Earlier this week, I had the honor and the absolute pleasure to attend Disney’s Social Media Moms “On-the-Road” event. Each of the last five years, Walt Disney World or Disneyland have hosted invitation-only social media events, and for the last two years, they have taken mini versions of these events on the road.
Everyone I met was absolutely lovely, from the Disney team to the other bloggers. There were some other Disney-minded folks, but also bloggers and social media experts from all arenas – business, parenting, local media, green living, crafting and DIY, and so many more. Admittedly, this was my first “blogging conference” of sorts, but I was so surprised and inspired at how kind and helpful everyone was to one another.
Before we got started, we got to do a bit of networking, Rock our Disney Side and check out my new favorite artist, Princess Etch-a-Sketch. Seriously, this woman does incredible work. There aren’t enough words, so this will have to do:
The event started with members of the Disney Parks staff talking about what’s new at the parks and around the world. We saw some behind the scenes footage of the “Ultimate Tweet” that launched the Rock Your Disney Side campaign.
We heard lots of incredible details about the newly-opened Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. The thing I’m most excited about? The well-planned, well-executed interactive queue area for the kids. With the popularity of the ride and the changes to the Fastpass system to Fastpass+, I’m a fan of anything that keeps my three entertained while waiting in line! 🙂 With this particular ride, you’ve been recruited to join the dwarfs in the mines. Kids (and grown-ups alike!) can sort gems, play in barrel after barrel of sparkling diamonds, and help with jewel washing and storing until it’s their turn to hit the mountain!
There are a lot of other fun activities surrounding this, the “crown jewel of New Fantasyland.” At the ride’s main site, click “Miners Wanted: Join our Crew” to begin exploring. Get your dwarf name, start your training and look over the miners handbook – it’s got important information! 🙂
Be sure to check out the “Be the 8th Miner” contest going on now, and you could even win a trip to the Walt Disney World resort to ride!
We also heard a lot from the digital and social media teams. Jen from the Disney Parks Blog gave us insight into their process – one where content is king. That means that in general, 90% of their time is devoted to selecting, researching and fleshing out ideas – and only 10% of the time spent on publishing a blog post. She told us about how the “All in the Details” series came about, and the benefit of having series’ for bloggers and companies, in order to build repeat readership.
Next up, someone from the Media Training team told us about best practices for media appearances – from how to get the spot, to important things to remember… such as the fact that nothing is really ever, “off the record” 😉 and that you only owe a reporter a response, not necessarily an answer. Be confident with what you know, but stick to your expertise. Your goal in an interview is to leave with your brand intact.
Not doing news interviews on a regular basis (or ever)? She also talked about building a “Key Message” – an elevator speech of sorts, that contains concise building blocks for a foundation of what it is you want to convey. You can add onto that foundation later through subsequent conversations, but this establishes your expertise and the purpose of your brand – just as a mission statement might. She suggested actually writing this down, and revisiting it as time passes. Pretty solid advice for anyone with a “brand” really, even if what you’re marketing is yourself.
After a break for the most delicious cookie I think I have EVER eaten, it was time for a few more sessions!
We heard from a couple of brands that have set out to help parents. We saw some incredible technology from HP (did you know that not only can you get ink shipped to your doorstep instantly as your wireless-enabled printer tells someone you need it, but that you can also schedule fun printable activity and coloring pages of your children’s favorite characters to print out just in time for them to leave you alone while you make dinner?!), and heard about the Huggies Mom Inspired grant program. Personally, I’m always the one saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” But if you have thought of that – that one thing that should have been invented long ago that solves a problem all of us have – Huggies wants to help you get your idea off the ground with $15,000 and mentors/resources to get you started right. Statistically speaking, the two biggest reasons people don’t start business are fear and lack of money. This program addresses both issues. To date, they’ve given half a million dollars to over 40 winners – many of which (including the two that shared with us at the event) have gone on to do very well in hundreds of stores worldwide or on programs like Shark Tank. The goal is for moms and dads and make money while they sleep (as someone purchases their product), instead of always selling someone else’s idea in reviews, etc 🙂
The final speaker of the day was Ramon DeLeon. His story is great, and one I’d love to share some day – but I’ve already gone on longer than I anticipated 🙂 I think I’ll dive a little deeper into his presentation at some point, but for now? My biggest takeaway from Ramon, other than his enthusiastic embodiment of his own hashtag #RamonWOW (which was inspiration enough) was this: dream and aim big, but build your brand one conversation at a time. This is what we were doing after all, and what Disney does so very well. Truly connecting with people is, in my opinion, the foundation of any good brand.
And connecting with people while eating delicious Disney treats and hanging out with the Big Cheese himself? That’s a good Tuesday.
(Oh. And there was swag. And I got to meet the woman who does it all and still makes more time for her family. I’m so thankful!)
Disclaimer: The speakers, sweet treats, and swag were all free. I paid all of my travel expenses. I have no relationship with Huggies or HP, though if they asked I can’t say I’d decline working with them 😉