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The 12 Best Social Media Conferences to Attend in 2013

iStrategy London Social Media Conference Photo

Which social media conference will you attend in 2013? Picture: iStrategy London 2012 by Koogar

It’s the beginning of a new year, and as our thirst for social media education and learning best practices from other businesses is only on the increase, there’s no better time to start planning to attend the best social media conferences that 2013 has plans to offer us than now. In this annual list (click here for the 2012 best social media conferences list), I am not attempting to make a list that is inclusive of each and every social media conference that exists; on the contrary, as a social media speaker myself I want to hand pick those conferences that are 1) national or global in scale, 2) have a solid track record, and 3) have a speaker’s list that would be appealing to the reader of this blog. Just as I write blog posts to help simplify all things social media, I am hoping this list will provide you an accessible guide to assist you in your planning of attending social media conferences in 2013.

Compared to my list of last year, I did strive to find more events outside of my native United States to speak to the global readership of this blog, and I am happy to announce the addition of new events in Europe as well as Australia – although I still haven’t found one for Canada, yet (if you know of any please make sure you recommend them in the comments below). Some of these conferences have multiple events where they have not announced dates and locations for their conferences to be held later in the year, so make sure you check back here for updates!  Do feel free to add other social media conferences that you recommend in the comments. Thanks!

(note: conferences are listed in alphabetical order)

BlogWellApril 17, 2013, New York, New York; June 19, 2013, Chicago, Illinois; August 6, 2013, Bay Area,  California

Last year, BlogWell provided their unique event, where 8 great case studies on the best social media programs at large companies are presented to audiences, at 5 locations across the United States. At the time of writing this post, that number has been reduced to 3, making each event all the more valuable to attend. BlogWell is run by, a community of social media leaders where members help each other by sharing ideas, best practices, and solutions. BlogWell speakers will present case studies from many well known brands, including confirmed appearances this year from Walgreens and ComEd. Last year presentations included those from well-known companies such as McDonaldsAMD and Farmer’s Insurance, all of whom have been featured on this blog.

Content Marketing World 2013 Content Marketing World 2013 - September 9 – 12, 2013, Cleveland, Ohio

With the growth of the content marketing industry, there is no better place to learn about topics that include Managing Content Marketing and the ROI of Content Marketing than at Content Marketing World, the brainchild of the “Father of Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi, and his Content Marketing institute. CMW is undoubtedly the largest gathering of content marketing professionals in the world. Check out an example of what you might see being presented with Joe’s recent presentation on The State of Content Marketing in 2013:

The Corporate Social Media Summit New York 2013 LogoThe Corporate Social Media Summit – June 12 – 13, 2013, New York City, New York

The Corporate Social Media Summit is one of a number of social media summits put on by Useful Social Media. Last year, they held conferences dedicated to social media for customer service as well as B2B corporate social media, but at the time of this post, these dates have not been confirmed yet. The Corporate Social Media Summit lives up to its branding in that 100% of the speakers are corporate representatives. A look at the list of speakers from their upcoming New York event gives you a hint as to the high level of speakers – and attendees – this event attracts: The CMOs from MasterCard, Hertz, Outback Steakhouse, Sears and FootLocker are all scheduled to provide their corporate social media insights.

Inbound Marketing Summit 2013 logo

Inbound Marketing SummitApril 3 – 4, 2013, New York City, New York; June 18 – 19, 2013, San Francisco, California; October, 2013, Boston, Massachusetts

Similar to content marketing, “inbound marketing” is another buzzword in social media that continues to grow in importance, although as the Google Trends chart below indicates, has not achieved the same publicity that the more generic content marketing term has:

content marketing vs inbound marketing google trends chart

Both content marketing (blue) and inbound marketing (red) continue to grow in their appearance in news headlines. Source: Google Trends

That being said, don’t let that stat mislead you as to the importance of this conference and Inbound Marketing in general, which is the name of the classic book written by the founders of Hubspot. The Inbound Marketing Summit has become one of the leading national conferences for digital and social media marketing professionals and is the one event that brings together enterprise CMOs, business leaders, agency execs and their teams, awesome keynotes, expert panels, plus solutions providers and their tools, all in a dynamic, community-based setting.

 iStrategy Conference - April 16-17, Sydney, Australia; April 23-24, 2013, Miami, Florida; May 14-15, 2013, The Hague, Netherlands

iStrategy is unique in this list as they are the only conference that is held on three continents: Europe, North America & Australia. As they put it, their mission is to “spread passion for existing and emerging digital media throughout the world, where each event offers original experiential learning opportunities for participants.” While the concentration is on digital, there is more than enough social media content to keep you satisfied, including an emphasis on “results-oriented digital and social media strategies.” iStrategy has done some pretty unique things at their conferences to build community and encourage participant engagement while creating a uniquely educational event, including this panel that I was fortunate to be part of at their London conference in May of 2012:

The Marketing 2.0 Conference to be held in Hamburg, Germany in 2013 Marketing 2.0 Conference - April 15-16, Hamburg, Germany 

The Marketing 2.0 Conference appears on this list for the first time and is a European conference aimed at all professionals who think that today’s marketing industry is in need of a change! They have an exciting speaker’s list featuring corporate representatives from not only American companies like Ford (Scott Monty), Hershey’s, and McDonald’s but also global organizations such as World Bank, Lego and Shell. This conference is actually being held for the 9th time and was formerly known as the International Word-of-Mouth-Marketing Conference. If you’re looking to learn about social business from global leaders in an international and intimate environment, this conference would be the one that I recommend you attend. Here’s a glimpse at one of their previous conferences:

nmx blogworld new media expo logo NMX presented by BlogWorld - January, 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada 

NMX, formerly known as BlogWorld is undoubtedly the largest in scale and longest running social media event on this list. Originally for bloggers, NMX includes enough social media speakers and workshops that it always comes recommended as the default starting point for anyone looking to attend only one social media conference this year. Timing-wise, NMX 2013 just ended as I write this blog post, so look for an update on this blog for when their next event will be, which I estimate will be close to CES in Las Vegas in January of 2014.

Online Marketing Summit 2013 LogoOnline Marketing SummitFebruary 11 – 13, 2013, San Diego, California; Fall, 2013, New York City, New York; October 22 – 25, 2013, Silicon Valley, California

The Online Marketing Summit puts education first. Beyond the usual conference and tradeshow set-up, through lab sessions with experts, thought-leadership presentations and peer-to-peer collaboration, OMS’s focus is providing direct, hands-on training workshops that are personalized and one-on-one. A three-day event traditionally about online marketing, there is a healthy enough dose of social media marketing content for those in attendance to deserve a recommendation for those, especially those of you in marketing.

Social Fresh Conference - (East) April 18 – 19, 2013, Tampa Bay, Florida

Social Fresh advertises itself as “The Social Media Conference You’ve Always Hoped For,” and after personally attending their Social Fresh West conference in San Diego last year, I can recommend this conference with confidence for its unique combination of world class speakers, audience participatory events (the audience actually competed in different teams in making a social media campaign that will be implemented by a specific nonprofit), and excellent networking opportunities. In other words, when you attend a Social Fresh conference, you are not only learning about social media but also becoming part of a community for social media professionals. If you’re looking for a combination of “big town speakers” with a “small town feel,” this conference is for you! Check out SocialFresh’s founder, Jason Keath, describing his events in his own words:

Social Media Marketing World by Social Media Examiner in San Diego LogoSocial Media Marketing World – April 7 – 9, 2013, San Diego, California

The newest conference on this list is also the one that comes most recommended if you were only going to attend one social media conference this year, and I’m not just saying that because I’ll be speaking at it: It is presented by the social media authorities at Social Media Examiner and it includes presentations not only by brands but also by many who have appeared on my best social media books, top social media thought leaders, and best social media blogs lists: Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Chris Brogan, Dave Kerpen, Jay Baer… need I say more? I’ll see you there!!!

Social Media Strategies Summit 2013 LogoThe Social Media Strategies Summit 2013 - February 5 – 7, 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada; April 23 – 24, 2013, Chicago, Illinois; June 12 – 13, New York City, New York

The Social Media Strategies Summit is a conference that offers a unique combination of keynotes, workshops, case studies, proven strategies, and networking – all revolving around social media and how your business can better leverage it.  In the Las Vegas event alone case studies demonstrating analytically proven successes will be presented by top brands – including presentations from CNN, Coca Cola, Boston Celtics, American Airlines, NCAA, SAP, Redbull, Accenture, USA Swimming, Forbes, Wells Fargo and Cisco.

social media world forum europe #smwfSocial Media World ForumMarch 18 – 19, 2013, London, United Kingdom

Similar to the global scope of iStrategy, The Social Media World Forum, also known as #SMWF, is another leading social media & digital marketing event that takes place in both Europe (London) and North America (New York City). The event aims to connect marketers, digital brand managers, agencies and social tools and platforms while promoting itself t is a showcase of best practice in social media marketing strategies. Running in London and New York, #SWMF covers many key areas of social media strategy and focuses on how brands are using social media as a marketing tool, delivering the latest tips and techniques, innovation strategies and best practice solutions. The diverse speaker’s list for London include representatives from global organizations such as Sony, SAP, BBC, KLM, Audi and UNICEF.

Now it’s your turn to chime in: Have you been to any of the above events? Which ones are you the biggest fan of? Which invaluable ones did I miss?

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Join The Conversation

  • Aug 1 Posted 3 years ago Faborsky

    I would like to recommend my event called Marketing Festival in Brno, Czech Republic. 

    It will be one of the biggest online marketing conferences in all Europe. More than 1000 attendees. 22 world-class speakers from all around the world. People from MozCon, Distilled, Kissmetrics, Google,, ... 10 workshops. Afterparties, Concerts.


  • Mar 19 Posted 4 years ago DonProvolone

    Hi Neal, many thanks for the post. I understand that most of the abovementioned events take place in the US, however, if any you is willing to travel across the Atlantic, here is an interesting one: ICEEfest (, which will take in Bucharest on June 6-9, 2013 and will be centered thematically, among others, around the following thematic pillars: “Digital Publishing & Digital Advertising”, “Content Marketing & Social Media” & “Start-Ups & Innovation”, With top-notch speakers from all over the globw, it's definitely worth checking it out.

  • Mar 18 Posted 4 years ago BrennaElise

    I agree with Kristen, you're missing Social Slam! Awesome speakers for only $99. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing,Xan Pearson of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox, Rick Wion of McDonald's. Unfortunately, VIP tickets are all sold out but you can still get regular tickets. 

  • Mar 11 Posted 4 years ago Amanda Palm

    Hi Neal - Quick question - if you had to pick between Corporate Social Summit or the Social Strategies Summit in NYC (both June 12-13), which would you recommend?

    Also - for anyone in the foodservice industry - the Foodservice Social Media Universe (FSMU) is great! Will be in Austin, TX in September - 

  • Feb 21 Posted 4 years ago Jeffrey H

    What % of the iStrategy conference would you say is dedicated to Social Media? I am considering attending and it would be helpful to know how much of the conference covers social?



  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Feb 20 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    That would be my best recommendation at this point, but if I hear of others I will let you know!

  • Feb 19 Posted 4 years ago compade

    Thanks Neal, I am familiar with it. 

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Feb 19 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Thanks for sharing Jonathan - definitely was not on my radar.

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Feb 19 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Hi Deborah,

    I'm thinking that LinkedIn's own annual user conference for recruiters and HR would be the perfect conference for you. Are you familiar with it?

    - Neal

  • Jonathan Bennett's picture
    Feb 19 Posted 4 years ago Jonathan Bennett

    Can I suggest Oi Conference - It started last year and has grown pretty quickly.It opporunity for local social media pros to network to.

  • Jan 18 Posted 4 years ago compade

    Hi Neal,

    Can you recommend any conferences that focus on building employer/recruiting brand? 



  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 17 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Thanks for sharing Doug!

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 17 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Thanks - but my apologies as I don't have enough information on social media conferences in India...

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 17 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    I think that all three listed look great Andrea. I spoke at iStrategy so I can attest that you will get a LOT out of attending that one, but the other two look good as well! I suppose it comes down to your objective, the speaker's list, location and timing ;-) Good luck with it!

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 17 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    You're very welcome blogworld.

  • Doug Kern's picture
    Jan 16 Posted 4 years ago Doug Kern

    Hi Neal.  Thanks for the post.  Here's another good one for the list.  Social Business Summit 2013 will include seven one-day events and will focus on global brands and social marketing optimization. Anyone can request an invite or suggest a speaker at the site below. Hope you can participate. 

    Social Business Summit 2013
    Mar 7 in Austin
    Apr 11 in Shanghai
    May 23 in Mumbai
    Jun 20 in London
    Jul 25 in Sao Paolo
    Aug 29 in Tokyo
    Sep 19 in New York


  • shankarsoma's picture
    Jan 15 Posted 4 years ago shankarsoma

    HI Neal

    The Conference which you mentioned are really good which can boost lots of information on social media & its usage

     Can you share soem information about the Social Media Conferences in India also which will help us to gain much more knowledge in Social Media

  • andreastoelke's picture
    Jan 15 Posted 4 years ago andreastoelke

    Thank you Neal for this overview. let's see to which conference I can make it. which event is the best one in Europe?

  • Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago blogworld

    Thanks for including us in your list Neil and thanks for mentioning TBEX Frederic (another BlogWorld event).

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Thanks for the comment, but what relationship does your blog post have to do with social media conferences?

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Looking forward to it Robin - and hope to play a supporting role!

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Thanks Oxana - as I mentioned in the post, it was not meant to be a comprehensive one - but I do appreciate your sharing of your event ... and I'll have it on my radar for future updates!

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    You're very welcome Rachel! I do hope to have the chance to see it in person some day!

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Indeed ... in just 2 months! By the way, here's a link to the event in Kuala Lumpur!

  • Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago BiljanaDimovska

    This mis a great list and I'd like to thank all the previous contributors to this list, for making it even more informative.

    Recently i read a great post on the future of social media and its impact in 2013:

    and I hope to hear more about social media updates and developments on the most recent conferences.

    Again thanks for the great list.



  • Robin Carey's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago Robin Carey

    Great list, Neal.  We're hoping, here at Social Media Today, to add to this list later in the year.... more to come.

  • Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago Oxana Morozowska

    Neil you missed off my event :( - The Virtual Community Summit 2013 -  in London on the 7th February. 

  • Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago Rachel Thomas

    Thanks for including #SMWF Neal! 

  • Kent Ong's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago Kent Ong

    Yes, Neal and can't wait to meet you. :)

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Hope to make that happen together with 'ya Kent!

  • Kent Ong's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 4 years ago Kent Ong

    Really hope at least one in Malaysia. :)

  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Merci for the share Frederic - every industry will certainly have great social media conferences, but the choice of three different ones means the tourism and hospitality industry is lucky to have such resources to choose from!

  • gonzogonzo's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 4 years ago gonzogonzo

    Excellent list, Neal! I look forward to seeing you in action at SME's new event in San Diego this April: Social Media Marketing World event. Should be lots of fun!

    You did mention, answering an earlier comment, that there will be more and more social media conferences in niches, or vertical industries. It is certainly the case in tourism & hospitality, my field of passion and expertise. A few conferences not-to-be missed:

    Social Media Strategies for Travel, in San Francisco, March 18-19, 2013.

    TBEX 2013, in Toronto (Canada), June 1-2, 2013.

    E-tourism Summit, in San Francisco, October 9-10, 2013.

    Of course, there are many others, but I believe these are three good ones that ought to be in any travel marketer's list for any given year, if you are interested in social media and e-tourism.

    Cheers from Quebec City,


  • KristenDaukas's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 4 years ago KristenDaukas

    Hands down, Social Slam in Knoxville is the BEST conference I've been to in the SouthEast. You can't beat the talent especially for the price of the ticket.

  • Jan 13 Posted 4 years ago kgapo (not verified)

    Thanks for making this list!

    However, I would add, Doctors2.0 & You, the European conference on internet and social media use in healthcare (and much more like e- and m-health start-ups), that is held in Paris, France on June 6-7, 2013. See you there!


  • NealSchaffer's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 4 years ago NealSchaffer

    Thanks for sharing Meredith! I expect to see more social media conferences for specific vertical industries in the not so distant future!

  • MeredithGould's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 4 years ago MeredithGould

    For folks working in, around, with the healthcare industry I strongly recommend attending the Mayo-Ragan Social Media Summit, usually held in October. And say what you might about Rochester, Minnesota but if you have gluten sensitivities, there's amazing food to be found there!

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