Whenever someone asks me what social media conference they should attend, I turn to my personal list of my can’t miss events.
Clearly I recommend our events first, but sometimes the timing or the type of event someone needs is different. And there are a ton of great conferences out there for marketers throughout the year.
After attending more than 40 social media conferences over the past few years, I have learned that one size does not fit all.
There are big events and small events. Multiple tracks and single tracks. Great networking events and great content events.
So let’s jump in.
April 18-19 | Tampa, Florida
September 12-13 | San Diego, California
Pricing: $400 to $700
Social Fresh is two days packed full of top industry content. The conference is a single track of 15 awesome speakers (disclosure: I am biased). The event hosts top industry speakers, has a “no panels” rule, and focuses on actionable content and networking opportunities.
Social Fresh conferences are attended by marketers of all shapes and sizes, from small business and startups to agencies and big brands. And everything in between. The focus is to bring the best speakers available to an audience that craves cutting edge best practices and examples.
March TBA 2014 | Austin, Texas
Pricing: $700 to $1,200
As the biggest digital and social media conference there is, SXSWi is an event every marketer should attend at least once. While there are some quality sessions, the work to find them and the crowd that you have to work through may or may not be worth it. However, the networking is often the best you will find. If you are starting a business or looking to grow a business that can benefit from new connections within the SXSWi audience, then this is a hugely valuable event.
“The SXSW 2013 trade show was the best one I’ve attended in many years – and I went back more than once. There were hundreds of exciting companies to discover.”
via Violet Blue
November 20-21 | Las Vegas, Nevada
Pricing: $900 to $3,300
SMX Social Media Marketing is a two-day conference that covers social marketing from a search marketing and performance marketing perspective.
“As a first time SMX attendee, I found SMX Social Media Marketing 2011 to be a well organized event, packed full of relevant, high-quality information from a variety of dynamic, interesting speakers. I’m already looking forward to the next one!”
via Melissa Smith, Equity Marketing Solutions
January TBA 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada
Pricing: $700 to $1,300
Great conference for bloggers and social media pros alike. Blogworld is now two separate events, but you can still attend both. The NMX event, or new media expo, is focused on the business side of the industry. Blogworld and NMX provides several track options from those blog monetization to podcasting to a slate of social media marketer focused sessions. This is a great event for bloggers and brands that want to network with each other.
“The show has been really informative and I have learned a lot. I was just at a booth and I had never heard about this particular service before, so the vendors are very interesting to talk to. I have a blog and I do a podcasting, so my goal for attending is to learn how to drive traffic to my sites and to do what I do more efficiently. I’ve learned a lot just in the hour and a half that I have been here on exactly that.”
via Rod Adams, Raw Business Solutions
September 9-11 | Cleveland, Ohio
Pricing: $1,000 to $2,500
As the only content marketing focused conference on the list, Content Marketing World is focused on brands telling better stories. They host speakers that present hugely actionable content marketing advice.
“I came away from Content Marketing World both inspired and informed – and with a lot of new connections to help grow our business.”
via Brenda Spiering – Editor, Sun Life Canada Web
6. Social Slam
April 5 | Knoxville, Tennessee
Social Slam is an annual one-day conference held each April in Knoxville, TN. Social Slam is one of the best opportunities to stay on top of social media trends and network with some of the top influencers in the space.
“A one-day conference that delivered engaging, interactive and myth-busting information about social media, customer engagement and social intelligence that left everyone inspired.”
via Marisa Peacock
October TBA 2013 | Coralville, Iowa
The annual Social Brand Forum brings national-level social media content to Iowa’s Creative Corridor for a day and half of keynotes and interactive sessions. Featuring speakers, authors, and thought leaders from the national stage, the event is designed to help marketers at organizations small and large build stronger brands through social media content, conversations, and community.
“SocialBrand, pound for pound, was one of the most useful, informative and convivial events I’ve attended in quite a while, and without a doubt the most fun I’ve ever had in Iowa.”
via David B. Thomas, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
April 3-4 | New York, New York
July 30-31 | Los Angeles, California
October TBA | Boston, Massachusetts
Pricing: $300 to $400
HubSpot produces the Inbound Marketing Summit as a multi-track conference focused on a broad range of digital marketing topics, from social media to email marketing and much more. If you are a HubSpot customer, this event is especially useful.
“I just got back from the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco and I was blown away by the amount of information, the open sharing attitude of every single attendee and the overall atmosphere.”
via Janet Fouts
September 23-27 | New York City, Washington D.C. & Miami
Pricing: Mostly free events
Social Media Week is not necessarily a conference, but a series of loosely organized community driven events. The week long series includes a large range of event types and topics in the cities where it takes place. Over 90% of events hosted during SMW are free, but when an event session has a fee associated with it, it will be clearly stated. Many of these events will host high quality speakers and include great networking opportunities. Sort through the large number of options and find the best pieces for you.
“Social Media Week does not disappoint. It is a real-world manifestation of some of the best that new technology has to offer – ideas, strategies and insights shared by the people who are shaping the future.”
via Ellen McGirt, Senior Writer, Fast Company
10. MIMA Summit
October 15, 2013 | Minneapolis, MN
Pricing: $450 for members
The biggest annual marketing and technology conference in the Midwest, presented by the oldest interactive marketing association in America. This year MIMA marks the 12th Anniversary of the MIMA Summit.
MIMA Summit covers a broad spectrum of digital marketing topics through multiple tracks.