Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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In today’s digital world, social media is a vital tool for attracting prospective customers, keeping people engaged with your brand and spreading your message. Social media marketers, consultants and others must be at the top of their game, learning new tricks and strategies for keeping their businesses and organizations relevant and at the cutting-edge. With new platforms and tools emerging every day, the world of social media is constantly evolving and growing.

Conferences are an important way for any professional to keep up to date with trends and strategies in her field and network with likeminded people and industry movers and shakers, and there’s a wealth of opportunities out there for people working in social media. We’ve rounded up the top 10 conferences in the business that take place in the United States, where you'll mingle with colleagues, learn from experts in the field, boost your skillset and your brand — and have fun at the same time!

1. Social Media Marketing World

Time of year: March

Aimed at social media marketers and consultants, marketing managers and related professionals who work for or own businesses with fewer than 100 employees, Social Media Marketing World features some of the biggest names in the industry. You’ll have plenty of chances to network with and learn from experts about how to maximize your presence on and make the most of platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and more. 

2. Social Media Strategies Summit

Time of year: April and October (multiple dates)

Social Media Strategies Summit takes place in both Chicago and New York City, giving senior-level marketing professionals the opportunity to participate in workshops and hear from professionals at top brands. Past speakers have included leaders at companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Lyft, Sony, and others. The conference features topics such as content marketing, strategy, influencer marketing and more through case studies, discussions and networking.

3. The Social Shake-up

Time of year: May

Over just two days, learn innovative social media marketing strategies from top leaders in the industry, including speakers from companies like Twitter, Microsoft, Lego, Sephora, Vanguard, PayPal, Planned Parenthood, LinkedIn, Penguin Random House and others. There are also networking activities, fireside chats and sessions jam-packed with advice for social media marketers of all levels.

4. Search Marketing Expo (SMX West)

Time of year: February

Featuring deep-dive workshops, networking opportunities and 85 “tactic-rich sessions,” SMX West covers topics like SEO, SEM and digital commerce marketing. The conference is planned by experts at Search Engine Land and boasts attracting more than 70,000 search marketers for over a decade. Attending brands include American Express, Amazon, Microsoft, Disney, Forbes, Verizon and many others.

5. Social Media Week

Time of year: multiple (check website for details)

Social Media Week takes place at different locations around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Austin, London, Mexico City, Nairobi and many other cities. Over three days, you’ll hear from keynote speakers from brands like NBC, Vox Media, Instagram, Comedy Central and more and engage in sessions on topics such as brand building, influencing and digital innovation. 

6. Social Fresh

Time of year: November

Social Fresh has existed for over a decade and is notable for helping marketers build creative social content that makes a real impact — as well as its famed T-shirt cannon! It’s aimed at digital marketers, executives and business owners and attracts attendees from healthcare, higher education, government, nonprofits, hospitality and many other industries. The conference features speakers from organizations like MIT, Lilly Pulitzer, Facebook, Pacers and Microsoft, with more than 300 of the Fortune 500 having attended since 2008.

7. SXSW

Time of year: March

Though not strictly a social media conference, South by Southwest (SXSW) is certainly the place to be for marketers and media/technology professionals of all types. Discover cutting-edge trends across culture, film, music and technology and explore 22 programming “tracks,” while meeting others in the business. In 2020, keynote speakers include Gabo Arora, Erin Lee Carr, St. Vincent, Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon and Janelle Monáe.

8. ANA Digital & Social Media Conference

Time of year: March

Nationwide, Lego, Chipotle, Ford Motor Company and Molson Coors are just a few of the companies slated to attend the annual ANA Digital & Social Media Conference in 2020. Explore topics including AI, augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), content marketing, influencer marketing, inclusion, chatbots and voice assistants. You’ll mingle with CMOs and other leaders in the industry and learn how to build and hone your strategy, hear case studies and success stories and much more.

9. The Incite Marketing Summit

Time of year: May

This conference offer “purpose-driven, data-backed” marketing strategies addressing four challenges: brand stories and the future of the CMO, compelling content and creative storytelling, martech innovation and customer insights, and influencers and social success. Featuring more than 60 speakers and leaders from top brands like StubHub, Visa, PBS, Intel, SurveyMonkey and Alibaba, Incite brings together CMOs, experts and professionals in digital marketing through more than 40 case studies and interactive sessions.

10. Digital Summit

Time of year: multiple (see website for details)

Digital Summit takes place in many locations across the country, including Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, Charlotte and others. Represented companies include big names like Microsoft, Cisco, The Onion, Nordstrom, Salesforce, Johnson & Johnson, Adobe, Girls Who Code, Match.com and more. You’ll network with marketers, strategists, designers and other professionals in social media and engage in practical sessions and workshops. With so many locations to choose from, you can’t beat the convenience, either.

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