Social Media Day was started by Mashable years ago to celebrate and learn about social media as a marketing and business practice. Celebrations were held around the world as people from Egypt to Ecuador to Encino took part.
I first learned about it in 2014, when we were invited to participate in an evening panel discussion almost at the last minute. It was a nice gathering, but not at all what our world-class community here in Philadelphia deserved. In 2015, we learned that no one was planning anything for Social Media Day in Philadelphia, so we decided to take the baton. That first year, we put together a robust schedule of speakers and panelists for about 80 participants at the Kimpton Hotel in Old City on June 30th. On July 1st, we knew we had to start planning for 2016 almost immediately if we were going to make Social Media Day in Philadelphia the type of event our community needed.
In 2016, we hosted our first well-planned and well-promoted conference at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. We were fortunate to have support from Comcast and Digitas as sponsors, and we were able to get Erin Dress from Twitter to be our opening keynote speaker. We ran three rooms of speakers and had a wonderful reception celebrating our community.
From there, we held the conference annually, and our recognition grew. People started flying in from Florida, Texas, and Illinois to attend. We have had amazing speakers from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Reebok, Adobe, Salesforce, NBCUniversal, Cisco, IBM, Spotify, Comcast, Google, and beyond.
Then, in 2019, we realized that our community needed more than a one-day conference. We created Co-Mentoring Connect, a year-long program that connects social media strategists and practitioners to support each other. We planned to launch it at the 2020 conference, and then everything changed.
Our team at Slice Communications refused to let COVID get in the way of Social Media Day. Sure, it happened in July instead of June and it happened all online, but we did it. We even launched the Co-Mentoring Connect as a purely virtual experience and had an amazing first cohort.
As we headed into our seventh Social Media Day conference, we recognized that it had gotten much bigger than us. We turned it into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and recruited our first Board of Directors that include Cass Bailey from Slice Communications, Andrew Athias from Silvi Group Companies, Jason Bannon from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Brandi Boatner from IBM, Ryan Burchinow from CMI Media Group, Tom Carusona from Insomnia Cookies, Deirdre Childress Hopkins from Temple University, Danny Gardner from GlaxoSmithKline, Nicole Heverly from Univest, Liz Lenahan from Twitter, Melisa Martinez from Cognizant, Daniel Moise from Virtua Health, Rayce Rollins from Financial GPS, Lisa Rose from Unisys, Dana Schmidt from Slice Communications, Dea Maddox Tuwalski from Slice Communications, William Warren Jr. from The House of Comma, and Tiffany Wilson from Comcast. We recruited our second cohort of the Co-Mentor Connect and started to focus on other ways to support the community year-around. With the help of some amazing charter members of the new nonprofit, we launched regular workshops to keep the learning going throughout the year.
This year, 2022, Social Media Day PHL is really coming into its own. We are emerging from COVID with a new awards program, a live conference, a parallel virtual conference, and a robust membership offering. We are incredibly thankful for each and every one of you who participated in the conference throughout the years, who agreed to share your knowledge and expertise as a speaker, who supported as a sponsor, and who led as a Board member. I am so excited to see what we do together next!
Join us at #SMDayPHL 2022
Whether you join us for our in-person or virtual conference, your day will be packed with speaker sessions from industry-leading thought leaders.