Social Media Day Philadelphia 2021 Highlights

Written by: Marissa Bruette

Social Media Day Philadelphia has come to a close. Seriously, our team can’t believe it’s already July, although we are looking forward to our Christmas in July party. Nonetheless, SMDayPHL 2021 was an amazing (and busy) two full days  of all things marketing, topped off with an in-person networking event. Hopefully, our team can bring 100% of the SMDayPHL programming back to an in-person event next year, but we’re still keeping our fingers crossed for that. In the meantime, let’s look back on some highlights from this year’s event that Survey Monkey critics said was- “VERY well done!” 

1. Meeting This Media Moment featuring Leslie Mac, the Frontline

Leslie Mac joined our lineup of speakers this year to speak about using social media to ignite social change. Mac explained how intention, deliberate actions, and accountability to do internal work are all important initial steps to take. When asked how to identify a thought leader, Mac listed two qualifiers: someone who cultivates a deep bench of black experts and someone who supports op-ed cultivation from organizers.

“This is not a time for us to go about our work casually. These are times which call us all to push whatever section of the arc of history in front of us closer towards freedom.” 

Leslie Mac

2. Influencer Marketing Flash Talks:

SMDayPHL hosted an entire flash talk panel session on a hot topic- Influencer Marketing.  

One of our favorites was hearing Connor Benner discuss “How to Partner with Artists and Influencers and Not Have it Suck”. He told stories (both good and bad) about what it takes to create relationships with artists. He also spoke of his latest project that uses local artists to promote a Questlove love’s Summer Of Soul film. Some takeaways: 

  • Respect the public space! Avoid public space takeovers with guerilla marketing tactics that cover local art. 
  • Don’t make it about the brand! Be a supporter & work with creatives already in your niche and support their vision. 
  • Pay them well!

3. In-person happy hour at The Navy Yard Philadelphia

While this year’s speaker sessions were completely virtual, SMDayPHL invited attendees to an in-person event following Day One’s events. Ben Franklin Technology Partners provided a beautiful venue and it was filled with laughs, music and the perfect reintroduction to in-person events. 

4. Oops I said it Again! Communicating in a Hyper-Online World featuring Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media

Rakia Reynolds, Founder and Executive of Skai Blue Media gave an interesting talk on how to use effective language, specifically when responding to a crisis. Her takeaway? Don’t let your message get lost in poor wording. One of the highlights of Reynolds talk was her “Language Evolution” slide, showing how to respond during a crisis in a way that furthers accountability for equality in communication.

5. McDonald’s Social Listening Journey featuring Jola Oliver, McDonald’s and sponsored by Linkfluence

Jolanta Oliver, Director of Global Social Listening & Measurement

McDonald’s gave SMDayPHL attendees the inside scoop on how they use social listening to drive their social media content. She described that their latest April Fool’s Day “Big Mac with Extra Pickles” campaign was due to listening to their audience’s comments about wanting more pickles on their products!

6. A Guide to Goal-Oriented Content with Marissa Bruette

Slice’s own Marissa Bruette joined the SMDayPHL content creation team to discuss how to make goal-oriented content. Her takeaway: When it comes to content creation, focus on who you’re speaking to, what you want them to know, and how they like to receive content. She reminds us all that at the end of the day, posted is better than perfect. 

7. Emerging Channels Flashtalks: 

The Flashtalk session featured some talented marketers who all created unique spaces for themselves. Some key takeaways from this session include: 

Andrew Athias, Reeses Guy: “Be the content you want to see.” Andrew didn’t like his favorite brand’s content, so he made his own! Now he has a sweet brand partnership with Reese’s. 

Jimmy Beck, Social Media Manager, Arby’s: Jimmy told the story of how Arby’s social team capitalized on a viral TikTok showcasing a purchased TV that ended up being a stolen Arby’s TV that displayed the menu. This turned into a viral $5 Missing Menu Item campaign. 

Ryan Burchinow, CMI Media Group and Karie Dorrance, Reddit: This group explained how you can make your case to leadership when wanting to explore other platforms. Do your research and stay persistent. 

8. Red Alert or Magenta? Social Media in a PR crisis.

Brandi Boatner, Manager of Digital & Advocacy Communications at IBM, kicked off Day One of SMDayPHL with an important lesson on defining a “crisis”. She reminded us all that not everything is a crisis (Red Alert), sometimes, it really is just an issue (Magenta Alert). Even if your social channel is being hit by some “trolls’, she reminds us that haters will always do what they do best, but that does not mean you are in a crisis.

“Be careful what you say out here in the social streets”

Brandi Boatner.

Social Media Day PHL 2021 was truly one for the books. With a hybrid virtual and in person event, everyone had a great time. If, like us, you are patiently waiting for next SMDayPHL, the team is already on it! This year, SMDayPHL is offering memberships that will give you access to year round workshops. You can learn more about it at

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