Use Pinterest As A Virtual Directory Of Speaker And Attendee Profiles

February 11, 2012

in Documentation, Ideas, Marketing, Tools

Pinterest is the new kid on the block of Social Networking and many event organizers have been pondering how to use it to “pimp” their events.

One practical application would be to follow the example of creative mastermind Marcel Kampman (creative director of PICNIC Festival and organizer of Mastermundo) and use Pinterest to aggregate and share the profiles of the speakers, staff and attendees of your next event. Marcel recently created the Happykampers, a visual directory of “people who change things simply by touching them” (a collection of photos representing each of the  invited guests…actually their  index fingers) and this same concept can be extended to a conference.

How To Use Pinterest For Your Event

Create four different boards for speaker, attendees, staff and advisor’s profiles.

In Pinterest, a “board” is a collection of “pins”, aggregating them by a given topic ( in our case topics would be speakers, staff , advisors and attendees). A  pin is an image added to Pinterest, which can also have a description and a click-through link (photo of the person, name, surname, company, professional title and link to their “extended bio” in our own event website or an external source like the person’s blog, linkedin profile, etc).

Boards can be created by a single user or by several contributors (other Pinterest users). This will come in handy during the event.

To reduce the amount of work, it might be smart to do the following: create the speaker and other profiles on Pinterest and then embed them on your own website. This way you don’t have to host the profiles write the content on Pinterest and your website (it makes it faster to make changes, update text, photo, etc).

Below is an example of an embedded profile.


Before The Event – Serendipitous Discovery

3 boards: speakers, staff and advisors. I’d recommend you to include links to their extended profiles on your own event website to increase the incoming traffic or embed the pins in your own website. If you don’t have an event website or if it’s too complicated to host people’s profiles there, you can link to external sources like the person’s blog, linkedin profile, company website, etc.

Share links to these Pinterest boards in your pre-event communications (email, event blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc) and encourage attendees to download Pinterest so they can easily browse the boards on mobile (you don’t need to be registered to Pinterest to browse the boards from a smartphone, tablet or desktop/laptop computer).

The advantage of being present on Pinterest is that you’ll be creating an extra source of information for your attendees and a new source for serendipitous discovery. Pinterest encourages viral dynamics by allowing anyone on this social network to “re-pin” someone else’s pin, so this could end up spreading the profiles of your speakers to new people that never heard about your event. If you use the event’s profile pages as a url on each individual pin, you can increase the incoming traffic to the event website.


Happykampers - A board of "people that change things" by Marcel Kampman

During The Event – Collaborative Faceroll

I often write about the importance of creating a faceroll (read article on how to create a faceroll for you event), a collection of the photos of all the participants of an event. The faceroll acts as a memory of who attended and how they looked like on that given occasion and allows people to browse to the faces of the other participants instead of a sterile name list.

Pinterest’s Collaborative Board feature is perfect for creating such a faceroll. It allows several people to contribute to one same board. A way to proceed would be to provide the event’s staff with an iPhone or iPod Touch and take a photo of each attendee when they pass through the registration area (I also suggest having a background with the event and sponsor logos as backgroung, just like they do in the interviews after football matches). By taking the photo of the attendees while they go through registration you make sure to have a photo of everyone present.

During the event, invite attendees to use Pinterest to check out who else is attending.

Pinterest After The Event – Who Was There

Add a link to all the Pinterest boards in your thank you or survey email to all attendees, so they can review who attended, recall the faces/names/companies of those they’ve met and keep it for future reference.


Update: I’m slowly creating a Pinterest board with event organizers from around the world.


  • Kyle Hillman

    I like using it for Faceroll idea, for speakers and staff, I would prefer keeping the attendees on the conference website where I can control the design and more importantly the ads and services I would like the attendees to see.

    This seems to be a “pintrest is cool, how can I apply it.” rather than does pintrest solve a problem or create a better experience. I think the industry has to be careful that we are not chasing cool for cool sake.

    • Gianfranco Chicco

      Thanks for your feedback Kyle.

      While I agree that Pinterest is cool NOW (and for that reason it creates an opportunity), I actually think that doing the Attendee Faceroll board is probably the best use you could give it.

      1) It’s super easy to create a board with photographs of the attendees when they arrive to the event (just provide the staff at the registration area an iOS device)
      2) As an user, it’s easy to browse through a board to see who is actually there and also how they look like (as opposed to the avatars that many people have in their online profiles or the photos they provide to the organizers, which are usually old, “creative” or non representative of the person)
      3) To browse a board, the users don’t need to have the app installed and can also do it from their laptop/tablet
      4) The organizer does not need to have a dedicated app for their event (many event organizers cannot afford one)

      What would make it a bit better? 
      If you could create private boards and share the password only with the attendees. But many events don’t care about keeping their network of attendees secret (after all, you’re not offering contact info and you really need to be present at the event to meet them) and in fact it could even be a way to show off who attended. 

      So far Pinterest does not add any sort of ads to their site (at least I never got them).

    • Gianfranco Chicco

      As an example to my previous comment, I’m creating a board with many of the event organizers I’ve met Many of the photos are taken from the web (about half were taken by myself at their events, pre-Pinterest) but it’s an excelent visual aid for when I need to see who is doing what and where.

  • Barry C Mosher

    You can create private boards using the enhance Pin It button;

  • Pingback: A more strategic approach/discussion on Pinterest for #tradeshows. | expochat()

Previous post:

Next post: