This week, Laurence Hebberd stopped by #bufferchat to share his insights on creating an event experience! We discussed creative ways to promote events, strategies for encouraging people to talk at events, how to measure event success, and much more.

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone in other timezones that like this time the best!): 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (California time)

Buffer Chat Wednesday June 1st - Creating the Event Experience - 9PM Pacific Time & 4pm AEST

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 81 participants; 452 tweets; reach of 138,806
2nd Bufferchat: 279 participants; 1,984 tweets; reach of 1,588,304

Q1: Why do you choose to attend in-person events?

From Laurence:

  • I love attending in-person events for one reason: there is no better type of networking than face-to-face!
  • At in-person events, you get to meet new people, learn fresh skills and hear interesting stories!

From the community:

  • “Energy! Nothing available today simulates the energy of being at an event in person.” @keeganlanier
  • “In-person events are necessary for #freelancers to stay social as well as part of their community.” @kathryndlewis
  • “It humanizes who you are and trust is built more easily while networking. The experience & interactions are more personal.” @winniegiang
  • “I love going to meet new likeminded people and see the passion everyone shares about something!” @aumsome
  • “To get out of my comfort zone & experience things first hand.” @kelii

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: What are creative ways to promote and increase sign ups for an event?

From Laurence:

  • I love outlining what attendees will gain from the event – takeaways, lessons and opportunities – clearly.
  • I also enjoy using tools like and to create high quality visual banners and images.

From the community:

  • “I would share other cool people or who are attending, their stories, and why they’re excited. That really excites me.” @izzydoesizzy
  • “Make the RSVP list public if possible, ppl can gauge in advance if it’s the right audience & event for them.” @Earlylightbalt
  • “Doing a cool scavenger hunt or utilizing a GeoCache could put an interesting spin on event promotion.” @matageli
  • “Promote by asking an interesting question, create a hashtag, & have a fun & interactive landing page for more info.” @BrittanySocial
  • “Create buzz with short teaser clips (video, or even visual “slides” w/ fun facts & thought-provoking things you’ll learn.” @dariasteigman

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: Where are some unique event location possibilities and venue ideas?

From Laurence:

  • The possibilities are endless – one day, we’ll hopefully be able to host events on the moon!
  • We hold our annual #smlondon LIVE! conference in a ping pong club – . It’s SO cool!

From the community:

  • “I love more informal places like cafes, parks are perfect for bbq or outdoor theatres for unique atmosphere!” @lenkakopp
  • “Brewery, Theatre, Non-profit HQ, coffee shop, open space ex: warehouse, rooftop or alley.” @heidilauren
  • “Abandoned warehouses, rooftops, garages, marinas, etc. it’s great to have a cool place (maybe with a view) to host!” @laura_bauman
  • “Anywhere that’s easily accessible with plenty of seating, wifi, and outlets.” @MattLaCasse
  • “Using orthodox space for unorthodox reasons can help promote different thinking & perspective. Not only cool, but productive.” @OC2015

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: What are some strategies for encouraging people to meet each other at an event?

From Laurence:

  • At events, we give attendees a name badge with their Twitter username on – it helps conversations to start quickly!

From the community:

  • “Kickstart the conversations before the event even starts — on Twitter. Have hashtag, encourage its use before event.” @The_ChrisBryant
  • “To encourage networking at events, schedule downtime between sessions for socializing + taking a breather.” @Wilde_Agency
  • “Set up tables with ice breakers. Have a scavenger hunt where people go around & have to meet others in certain industries.” @GeoffTBlosat
  • “Provide opportunities to meet on internet either before/during event (like on slack). Esp. great for introverts.” @lkcalloway
  • “Also, having group exercises forces people to interact. Don’t force it but create opportunity and people will fall into it.” @nicoleyoley159

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: Think back to the best event you’ve ever been to… why was it awesome?

From Laurence:

  • The best events for me have always been full of useful teachings and takeaways – plus they were all well organised!

From the community:

  • “I felt like belonged, I listened to others and their stories and they heard me as well. Mutual benefit with real engagement.” @TheKyleMurray
  • “B/c it made the attendees want to keep in contact with each other after the event allowing for great friendships.” @KhadyaHale_VA
  • “Because I met great people, it didn’t “feel” like a networking event, & my face hurt from laughing!” @AshleyPerssico
  • “Best event? Any event that left me feeling inspired with a desire to create/do something great + a few new connections!” @KatLoughrey
  • “Meaty questions encouraged us to dig below the surface and learn from each other.” @Minimologist

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What does a successful event look like to you and how might you measure that success?

From Laurence:

  • Successful events can all be measured in different ways: was it sold out? Did attendees seem happy?
  • Did attendees write blogs online afterwards? How do your social mentions look? It all depends on your end goal.

From the community: 

  • “If attendees come away happy & hungry for more. Also a good digital feedback form never goes amiss either.” @susiemcbeth
  • “Lots of laughter, chatter and interaction. It can’t always be measured by the amount of people present.” @takesdcake
  • “An event that barely “ends” and ppl are already asking about the next time / year and handing in some cool ideas.” @ZalkaB
  • “There are the obvious numbers to look at i.e. attendance, social mentions, etc. I think engagement is the key one to watch.” @JSimmsSocial
  • “The success of an event is how many connections are made & if the event sparks conversation to be carried beyond the event!” @BeccaAtSocial

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What is your #1 actionable tip for creating a great event experience?

From Laurence:

  • My #1 tip: enjoy it yourself! If you are not having fun organising the event, your attendees won’t have fun either!

From the community:

  • “Strike the right balance between structured and unstructured. Have confidence in your plan and you ability to improvise.” @ksschout
  • “The right team! If the right ppl are engaged, the event will carry a positive energy. It comes thru for attendees.” @lizeischen
  • “Inclusivity is important, as well as memorable personal touches and fun out-of-the-box surprises!” @velvetdelirium
  • “Listen to all of the feedback! You want the next event to be even better, so give the people what they need.” @lifeofaworkgirl
  • “Use tools/tech to CONNECT w/ attendees, build a relationship w/ them. Not just a number at event.” @Stultzmatt

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Laurence for sharing all of his awesome insights, and to everyone who participated in this chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST, 5 pm BST (GMT+1)  **OR** at 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10). Join our Slack community with over 2,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!