When Disney puts on a conference, only one word can describe the event — magical. From the moment my invitation arrived to attend the 2012 Disney Social Media Moms conference I was giddy with excitement. This was my second year in attendance, and I can only hope that I have the honor of attending again. At every turn Disney cast members and conference hosts went out of their way to make a lasting impression on attendees and their families. It wasn’t all lavish parties and trips to the park, although that was part of the event too. There was also a lot of learning to be had during what I believe to be the best conference of the year.
When you are at Disney, no small detail is overlooked. It is a commitment to excellence that both makes guests stop and notice and also gets overlooked in a sea of perfection. The smallest details are the hardest to prefect, and in our go-go-go world people and companies often overlook their importance. From the conference stage being transformed into Cinderella’s castle to foregoing floral centerpieces in favor of something more important to bloggers — colorful power connections in the form of a centerpiece — no detail went unfinished.
The stage was set for a carefully selected line-up of speakers to inspire, motivate and teach us about social media, finding our passion and even some life lessons. It’s hard to condense an entire day’s worth of education into a blog post, but I want to share some of the most important points I took away from the conference. These are the things that have stuck with me, even six weeks later as I finally have a moment to share my wonderful experience.
Amy Jo Martin – Digital Royalty
Energetic, courageous and bold. When Amy Jo took the stage, she made me think. The ultimate rebel, Amy Jo balked the system when social media was just a new fad and paved her own course to become a powerful social media guru. Honestly, if I could choose one person to mentor me it would be Amy Jo. Her words resonated with me. While trying to soak in everything she had to say these are a couple of messages that I her words, I are a few key points that stuck out:
- Amy Jo claims that she is addicted to change. While she pointed out the problems with this, her ability to adapt to change has served her well and allowed her to succeed in the ever-changing world of social media.
- Don’t have “Innovation Allergies.” In other words, don’t be afraid to do something new. You don’t have to be status quo.
- “Color outside the lines… without crossing the line!”
- We are all so busy that we try to do everything all of the time. Amy Jo reminds herself to take a break daily, an eight minute break that she calls “Ready, Set, Pause.” (I am still working on making time daily for my Ready, Set, Pause.)
- Amy Jo’s key message was about finding your “why.” As she said, “If you don’t know why you are doing what you are doing, how can you expect people to follow you?”
Ramon DeLeon– Domino’s Pizza, Chicago
There is only one word to describe Ramon – enthusiastic. This guy had more energy than a classroom full of preschoolers! And it is contagious. He has an unmistakable passion for what he does that is both surprising and inspiring. And what is he passionate about? Selling pizza and putting a smile on his customer’s face. He most definitely put a smile on mine.
- His motto, “Be Inspired and you will be in Demand!”
- Another idea this guys lives and breathes, “If you give people WOW to share, they will!!! Don’t be a brand that is boring!”
Peter Shankman – The Geek Factory, Inc.
Best known as the founder of HARO (Help A Reporter Out), which helps connect journalists to sources, Peter encouraged us to, “Be a weed.” Why weeds? Weeds are different. Weeds stick around and have the ability to survive no matter what happens around them.
- “Nothing exciting ever happens in your comfort zone.”
- “No one cares how awesome you are, if you have to tell them. Create amazing stuff, and others will talk about you.”
In his third appearance at Disney Social Media Moms, Chris shared ideas to help us improve our online presence. Most importantly, the need for a mobile website. I have had one for sometime, but it is lacking. Listening to his words pushed improving my mobile strategy to the top of my list.
- Another quotable moment, “Always have something to sell, but don’t always be selling “
While all of the speakers had important points for us to remember, the speaker that created the most buzz for all of the moms in the room was the Director of Disney Destinations and Consumer Insight, Amy Foster. When she said the following, a hush fell over the room as we soaked in her words:
“Our job as parents is to create memories. You can only do that by being together. You only have 18 summers with your kids. Make memories. Life is short.”
Wow. How many do you have left with your kids?
At Disney Social Media Moms, we were treated like royalty. And yet, the experience was humbling.
Oh, and I have to share… Throughout the weekend there were several raffles held. I was lucky number 17, and I won a prize! I won an in-room welcome from the Disney Dream Makers and a Disney World family photography package. Since we are planning to stay out at Disney in September, this was a perfect prize for me. Squee!
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Disclosure – As part of the Disney Social Media Moms conference fee I received lodging, admission and various other complementary items and perks. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.