. You could find it on coffee mugs and t-shirts letting you know exactly who was number one.
Every now and then, you’d hear the automated voice on the other side of the telephone telling you to “push the pound sign” to continue. It was a very useful little symbol that didn’t receive much consideration.
Boy, how things have changed. This is the Cinderella story of symbols, moving from complete obscurity to celebrity all because of social media. In the social world it isn’t known as the number symbol or pound sign, no sir, this is a hashtag!
Hashtags and Pinterest
For a short time, while Pinterest was making the big transition from the old look to the new look, hashtags stopped functioning but now they’re back.
Within Pinterest, as in other social sites such as Twitter and Instagram, hashtags serve as a shortcut to performing a search for other pieces of content.
There are several places that I have seen hashtags used in Pinterest including, board titles, board descriptions, account descriptions and profile names. Sorry to disappoint Pinterest users who have used them in these places in hopes of making their accounts or boards easier to find but, hashtags DON’T work in these areas, they are not clickable.
In Pinterest, hashtags are only clickable and searchable in pin descriptions and they work a bit differently than they do in Twitter or Instagram. Clicking on a hashtag in a pin’s description will not only result in pins that include that hashtag but also in pins that include the same word or phrase in the description.
For example, when clicking on #motivationalquote, pins with the exact same hashtag in the description and some with the same phrase with the words separated by a hyphen appeared.
Clicking on a hashtag can also result in pins without the word or phrase in the description at all. I came across the hashtag, #babyclothes and when clicked on, some of the pins didn’t contain the phrase or any of the words in the description.
For example, when I clicked on #babyclothes, one of the pins that came up in the search was of a rubber duck. Duck was the only word in the description but the reason this pin appeared was because of the link attached to this pin.
The URL tied to this pin had the phrase babyclothes in it. This is something to keep in mind when naming your images, blog posts and product pages. Even though Pinterest is an image based, search results are still based on words.
While hashtags are not directly clickable in account or board descriptions, individual boards and accounts can be searched for with them. After clicking on a hashtag, the word or phrase will appear in the search box. Underneath your profile image on the top right corner of the search results page, you have the option to search for boards pins or pinners.
Prior to the change to the new look, if the words in the hashtag were capitalized, that would have impact on the search results. Now capitalization does not matter, the results are the same.
To make the most of hashtags the best approach would be to make one that is unique. This technique is often used in Pinterest contest where participants must pin items with a specific hashtag as part of the entry process. However, it may take a while for you hashtag to be searchable.
As a test, I included #pinterestingtips in a few of my pins and after 2 days they are not searchable. It’s unclear why. To maximize your pins’ chances for being found be sure to include more than just a hashtag in the description, use common descriptive keywords too. For an extra boost, include key words in the link attached to the pin.
Hashtags have come a long way and in Twitter and Instagram they have definitely made their mark. Will you be using hashtags in Pinterest?
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