How to best use hashtags on Pinterest

When promoting your books, you definitely want to find a way to market them using Pinterest, the social media network that is sort of like a virtual bulletin board. Pinterest boards rank well on Google search engines, and its users as of spring 2015 number well over 70 million.

Whether you should bother using hashtags with those pins on Pinterest, however, is open to debate.

First, there are a few reasons to save yourself some time and forgo hashtags on Pinterest.

Hashtags don’t really offer the same search benefit on Pinterest as they do on Twitter. If you click on a hashtag in a pin or type it into Pinterest’s search engine, you’ll get any pin with the hashtag’s keyword in it, not just those pins using only that keyword. In short, #hiking lands you any pin with the word hiking in it; if you just wanted to find some trails to backpack, you’ll also be inundated with pins about governments hiking fees and fashion tips for hiking up one’s hemline.

Further, Pinterest hashtags don’t work on mobile apps. With mobile devices increasingly the primary way people connect on the Internet, hashtags suddenly seem of limited value when they don’t work for many of your online readers.

Also, unlike Twitter, a hashtag at Pinterest is only clickable in a pin description. Because of this, there’s no need to put them in your username, about section, or board titles. This in turn limits the usefulness of any hashtag.

There are some pro’s, of course, to using hashtags on Pinterest.

The first depends upon you maximizing the effectiveness of a Pinterest hashtag by creating one that is unique to your books. To keep people coming to pins mainly about your books, a unique hashtag rather than a general one achieves that. Indeed, a general hashtag very likely will lead them away from your pins.

One benefit of using hashtags on Pinterest has nothing to do with Pinterest itself. You can tweet your pins from Pinterest as well as post them on Facebook, so adding hashtags to a pin can save you posting time – and while a general hashtag isn’t very effective on Pinterest, it can be on Twitter.

A final note: Should you opt to include hashtags with you your pins, don’t overdo it. The social norms of Pinterest users are such that overusing hashtags is considered bad manners. Besides that your pin appear like a spam post, a bunch of hashtags just makes your pin look cluttered on a mobile device. Three hashtags are more than enough.

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My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.