How to Use Pinterest Hashtags to Build Your Brand and Drive More Site Traffic

Pinterest is the social media platform that’s less about others and more about you! Have you noticed that your mindset isn’t about connecting with other pinners on Pinterest or engaging in the comments? It’s the result of the platform’s usage. Your focus is exclusively on your interests. But before we get into Pinterest hashtag best practices, let’s consider what the platform was designed to support.

Pinterest is the place for creating, inspiring, motivating, and gathering ideas. It’s a digital vision board for its users, where many pin things to use now or engage with later. It’s also one of the few platforms that encourage users to click away from it. That’s right! Unlike most social media platforms, Pinterest enables creators to ensure links include content, are up-to-date, and remain accurate for the content within the Pin.  You are also encouraged to click the Pin links for further depth into the Pin’s content as a pinner. Links are an excellent thing for the creator and the audience.

The approach is an e-commerce dream, with pinners purchasing at a 10X rate of other platforms. The overall intention of Pins is conversion to action. This creates a very healthy, lucrative relationship with justifying platform advertising and the effort used to build out your Pinterest for product-based creators.

If you're approaching hashtags on @Pinterest in the same way you do on @Instagram, you're doing it wrong. Here's what you need to know about hashtag best practices for @Pinterest. #SocialMediaTips| via @altimesenichole Click To Tweet

The foundations of a quality Pin

Before diving into Pinterest hashtag best practices, let’s discuss the primary components of a Pin. For a quality Pin, creators should have the following:

  • A compelling vertical image. As a visual-first platform, creators are tasked with capturing the pinner’s attention with fantastic visuals. Don’t overlook the importance of your image. Pinners will see your picture first, determining the following action of continuing to scroll or saving it within their own boards. You can include your logo or a watermark, a powerful text overlay that drives action (more to come on this later), and an image or video worth slowing down the thumb scrolling action.
  • Good branding. Once your Pin goes live, it can have repining power for months. Leverage this opportunity by incorporating your branding into your Pin in a non-intrusive way.
  • Great description. Consider this the copy for your Pin, but do not imitate the type of copy you would write for other platforms. We will dive deeper into this later, but your description should be clear and straightforward.
  • A clear call to action. I mentioned this above, but CTA’s can make or break your conversion. The CTA for your Pin should have visibility on your image and within your descriptions that drive pinners to act. It’s also okay to leverage FOMO (the fear of missing out). Habitually, pinners can pin something today with the intent to click on those items later. Be mindful of this behavior and make swift action a priority in your Pin messaging.

That’s the primary thing that makes the platform unique in comparison to its industry peers. Hashtags on Pinterest have always been a lower prioritized action by Pin creators and the pinners on the platform. In September 2017, Pinterest announced that hashtags are welcome on the platform. However, over the years, the effectiveness and relevancy of using them have been unclear. Now, in 2021, hashtags are less about content and user engagement and more about maximizing views to Pins as much and as long as possible.

3 ways hashtags on Pinterest complement SEO

When thinking of Pinterest Pins, the hashtags can support your content efforts in three ways:

  1. Searchability: Unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the majority of the others, Pinterest is less about followers and more about searchability. Consider Pinterest to be more like Google, but for visual planning. The searchability of your Pins can make a world of difference in your monthly views.
  2. Discovery: It’s one thing to have your content searchable, but it’s also important to land on discovery feeds. This elevated layer of visibility can further enhance the reach of Pins. Your content’s discoverability can be found on a pinners home feed, through platform search, related pins, or the Today tab.
  3. Ranking: Pinterest is SEO-driven, and hashtags help boost your ranking within searches. When hashtags are properly added within that Pin description, it reinforces the Pin SEO on the platform, increasing the chances for the Pin’s visibility to be included on the first page of pins.

Pinterest bonus tip: Did you know that the shelf-life of a Pin can be up to three months? Compared to other platforms, a tweet can last on average 15-30 minutes, a Facebook post 90-minutes up to 6 hours, while LinkedIn and an Instagram post can retain their shelf-life for an average of 24 hours.

The lasting power of your Pin demonstrates its ability to last well beyond its posting date. Because of this, remember that evergreen content is the most effective type of content for Pinterest. This ensures the content remains relevant for pinners that save your content with the intent to engage with it later.

It also helps future pinners that align with your content. Should your content not be evergreen, make reminders to edit your Pins or refresh links or descriptions. The most annoying thing for pinners involves the excitement of finding a product, tip, or idea on Pinterest, clicking the link, and realizing that it no longer exists (or worst, the link is broken).

Brand-building Pinterest case study

Lifestyle and décor blogger Sophia Lee is an excellent example of leveraging the power of Pinterest to build her brand and presence on the platform. With over 10 million monthly viewers to her profile, her Pins have great visuals, clear, direct copy, and 2-3 hashtags when they’re used within the Pin descriptions.

With clickable hashtags available only on mobile, it’s clear that hashtags have a minimal level of importance on Pinterest. Still, Sophia’s content displays a happy union between the platform’s SEO and how hashtags can complement one another to get you the best visibility possible.

Pinterest bonus tip: Hashtags in your bio are unnecessary unless they’re branded hashtags. If you plan to use your brand hashtag within select content and Pins, your profile will also filter in with similar content during platform searches.

If you enjoyed learning about Pinterest, be sure to check out our monthly content radar — Social Media Edition, which includes the latest updates on all platforms, including the underrated powerhouse that is Pinterest.

As you can tell, hashtags and their effectiveness vary by platform. Although the origin of usage remains similar, how people interact with them can change drastically.  Check out best practices for Twitter and Instagram, and think of ways you can incorporate these best practices into your daily content.

Pinterest hashtag best practices: 6 dos and don’ts:

Now that you’ve seen the power of Pinterest at work through the case study above, learn some Pinterest hashtag best practices for your own brand.

1. DO consider the placement of your hashtags. The hashtags on Pinterest are not like the hashtags on Instagram. Although they have a similar purpose of helping like-minded users find and discover your content, your hashtags on Pinterest should have more of an SEO approach rather than a content-centric focus.

2. DON’T overpopulate your Pins with hashtags. The messaging for your Pins should be very intentional, and your hashtags are for searchability, not people connections. Best practices recommend that you use two to five hashtags that complement your keywords. For example, if you’re keyword is Fashion, your hashtag can be #WomensFashion.

3. DO remember that hashtags are ideal for mobile pinners. In March 2021, it appeared that clickable hashtags on Pinterest were available on mobile only. It is unclear if this could change, but it’s important to note how platform hashtags are not intended for consumer engagement.

4. DON’T treat hashtags on Pinterest like you would on Instagram. Constantly remind yourself that Pinterest is unlike any other social media platform. Hashtags on other platforms have a higher engagement of their consumers. They’re clickable content by the users. For Pinterest, consider them complementary to the SEO strategy. Very few pinners seek hashtags on the platform, but hashtags will help filter your content into searches that align with a pinner’s interest.

5. DO add your hashtags to the end of your text. When incorporating hashtags into your content, there is no need to #add them within your #text. Keep your copy clean and your hashtags added at the end of your text and not included within your copy messaging.

6. DON’T add branded hashtags to your Pins. It can be tempting and possibly habitual with other platforms, but branded hashtags are typically unnecessary on Pins. Unless you want the pure formality to have visibility for your brand, it’s irrelevant to users and the success of your Pin.

Pinterest bonus tip: Content writers are beautiful with words, and they can really pull a reader in on some platforms like blogs, Instagram and Facebook. Do not consider Pinterest on this list. Pinterest descriptions should be clear, concise, and to the point. Think about this: Pinners are there to gather data, inspiration, tips, and ideas.

Your Pin messaging should support this not with fluffy descriptions but with clear information and call-to-action. Pinterest best practices state that copy should be 100 characters for titles and 500 characters for your description (including spaces). Don’t overthink your copy. Get to the point and focus your energy on the things that matter most on the platform.


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About the author

Altimese Nichole

Altimese Nichole is a best-selling author, speaker, brand strategist, publicist, and diversity champion with a heart to help her clients win as the Founder of The Ezer Agency. She attained her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications, Broadcast Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University and completed her Master of Management degree from the University of Phoenix. She has over 12 years of experience with public relations and marketing with companies small and large, including CNN, Cartoon Network, Black Bride Magazine, Church's Chicken, Sutter Home Wines, La Femme International Film Festival, Facebook, and more.