An Honest Review of 2019 Social Media Conferences (Full conference list included)
Industry conferences are a great way to learn from our industry peers and to connect with like-minded professionals.
However, not all conferences are created equal. Some may be too expensive, others might focus on the wrong information, and some may simply be too far away.
We put together a list of the best social media conferences in 2019. But we didn’t just slap together some basic information; we have tips and insights into these conferences from people who’ve actually been there!
Check it out:
Social Media Marketing World is one of the most popular industry conferences around, and it shows. The organizers go out of their way to make speakers accessible to the general audience through both formal networking events and informal encounters during the show proper. Networking events themselves are very well planned and executed. Everyone is there to talk and learn, even the presenters.
Learning topics range from high-level strategies to deep, tactical discussions on things like SEO and social media execution. There is even a format called Table Topics during lunch, where attendees can sit at tables marked with a specific theme (e.g. influencing) and learn from each other as they eat.
Pro tip: There are at least 17 tracks to follow, so have a burning question to help you stay focused. Also maximize the Bizabo app to plan your stay and to connect with other attendees.
The Social Shakeup isn’t like other conferences that have you zipping from one session to another in a mad rush. Instead, attendees have lots of downtime to allow people to digest what they learned and to catch up on work–which is valuable for one-person social media teams who can’t afford to stay offline for long.
The agenda is diverse enough to satisfy any social media marketer no matter the industry or company/team size. Speakers dive deep into specific topics such as social listening while also offering up strategic advice like how to align social media with company goals.
The networking in Social Shakeup is relaxed and low-key. Not forced or uncomfortable, with few to no high-pressure environments or sponsor showcases. Fun activities include Wine and Paint Night, visits to Atlanta landmarks like the city aquarium, and the like.
Pro tip: Social Shakeup is best attended by marketers who specialize in managing social media from end to end. General marketers wont find enough to interest them and will be better off in conferences like Content Marketing World.
Social Media Week L.A. is one of the shorter conferences, running only two days. As a result, sessions are shorter (20 minutes at the fastest, 40 minutes at the longest) and with little to no downtime in between.
You will want to take as many sessions as you can, however. Speakers are well-chosen; every speaker has valuable information, even from smaller brands. SMMWLA is great for staying up to date with an ever-evolving industry.
Those who aren’t interested in the tracks can still enjoy yoga and meditation sessions that run parallel to the tracks if they need some downtime. Networking is also valuable thanks to the range of attendees that cover a spectrum of different industries and specializations.
SMMWLA also offers virtual passes if you can’t find the time or budget to attend in person.
Pro tip: Don’t get star struck. Some of the best presentations have been given by brands you may not ever have heard of before.
CMW is one of the biggest marketing conferences in the industry, but does that mean it should be on your must-attend list?
Like any conference, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Content Marketing World is a great conference to attend if you’re an agency owner looking to scale the content marketing side of your business, or if you already offer content marketing as a service. Last year’s CMW even featured an Agency track that prioritized growth-focused topics (that we sponsored).
But if your agency doesn’t have a strong orientation towards content marketing or if you’re looking for a lot of tactical social media advice, then you might want to pass on this one.
Pro tip: Use the conference app to make great connections and to prioritize your calendar around topics that will be the most useful for you.
Social Fresh is one of the smaller social media conferences, but it has a lot going for it. It’s meant for the dedicated social media professional–no generalists here!
This conference is a single-track conference, where presentations are only 20-25 minutes. Sessions are short and concise, but it gives a lot of opportunities for brands to showcase what they’re doing for the audience. The end result is a smorgasbord of ideas for you to adopt and adapt to your own social media campaigns.
This more intimate setting is also reflected in the networking. You can interact with peers from many different companies and find opportunities to cooperate and collaborate.
Pro tip: Larger brands will get more value from Social Fresh than smaller ones because few companies will have the time or resources to execute on all of the great ideas they’ll be learning. That said, even smaller brands can pick a fantastic concept and run with it.
We’ve also compiled the most comprehensive list of marketing conferences of 2019 (venue, costs and pro tips):