August 31, 2016

Yes, I was invited to a social media conference at Disneyland, and yes, it was awesome. I will share all of my takeaways from the Social Media Moms conference here with you, but first I want to share how/why I was invited – because I’ve been asked this dozens of time!

So, first of all, the event is an invite-only event, and, no I don’t honestly know how they got my name. Of course, everyone at the event was a mom – it is a “moms” event. Also, everyone there was pretty much from southern California and almost everyone was a blogger. I got an email 3 weeks before the event asking me to RSVP. To be honest, when Disney invites you to a conference, I can’t imagine saying no  So, I planned to go but had no idea what to expect.

There was a brief description and mention of speakers but no details as to who the speakers were or the topics that would be covered. Not to mention, I still didn’t know how they found me to invite me. I was excited though to find out that I could also bring family members and we would all get park hopper passes to Disneyland and California Adventure for the day of the conference. That was a pretty awesome perk!

The day of the conference, we all drove up to Disneyland, got registered, got our passes, and got a fancy swag bag with tons of goodies for my daughter. They took off to explore the parks and I got settled in for the conference. I got to meet some wonderful bloggers in a variety of different industries including the tech space, travel, mommy bloggers, and Disney bloggers specifically. There were less than 75 people in attendance so it made for a nice, intimate conference experience.

While none of us really know how we got selected (a number of people there had attended previous events), we were able to discern that they use a “variety of resources” to find people to invite, but that no, they aren’t scouring through social media posts or hashtags to find the right people. So, no, I can’t tell you how to get an invite, but I can tell you, if you get one, you want to say yes! The event itself was worth it, let alone all the swag and Disney experience that comes along with it.

Disney is the epitome of exceptionalism in every aspect of the event. From the registration swag bag, to the breakfast, to the room decor, to the conference content and guests, to the event swag, to the staff professionalism, and every other aspect, this was one of the best conferences I’ve attended. They definitely set the bar!

That being said, what did we learn? Here are my takeaways from the event as a whole.

Blogging

We were first shown what’s new to the Disney parks and experiences, including new cruise ships, new attractions, and more. If you follow much about Disney though, not much of this was too “new”. But it was nice to see it from a Disney insider perspective.

Next up, we heard from Erin Glover, the editorial director for Disney Parks blog. She shared with us how they create and manage content for their extensive blogs. This one platform covers all the content for Disneyland, DisneyWorld, Disney Cruise Lines, and more. So that’s a LOT of content to create and manage effectively.

A side note (and not a public endorsement) from Erin was that the Disney team uses Google Docs to coordinate projects and content. You might think that a company like Disney has some fancy schmancy tool to do all this (and while she admitted they do have some awesome tools for other things) but why recreate something if what you already have works perfectly?

She talked about the anatomy of a good blog post, which probably isn’t rocket science to any of you, nor was it to us. But it was still nice to hear from a large scale blogging platform to see they do the same thing we all do  It’s hard to see in the image, but the final portion of the triangle at the bottom is a Call-to-Action.

One of their favorite tactics for longevity and engagement is to create series posts. Whether a weekly or monthly series, the ability to split content into multiple pieces is a driving factor for increased engagement and views.

With all of the enhancements to live video, Disney is also doing a lot to embrace live chats and live stream videos from around the parks and behind the scenes content. They’re also doing a lot with providing first looks and that insider experience to their audience.

Videos

Next up we heard from Victoria Lim, the Managing Editor for Content and Public Relations at Disney. She was sharing knowledge bombs for video creation, editing, and sharing. Granted, there were a few technical issues getting her phone to mirror to the projector, but she still had some great insights.

Now, you know I preach the value of video, but I’m not a video person myself. I don’t like watching videos if I can read it instead (I’m too impatient to watch a video play through!). So I am not usually the greatest resource for video tips – which is why I appreciated seeing what Victoria uses and recommends.

Of course, Disney makes great use of videos in a ton of places online – from their blogs, to YouTube, to social media, and more.

She had a couple recommended tips for taking videos:

  • Use airplane mode: it saves battery and phone calls and notifications won’t pop up and interrupt your videography
  • Clean your lens! Nothing ruins a great video session like a dirty camera lens.
  • Zoom with your feet (not the zoom on your camera). Using the zoom feature on your camera causes pixelation and shakiness. Instead, move closer to your subject to get a better shot.
  • Pay attention to ambient noise and wind. Use a microphone if doing interviews or for clearer audio.

Victoria also recommended three video creation apps for mobile devices (she said that all three are available on both iOS and Android – which, by the way, she prefers her Android for videos and everyday use).

  • Magisto
  • Videolicious
  • WeVideo

Each app has different features but allow unique and professional looking videos with easy app integration.

Moana

For those of you who follow Disney movies, you know that the new movie coming out this year is Moana. A story about a teenage girl in the Pacific Islands who finds her destiny to be an explorer.

We got literally unparalleled access to this movie making process! We saw never before seen footage, information on how they cast the movie, insights on how they designed the characters, and so much more. It was so top secret they wouldn’t let us have any electronic devices on during this portion. They actually had security guards to secure the audience and ensure no one recorded any content of the showing. It was pretty exclusive and a fascinating look into the years of work it takes to make one of these iconic movies.

Tiffani Thiessen

The big surprise guest of the day was the one and only Tiffani Amber Thiessen who we all know and love from Saved by the Bell and 90210, as well as White Collar more recently, and her new show on the Cooking Channel, Dinner at Tiffani’s.

She was here to talk to us about being a mom and doing it all. She was candid, adorable, funny, dorky, entertaining, and passionate. It was awesome. And I even got to ask her a question about how she uses social media for her brand and business 

Here are some of my favorite takeaways from her session:

  • She doesn’t want to stop working just because she’s a mom. She enjoys sharing what she loves with her kids and having them be a part of that part of her life. Her daughter helps her and participates when she’s creating recipes for her show.
  • Being a mom put more fire into her to do more.
  • But she is also happy to be a mom and if the job opportunities dried up, she would be ok being a full-time mom, knowing that she’s had amazing career opportunities.
  • She is happy about Instagram Stories because she never had enough time to figure out and embrace Snapchat. So now she can do that on IG where she’s already present and comfortable.
  • Tiffani manages ALL of her own social media. Every social media post and blog post is her own content that she creates. And any engagement is 100% her – she doesn’t hire someone to act on her behalf.
  • She struggles to find balance on social media as it really is a full time job.
  • She welcomes sharing her personal life and inviting her audience into her world. But she and her husband have regularly discussed what is appropriate for sharing when it comes to their kids.
  • Her blog content is scheduled 1-2 months in advance, when possible. They coordinate around seasonal content or other themes to ensure everything is filmed, photographed, written, and edited in advance.

I was also pleasantly surprised by what she had to say about why she embraces social media for her brand. I posted about that on Instagram, which you can read here:

Ginger Zee

Our final guest of the day was Ginger Zee – a new mom to her 8 month old son. If you aren’t familiar with Ginger, she is the meteorologist for ABC, appearing on Good Morning America, ABC News, and numerous other broadcasts, especially during storms or major weather events.

She’s a thrill seeker at heart and loves chasing storms, reporting on them, and trying crazy new adrenaline activities. Of course, when she got pregnant, she had to tone this down “a little bit” and she wasn’t sure where her life would take her when she got back to work. Being a travelling reporter, going all over the world, isn’t ideal with a baby. But, as she pointed out, her mom was barely there for the first 6 months of her own life (her dad pretty much raised her while her mom dominated her career), but she and her mom are best friends still to this day and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

So she totally supports being a working mom! It’s ok. It’s even good.

She is also very active on social media and post regularly from various aspects of her life and career. She’s been lucky to have mostly positive support online, though there are those trolls. She even had some jerkoff challenge her decision to travel as a mom, just hours before our event! She shared screen shots and the audience bonded with her and aided in the troll shaming 

Ultimately, her message was one of empowerment and confidence. It’s an advantage as a parent that we live even more in the moment and enjoy the smallest of things. She would never do anything differently and is so happy to be a mom.

But she also occasionally needs to veg out with some good ol’ Bachelor on DVD 

As we wrapped up the day’s event around lunch time, Mickey came in to say hello and goodbye. It was a great conference with practical takeaways and motivational messages. I’m so glad I went and was pleased to meet some other amazing bloggers. I also loved my swag bag and all the fun we had at Disneyland and California Adventure!

If you want to see more photos from the Disney Social Media Moms conference you can go to the #disneysmmcdlr on Instagram for a ton of photos from the event.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Wow! that’s a great event and the most important thing is that it is for moms who are entrepreneurs, home workers or a professional. Moms who are in some kind of profession can get many chances to attend the conferences like this but for the stay at home moms it was a golden chance. Social media sites are so much popular these days so we can expect a huge response for this.

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