Marketers are resilient and adaptable – so it’s no surprise that the best 2021 social media marketing events are still full steam ahead, albeit with some format changes.
In-person or not, it’s crucial for social media managers to set aside professional development time each year. Social media conferences let you learn new skills, network with other social media professionals, and get your name in front of new clients and companies.
Whether you’re breaking into the scene or you’re a social media manager looking to brush up your skills before taking on your next big client, you can hear from speakers on the latest trends and strategies.
Now that most of the world is practicing social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of these conferences have moved online and become even more accessible to those from out of town. Others are still planning on gathering in-person for now, so use the websites included in this article to check for any changes and updates.
Whichever way you end up attending, put these top social media marketing conferences on your list for 2021.
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Social Media Week
Locations: Austin, New York, Los Angeles, and London
Dates: Austin: February 26-28, 2020
New York: Sign up here to be notified
Los Angeles: Sign up here to be notified
London: Sign up here to be notified
Social Media Week is a global event that brings three-days of awesome keynote speakers and networking to professionals across the world. You’ll learn great tips and insights about social media management and how it fits into the larger marketing strategy. As of right now, the conference is set to take place in all three locations in-person in 2021.
You can register your interest and sign up to get notifications for any changes on their site.
If you’re wondering if the talk tracks are right for you, you can now access the 2020 virtual conference for only $49. The 2020 #SMWONE was a four-week virtual conference program that featured over 100 hours of livestreamed sessions, 300 speakers, and more than 10,000 registered participants to combine all 3 canceled events.
Digital Summit: Multiple Locations
Locations: Most major cities
Dates: Spring 2021 dates released soon
Digital Summit is a social media and digital marketing focused event that travels the United States, drawing a small army of speakers and attendees wherever they go. They touch on everything from social media marketing to data analytics. Even better, the diverse group of speakers come from well-known startups and Fortune 500 companies alike.
Speakers will vary from location to location, but in the past they’ve included well-known brands like AirBnB, Coca Cola, Instagram, Microsoft, Google, Disney, and others.
Sign up for notifications on their 2021 plans on their site to stay up to date.
Social Media Strategies Summit
Dates: February 2–3, 2021 and Fall 2021
Social Media Strategies Summit is a conference geared towards senior-level marketing professionals. Here, you’ll learn the nuts and bolts of social media and digital marketing, and the conference promises three jam-packed days worth of case studies, deep-dives, and how-to sessions on all things social media.
The organizers host conferences for several verticals throughout the year, and next up is Social Media Strategies Summit for First Responders, an event geared toward public safety professionals and first responders. Later in the year they’ll also host a more general conference, and you can watch for dates on their site.
In past years, we’ve seen marketers from LinkedIn, Grubhub, WeWork, and other tech giants take the stage. This year, there are speakers from Walmart, Dollar Shave Club, AirBnB, Microsoft, and more.
Social Media Marketing World
Dates: February 28-March 2, 2021
Location: San Diego, California
Put on by one of our favorite social media blogs—Social Media Examiner—Social Media Marketing World is a social media event aimed at teaching the basics of all things social media. Those new to the scene will learn the basics of social media growth and marketing, and more experienced marketers can freshen up their skills and learn new techniques.
This year’s speaker list includes expert speakers tackling the industry’s biggest platforms, including Mari Smith (leading Facebook expert), Jasmine Star (Instagram expert), Mark Schaefer (social futurist), and Jay Baer (social customer service authority) to name a few.
Check out the full speaker list and sign up for updates on any changes on their site.
Digital Marketing World Forum
Location: New York
Dates: March 24-25, 2021
#DMWF North America is a 2 day conference with an 11+ year history of bringing together the worldwide digital marketing community. They deliver top-level strategic content, digital marketing insights, networking, and discussion from leading global brands on the latest examples & case studies.
This conference has a track specifically for social media marketing and influencer marketing, so social media managers can hone in on sessions and networking opportunities that fit their niche. This conference is planned for in-person, and you can keep up with any changes on their site.
Midwest Digital Marketing Conference
The conference lucky enough to grab this web domain is back again for another year to prove they earned it. Entering its ninth year, the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference—or MDMC—is one of the most popular digital marketing and social media conferences in the midwest. The conference is hosted by the University of Missouri St. Louis School of Business and has hosted some of the biggest names in social media.
The speaker list has an emphasis on academics, consultants, and entrepreneurs, so there’s a good mix of options to learn from depending on your needs.
Dates for 2021 haven’t been released yet, but you can check for updates on their site.
Dates: March 22, 2021
Location: Los Angeles
Listen In is a one day conference centered around podcasting, “specifically for enterprise level marketing teams looking to better understand and capitalize on the world of podcasting.”
With podcasting coming in hot as one of the newer marketing channels that can help position brands as thought leaders. This event aims to demystify this new channel and shares strategies that marketing teams can leverage to create and promote engaging podcasts.
Speakers for this year include keynote speaker Sarah Koenig, along with C-suite executives froms brands like Bank of America, American Airlines, Glassdoor, and more.
The Social Shake-Up
The Social Shake-Up is one of the most well-known social media conferences, and for a good reason: the conference covers a diverse range of topics over a quick, two-day period. Each session dives deep and discusses advanced topics in social media marketing, so even the most skilled marketer will learn something new.
The 2021 conference location and dates haven’t been announced yet, so you can get more information on The Social Shake-Up’s 2020 website when it’s released.
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
SocialWest is a Canadian conference that boasts 30+ speakers to provide insights on budgeting, strategizing, management, reporting, and everything else you may need to know to run a successful social media and digital marketing strategy.
SocialWest is planning on returning to in-person events when they feel it’s safe to do so, but no 2021 dates have been announced. To be the first to know, you can sign up for their email list. In the meantime, they’ve created a series of virtual events and resources for their #SocialAtHome campaign that you can register for.
Dates: Various dates
Location: Various cities across the US and Canada
This event will not only cover social media marketing, but will also include talks on content marketing, SEO, and growth hacking to keep you at the top of your game.
In past years, DigiMarCon has hosted huge names in social media. We’ve seen speakers from TrackMaven, Conagra Brands, and Coudbakers take stage, so you can expect a similar caliber at any of the cities you may choose to attend in.
This conference is happening in-person and has an instance in most major cities, so find your region on their website to get tickets or watch for updates.
Social Media Day
Date: June 2021 and June 25, 2021
Location: Halifax and San Diego
Don’t have three days to dedicate to a social media conference? Social Media Day is a day-long event dedicated to social media and digital marketing. The event focuses on teaching social media marketers tangible skills that they can bring to the workplace, like how to better optimize Facebook Ads, legal tips, and informational sessions on how to build better marketing funnels.
Past speakers included the heads of some of the most prestigious social media marketing firms like Stratigro, Pepperit Marketing, and Twirp Communications. We’re excited to see who speaks this year!
With both conferences happening in June, use the Halifax event if you’re on the eastern side of North America, and the San Diego event if you’re in the west or want to attend in the United States. While San Diego is locked in on June 25, keep your eyes peeled for the official Halifax date.
ANA Digital & Social Media Conference
Dates: July 19-21, 2021
Location: San Diego, CA
ANA’s annual Digital & Social Media Conference aims to keep marketers at the top of their game. Over the course of the three-day event, you can expect to cover new and emerging social media topics like chatbots, AI, and even virtual reality.
In past years we saw social media speakers from some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Lufthansa Airlines, MasterCard, Yamaha, and even Frito-Lay.
For tickets and more info, head on over to ANA’s website.
VidCon is currently working on putting together a virtual event that has the industry buzzing. More information will be released over the coming months, but the organizations have revealed that there will be three tracks:
The Industry Track features keynotes, fireside chats, workshop seminars, and product demonstrations geared toward attendees working in the online video industry.
The Creator Track serves attendees looking to make better content, grow their online presence, enter the industry, meet fellow creators, and learn the ins-and-outs of online video culture.
The Community Track engages attendees interested in experiencing the online video culture through Q&As, discussions, concerts, interviews, movie nights, meet-ups, and games.
Social Fresh is where social marketing leaders go to learn. Speakers are featured on one main stage with one track. They curate so you don’t have to, working one-on-one with each speaker to make sure every brand story and tactical session is highly actionable.
Social Fresh exists to help you create social content that is more creative, produces real business results, and grows your social media team’s resources. It was created by former brand-side social media pros with your social media challenges in mind.
The organizers have not yet released any 2021 info, but while you wait, check out the Social Fresh X courses. As described on their site, it’s “a virtual conference for businesses adapting to the unknown. Learn how to create new content, stay relevant, and engage your audience without sounding out of touch.”
B2B Marketing Exchange
Date: February 22-24, 2021
#B2BMX is a must-attend event for B2B sales or marketing practitioners. Last year’s event featured 6 tracks and over 100 sessions by leading executives in B2B — including case studies, labs, workshops, panels, and more.
One of the most notable features of the conference is the B2B Labs. Labs provide hands-on guidance from industry leaders on the latest applications of intent data, interactive content, ABM and more.
This conference will be happening in person over the course of 3 days. Grab your seat or stay up to date on any changes on their site.
What conferences will you attend?
Whether you’re able to attend one, or if virtual adaptations allow you to add even more conferences to your calendar in 2021, these top events will be sure to keep you on the cutting edge of social media marketing.
With many 2020 events having gone virtual, you’ll have increased access to last year’s events on each conference’s website. Take a look at the recordings, the speaker lists, talk tracks and locations to make the right decision for your professional development.