Pinterest for Conference, Wedding and Event Planners

pin tacks on pinboardIn recent months, there has been a lot of buzz about Pinterest. This colorful new social media channel is now very much in the news and the blogosphere:

While I am a fairly early adopter, I don't just jump on the bandwagon for new technology and social media sites. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and entrepreneurs can only spread themselves so thin. The last thing anyone needs is yet another social media channel to manage.

It was a tweet by Patrick Adams‏ @PAdamsNY leading to this story on Mashable that finally made me decide to investigate Pinterest:

As a blogger, it is obvious why this sparked my interest. I finally decided to check Pinterest out and dig deeper to share the information with Cvent Blog readers. The first thing I can assure you is that Pinterest is easy to use and great fun. Here are my recently created Pinterest pinboards. Here is where you can find the Cvent Pinterest pinboards.

Pinterest in a Nutshell

Pinterest is a "virtual pinboard" (or bulletin board as we call them in the U.S. and Canada). Users can start pinboards and create colorful displays by pinning photos and videos on the blank canvas. There is a field in the user profile to add a website as well as Twitter, and Facebook links. To join Pinterest, new users require an invitation. Just tweet that you are looking for a Pinterest invitation with the #pinterest hashtag or contact a current user in your network to request an invitation. It took me less than 30 minutes to get an invitation and begin to create my first pinboard.

After you pin a photo, you can edit it to add a link to a website or blog. That is where the application for business comes in. Businesses can use Pinterest to share interesting and engaging photos and drive traffic to blogs and websites.

As with any other social media, no one will engage with the virtual equivalent of a used car salesperson who is just pitching his or her wares. Pinterest's Pin Etiquette stipulates that users are expected to avoid using Pinterest "purely as a tool for self-promotion." Event planning firms and other businesses need to walk a fine line and ensure that they share balanced content. If all pins consist of promotions and links back a company website, this is considered a violation of Pinterest Terms of Use. Users can be reported for posting objectionable content.

12 Ways for Event Planners to use Pinterest

Pinterest has many features that make it a perfect fit for event and conference planners. It's visual, interactive, fun, and very user-friendly. You can use Pinterest for:

  1. brainstorming to come up with event ideas
  2. crowdsourcing ideas for conferences (just put out a call for people to submit photos with suggests for conference topics by posting on a conference organizer's pinboard.
  3. event marketing.
  4. sharing or summarizing content from events or business meetings. This can be user-created; as a events or business meetings progress, invite audience members to pin photos that convey conference highlights.
  5. encouraging participants to post images from the event and share feedback.
  6. follow-up. Post photos with links to articles or blog entries to reinforce key learning points or take-aways from an event
  7. promoting blogs with content for event, meeting, conference, and wedding planners
  8. creating virtual portfolios with photos and videos of your events
  9. showcasing event venues, hotels and resorts.
  10. promoting a destination
  11. driving traffic to your website
  12. highlighting special website promotions

What would you add to this list?

Copyright Controversy

Pinterest is not without its controversy. It started a few weeks ago with a blog post by Kristen Kowalski, a photographer and lawyer who tearfully deleted her Pinterest account.  Her concerns were two-fold: While Pinterest Terms of Use make it clear that users bear all risks for copyright violations, they also state that, by pinning content, users are granting Pinterest a transferable license to use the content.

Pin with Caution

So what does all of this mean in plain English? I am not a lawyer so I really can't answer that. I did tweet and ask Pinterest if users were permitted to pin YouTube videos that they didn't create. I now realize that this is not a fair question. Ultimately, these matters get settled in the courts.

So, pin away, experiment and have fun but ensure that your content is balanced (promotional vs. non-promotional). Do ensure that you created and own all content that you post on Pinterest.

Follow Cvent on Pinterest for fun event planning tips, ideas, inspiration and more!

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