Interview: Leila Najafi of Eventbrite Gives us the Latest Trends in Events

    We reached out to Leila Najafi, the Marketing Manager for Eventbrite in Los Angeles, for tips on using social media for event engagement, how Eventbrite is evolving to meet the demands of technology in events and we asked her to reveal some of her favorite venues in Los Angeles.

    Here's how it went:

    How can event planners, both individuals and for corporate events, use social media to engage their audiences?

    Social media is one of the easiest, not to mention, free tools that businesses and individuals can utilize to build awareness for their brands. It allows consumers to connect with their favorite brands and be in the know about product updates, provide feedback, voice their concerns and feel connected to the brand. This goes for event planners as well. People love events because they want to be a part of an experience and social media enhances that experience in a number of ways. It all begins before your event has even started. Here are a few of my tips to engage with your audience:

    • Create a Twitter hashtag and include it on the invite/event page/marketing communication and use it to entice guests with photos leading up to the event. Most people are visual, so pictures go a long way. Tweeting photos of gift bags or menu items are great teasers to get guests excited!
    • During the event, make sure the hashtag is prominently displayed whether it be on a flat screen, cocktail napkins, staff T-shirts, decorative frames, just make sure it’s easy for people to spot! If they can’t easily find it around the room, chances are, they won’t go out of their way to find out what it is and you’re missing out on free promotion!
    • It doesn’t end after the event. Send a thank you email and direct people back to your Facebook album where you’ve uploaded photos and encourage them to tag themselves.


    What are some tips or tactics for getting our readers started when planning for social media engagement for events? What is the first step and what needs to be measured?

    I would recommend starting with a social media management platform like Sprout Social or HootSuite. It’s a great way to not only schedule and manage your tweets but also measure engagement. You can track URLs, see who your influential followers are and discover new people talking about your brand. Second, I would create a plan. There is a strategy behind social media and those that are successful at it have a well thought out social media calendar versus aimlessly posting whatever is on their mind that day. Lastly, the old adage, quality versus quantity, couldn’t be more applicable here. Don’t be fooled by someone who may have over 10K followers. We all know money can buy you anything, including new (not necessarily real) followers. It’s not a numbers game; you want to make sure you’re having relevant conversations with your followers.

    Stay relevant and be resourceful to your followers.

    Having 2K follows in cities across country when your business is localized and operates in another city, is not exactly ideal for business. Leave it to the social media management sites to analyze and pull metrics for you and make sure to understand who your audience is. Oh and one more thing, like everything else, be patient. Growth doesn’t happen over night.

    How do you think social media integrates with the experience of events? Does it detract from or add to the experience?

    In today’s media-centric society, people want to share everything they do with the world, from what they’re eating, where they’re shopping to who they’re with and while one can argue that we have become a little too obsessed with social media, all the marketing mavens behind brands are rejoicing!  Free promotion? Yes, please! Events are no different. Social media has opened up the gates and created an opportunity for guests to essentially become free promoters for an event. The visibility an event will get online leading up to the event date, to the outpouring posts and photos during the event and let’s not forget the photo albums circulating afterwards, is a testament to the power of social media and driving business. Take one of the nation’s largest music festivals, Coachella, for example, and do a hashtag search on Instagram. Over 500K photos were posted just using #Coachella. While the thousands of attendees were bouncing from stage to stage shamelessly posting pics every hour, the rest of us were living vicariously through them, wishing we were there. As annoying as it might be, is there a possibility that we may be influenced to attend next year? You bet.

    Has social media taken away from living ‘in the moment’? Perhaps. But social media is here to stay. Brands and businesses (including event planners) should capitalize on this golden opportunity to tap into a network of people you wouldn’t have had access to 10 years ago.

    What major shifts are you seeing in events and how is your product and service changing to keep up?

    Today more than ever, the event industry is embracing and integrating technology into events. Long gone are the days of slapping flyers on lamp posts and printing guest lists – people want seamless, fast (and paperless!) solutions. As a technology company, Eventbrite is at the forefront of the ticketing industry and constantly putting in the resources to stay innovative and give our customers what they need.

    We live in a society that is heavily influenced by social media so as a company, we’ve made every effort to help our organizers capitalize on the opportunity by integrating with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Our data shows that 25% of traffic to Eventbrite event pages is driven by mobile devices so we’ve optimized our site and not only created an Entry Manager app for event organizers but an Eventbrite app for people who want to be in the know about all sorts of events happening in their city. We also have an iPad app called At The Door, a box office solution for event organizers that want to sell tickets at the door, which keeps track of payments and data. It doesn’t end there, our product and engineering team is constantly working to update our product and ensure we’re helping our event organizers sell more tickets.

    What are some of your favorite venues in Los Angeles and the surrounding area?

    That’s a tough question because there are so many venues in LA that have charm and a unique flair. I absolutely love the rooftop at The London in West Hollywood and can personally attest to their exceptional staff and service. I think of the hotel as the new kid on the block, but wait until you get acquainted! I was blown away when I stepped out on the rooftop for the first time and realized LA could use more rooftop bars that take advantage of the weather and spectacular views. The London rooftop is breathtaking in the summer time and the perfect backdrop for any event.

    I also appreciate the more non-traditional spaces for events i.e. lofts, art galleries, raw spaces. Vibiana in downtown, a former Cathedral, is also a gorgeous space and I’ve attended everything from fashion shows, to a wedding celebration there and the space was completely transformed.

    Leila Najafi is the LA Marketing Manager for Eventbrite, an online ticketing and event discovery website.  With a passion for hosting events and bringing people together, Leila has taken the LA event scene by storm. Since joining Eventbrite, Leila has organized events ranging in size from a pop-up concert at the famous Troubadour to a Clase Azul tequila tasting to lead the charge of Eventbrite’s growth in the LA area. She has presented to a number of organizations including members of
    the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce to share best practices on event management and social media. Leila graduated UCLA with a B.S. in Anthropology and received her MBA with an emphasis in Marketing from Loyola Marymount University.

    Find Leila on Twitter @BriteLA, and Instagram at EventbriteLA