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Best Ways to Use Hashtags on Pinterest

Best Ways to Use Hashtags With Pinterest

There are always hot topics about Pinterest that people want to know about. They want to know how to get their pins to show up in Pinterest search results or how to drive more web traffic to their blog. There’s no doubt that one of the most controversial topics that I have come across Pinterest marketing is the use of hashtags.

What is a Hashtag?

Let’s start off with what a hashtag is. A hashtag is simply this -> #. You’ll see these across a variety of different social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and occasionally on Facebook as well. When Pinterest first came out in 2010 there was a lot of confusion about hashtags and how they were being used in Pinterest.

Many marketers assumed that by inserting # in their description that their pins would automatically pop up in search results for Pinterest, similar to the way that Twitter’s search works. But this was not the case, and soon a war on how to effectively use them ensued.

As the years have gone by, more and more brands are starting to use hashtags the smart way. Here are seven tips for using hashtags on Pinterest.

Hashtags Lead to Search Results for that Keyword

When you put a # in your pin’s description it will become bolded in the pin’s description when people are viewing them on the desktop version of Pinterest. This allows people to click on the # which leads to search results for Pins that may or may not contain that hashtag.

Usually the results that are shown are a mish mash of pins that contain the words used in the hashtag. I typed in #GardeningTips onto the desktop version of Pinterest and here were some of the results that were shown.

Hashtags on Pinterest - 7 Tips You Need to Know

Notice that some of the results show #GardeningTips, but other pins contain Gardening tips, some have Gardening-tips, and some of the don’t even have the keywords in them.

Not all Hashtags will be Indexed

Just because you put a hashtag in a pin’s description doesn’t automatically mean that it will show up in search results for that hashtag. Pinterest operates very different from Twitter.

To find out how keywords and hashtags are indexed within Pinterest search results, read my article 4 Tips to Make Your Pins more Searchable on Pinterest.

Hashtags May Lead People Away from Your Pin

A major con of having a hashtag on Pinterest is that it does lead people to search results for the keyword associated with that hashtag. Let’s say that I see your pin about gardening tips, I find the pin has the hashtag #gardeningtips and I click on it.

That click then leads me to search results for that #. And since not all hashtags are indexed, the person that clicked on your hashtag has now been taken away from your pin and now is browsing someone else’s pin.

This can be extremely troublesome when someone has click to enlarge a pin, and is seconds away from clicking on it again to be redirected to your website, only to be intrigued by the hashtag and clicks on it to disappear to a whole new set of results.

Hashtags Are Clickable on Mobile Apps

You may read some older articles about Pinterest that mention how hashtags aren’t clickable on Pinterest apps. But from my understanding in 2015, this all changed.

Hashtags are clickable on iOS and Android devices when a person does a close up of a pin and scroll’s down to the pin description area.

Don’t Overuse Hashtags

You’ll still see this practice occur where there are pins that use dozens of hashtags in their descriptions. While this may be a popular practice on Instagram to get more followers, it can be annoying for users of Pinterest and poor etiquette.

Pinterest has officially come out saying that if you do put too many hashtags in your pin description it could actually demote the pin’s search ranking.  (Thanks to Kelly Lieberman from #PinChat for sharing that article.)

Create a Unique Hashtag For Your Business

If you do want to use a hashtag for your business ensure that it’s a unique one. Try to avoid using common search terms that thousands of other pinners have used. This way when you create you own unique hashtag, and people do click on it, it will lead back to search results that are about your blog posts or products.

To help promote my upcoming book Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, I’ll be using the #Pintalysis in pin descriptions that are being used to promote that book since Pintalysis is a unique word.

Don’t Use Hashtags in Board and Account Descriptions

You’ll see some Pinterest boards have hashtags in their pin descriptions. Hashtags in Pinterest board descriptions are not helpful because people rarely search for boards by using hashtags in front of them.

And having them in your board descriptions and are detrimental to Google search results.

Best Ways to Use Hashtags with Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCGNmarketing.com


Avoid using hashtags in your Pinterest board and account descriptions.

Boards on Pinterest can rank very well on Google, but they have to have keywords that people are searching for with the search engine. When was the last time you decided to type into Google #YourSearchTerm? I would imagine close to never.

Leave out the hashtags in your business name and board names and descriptions to help them rank higher in Google search results for terms you want to be searched for.

As an interesting side note, if you enjoy using Pinterest a lot for your personal use, and there’s a particular board that you enjoy pinning to, then consider putting the # in front of the board name. This might be #Favourite Board. Since Pinterest shows boards to pin to in an alphabetical order, board names that have the # in front of their name generally show up at the top of the list before the rest.

Use a Branded Hashtag with Your Promoted Pins

Advertising on Pinterest is here, and if you’re planning on using Promoted Pins for your business one of the no-no’s of advertising with Pinterest is that they don’t allow more than one hashtag in the pin description.

I’m not suggesting it’s necessary, but I understand that sometimes you want to use a hashtag to have a cohesive social media strategy.

And if you do decide you want to use a hashtag in your pin description it should be branded, no generic hashtags such as #travel or #love. Most likely Pinterest is not going to approve of these pins.

Have you been using hashtags in creative ways with Pinterest? Leave a comment and share with other members of the community.

8 Steps to Grow Your Pinterest Community Board

How to Grow a Pinterest Community Board
If you’re a regular of the blog you know I’ve been writing a lot about how to use Pinterest to market your business recently, and the reason is because it’s not only another social network, it’s one where people, mostly women, are spending a lot of time and money.

The social network is quite different from Twitter, and Facebook. It’s not a network trying to engage users with typing, instead they are encourage users to tell parts of their lives through visual sharing. These parts of their lives may include fashion, comics, recipes, and places they want to travel.

What’s powerful about this social network is that brands and businesses can create community boards to help increase their own brand awareness, and be part of other community boards. If you’re a local sports bar, you may want to join a community board that’s dedicated to the local sports team, or better yet start one.

What are Community Boards?

Community boards are boards where there are multiple contributors to one board, where members of that community are given the right to invite others. For example on my community board about creative advertising, The majority of the pins are by me, but if you look at some other pins, other members have posted some amazing advertising examples as well.

One of the main objectives of a community board is to have different people contribute to the Pinterest board.

Pinterest Community Board You’ll recognize a community board because there will be a silhouette of a crowd in the corner. Not all community boards are designed to be invitation to the general public. You can actually invite only people who are only part of your company to contribute, similar to having multiple users for the social media dashboard, Hootsuite.

Benefits of Joining, Creating and Growing a Community Board

There are quite a few established community boards around Pinterest for a variety of topics ranging from health care to social media. One of the boards I was invited to join was created by the good people at Agenda Digital Marketing, about digital blogs.

What’s great for those starting off is that they give you exposure to a number to more followers that you normally don’t reach. The Agenda Marketing blog board already has 438 followers as of this writing. Some boards will have close to tens of thousands of followers depending on the niche. But joining one that’s well established will help raise your Pinterest’s profile much more quickly.

Joining and creating a community board also allows you to increase the number of followers. Many pinners have repeatedly reported in the blogosphere how the number of followers have increased, sometimes dramatically, after joining communities.

How to Build Your Community Board on Pinterest

I couldn’t find a community board for advertising, or one that had a lot of activity (the search function doesn’t allow to search boards that are just community groups). Here’s a step by step guide to getting people to join your group.

1) Create Your Board as if it was an Individual Board to Start.

Create your own board, and then post content that is relevant to that board to make it look filled out so that it doesn’t look an inactive board if users look at the board. This will let other users know that you’re more serious about creating a community instead of just spamming them.

2) Invite Pinners and Influencers to Join the Community Board.

Look for people who would be interested in contributing content to that particular board. And when you’re able to locate influencers in your particular industry don’t be afraid to ask them to join.

Please, don’t just invite random people, it’s really annoying to pinners. I got a community invite regarding baby pictures, I thought that was weird and kind of spammy. And yes, Pinterest has been known to delete millions of spam accounts.

I sent out invites to people who already had boards on advertising. Not everybody will join, but some will. Those that already have community boards on their account are more likely to join because they generally understand what community boards are about.

How to Add People to Group Boards on Pinterest

3) Engage with Your Community.

As the person responsible for the community, ensure that you actually engage with those that pin on your community board. Like their pin, or better yet, add a comment. This way they know you’re paying attention when they see the board, and it will also encourage people to keep pinning.

It’s all about caring about the contribution by your community, and is especially important to new members who join.

4) Properly Name Your Community Board.

I realized there’s a fine line between making your board search friendly on Pinterest and Google and also making it friendly in terms of the pinning menu. Let’s say that you decide to repin someone else’s photo, notice that it will list the boards that you’ve created. The photo on the bottom will give a better visual description.

I recently joined a board about the Vancouver Canucks, it’s not optimized for that search word, but notice how it’s the second board that pops up every time, and that means that all the contributors of that board will also being seeing it pretty high up every time they pin. This keeps the board top of mind.

If she had named it Vancouver Canucks, chances are people are going to contribute less.

PinterestCommunityBoard2

5) Make it Easy for People to Contact You.

This hasn’t caught on fully yet, but it should be standard practice for people that are looking to grow their board, it’s by listing how pinners can contact you and join the community. One of my biggest frustrations as a pinner is seeing this amazing community and wanting to join, but there’s no way for me to join. The description is blank.

Just make sure that when people do ask for an invite, that they have boards that match what your board is about. Make sure you do your due diligence. The last thing you need is a spammer.

How to Join a Pinterest Community

6) You can Only Invite Pinterest Users you Follow.

To prevent spam, Pinterest doesn’t allow you to invite another pinner unless you follow him or her. Unfortunately, even if someone does follow your boards, you invite them. This may make it hard for brands that are trying to keep their follower counts down that are looking to build community boards.

7) Hang in there, and Keep Looking for like Minded People.

Like any other community it’s a lot of work to build. But don’t despair, keep at it. Especially if no one else has built a community about your topic. Judy Belmont posts a lot of pins about mental health, and you can see that she has a rather big following. Regardless of stereotypes of it being just about DIY, recipes and fashion, you can create a lively and enthusiastic community.

8) Promote on Other Social Media.

The last advice I can give is to cross promote your social media. If you’ve created a group board, let your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn know. Making sure it’s relevant, you’ll find that some people will want to join your boards.

And as more people start pinning (I don’t doubt that the social media network will reach 100 million in a few months) then more and more will want to be a part of your community.

That’s 8 steps to Grow your Pinterest Community Board. For more information on how to use Pinterest for marketing and lead generation, I’ll be holding an informative and information packed one hour Pinterest seminar on Thursday, April 11th, between 6:30-8:30 pm at the HiVE in Vancouver. For all the details visit our event page, or feel free to call Vincent at 604 782 0801.

How to Use Pinterest for Marketing Your Business

Unicef Pinterest

Pinterest Isn’t For Every Business

I would like to state that Pinterest is not going to be an effective marketing tool for every business. However, I do encourage businesses to use Pinterest to help with their brand awareness, and depending on the specific industry, it can drive web traffic to your business site to help generate leads.

Did you know that Pinterest drives more referral traffic than other social networking sites, with the exception of Twitter?

How to Use Pinterest for Marketing Your Business

Show off Your Best Work

If you’re in an industry that requires the use of visuals such as graphic design, web design, interior decorating, photography, event planning, or fashion (the possibilities are endless), then Pinterest will definitely be a great social media tool for you. Here’s an example of my Pinterest “Contact Us” board.

Show off your best work, because this will encourage others to repin and capture the attention of potential leads (similar to reposting or retweeing). Pinterest is your visual portfolio that you can to show the world.

Also imagine Pinterest as an online shopping catalog where you rely mostly on photos.What kind of products do you want to show off? How are they being laid out for maximum efficiency to be able to turn browsers into shoppers to your website?

Have Your Pictures Link Back to Your Website

In order to make the most of your pictures, you want to ensure that pictures are attached to a specific url where the picture is being shown for that page.

To drive more leads to your website, you may have a landing page linked to the picture of an e-book that you’re offering for free, and this way it can help populate your e-mail list.

Or if you’re finding that your Linkedin has been great for marketing and lead generation, then start a board that is a “contact us”, and Pin Your Picture and label it underneath clearly that it goes back to your Linkedin profile.

There are two ways to get photos onto Pinterest.

The first method requires you to add pins through a specific url. Let’s say I use my fear based marketing article url.
http://www.mcngmarketing.com/fear-based-marketing-is-it-a-matter-of-life-or-death/#.UQmVOmet21c

Add a Pin

Once this url gets pasted into the entry, Pinterest will recognize all the pictures in that urfl (with the main exception being Flash based pictures) and will allow you to choose which of those photos you wish to pin.

For that blog post, since I have 3 pictures that I thought would make excellent visual content, I pinned all three pictures.

And now when people click on the pictures, they will be redirected to the original blog post.

Uploading photos can be done the same way. You can edit them so that they are linked back to the specific url that they are on. I find this way a little more time consuming since you have to upload an actual picture file, and then go back to the edit section to have them linked to the specific url.

Uploaded photos don’t have to be linked back to the site, but I would assume businesses would want to in order to get more web traffic.

Label your Pins and Boards with Keywords

I highly suggest you caption all your pins and label your boards with keywords that your potential customers may be searching for. This is search engine optimization for Pinterest. The bonus is that your boards can also be SEO’ed for Google as well.

The url created for your board will say www.pinterest.com/username/name-of-board. The end part, name-of-board, will have some influence in the search engine results (SERP).

If people are looking for the newest fashion trends and want to optimize for New York fashion, then you should name one of your boards “Newest Fashion trends in New York” or to have a caption for a pin that says “Latest Jimmy Choo shoes released at New York Fashion show.”

Or if you’re looking to aim for local keywords, then you may have one of the board’s name be “Wedding dresses available in Vancouver”, and have those words in some of the captioning in pictures as well. Just like the way people started searching for information using Twitter, they will do that with Pinterest.

Also, Pinterest doesn’t recognize hashtags within their search, so if you want to label certain pins with those hashtags, don’t, put keywords in with the captioning instead to make it more easier to read. Pinterest is not Twitter or Google Plus. Don’t # it to death.

Engage with Others

Pinterest is a visual cocktail party. There’s so much that’s going on that it can be hard to decide where you want to start. Like Twitter you can search for terms like your city to potentially see who other pinners are and to actively engage with them or to search for them by keywords.

Repininning and Liking are two ways of engaging these members, but the best way is to leave comments about their pins as this is much more noticeable to the pinner as well as to those that may come across the picture. It’s the equivalent of the Like vs Comment on Facebook.

It may take some time, but follow and engage people you really like, and forget about the number of followers you have for now. The number of followers will increase as the type of content that is produced is relevant to the type of audience you want to build.

Find out what’s Working

This is a really cool tip that I learned from Beth Hayden about Pinterest, if you want to find out who’s been pinning your stuff from your website then type in the following into your web broswer search.

www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite (for your website, don’t add the www , example mine would be www.pinterest.com/source/mcngmarketing.com , to find out what’s being repinned

You can also use this to find out what’s popular among your competitor’s website to find out how you may differentiate some aspects of your Pinterest from them.

Start Your Business Account

Pinterest recently announced the launch of business accounts, the look and feel won’t be much different from personal users. The plus side of registering for your business account is that you’ll have resources, such as case studies, badges and widgets that will make it much easier to promote your Pinterest account.

To register for account visit http://business.pinterest.com/

There’s no doubt that there are going to be some exciting changes happening with Pinterest in the future and it will no doubt be a growing network that will help drive new leads to your business. This is one social network you don’t want to be left behind.

For more information on how to use Pinterest for your business, contact us.