Ramon DeLeon calls himself “just the pizza guy who gets it” because of his fervor for creating memorable social media experiences across the world as the marketing mind behind Dominos Pizza. If that’s the case, then just call the Walt Disney Company “the company that gets it” because of how they incorporate social media and the mouths of moms to WOW the social media cybersphere to the tune of generating 15 million impressions each week!
This past week, April 26-29, I had the pleasure of attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, a conference chock-full of informative sessions from powerhouse speakers like Ramon DeLeon, Amy Jo Martin, Lisa Druxman, Peter Shankman and Chris Brogan, who taught me to connect with my audience, be a renegade, stand out like a weed, and WOW em’ like it’s nobody’s business.
On our first conference day, the Social Media Moms converged on the Disney Yacht Club’s conference center to hear from some of social media’s top influencers who made a difference by being different. We enjoyed a hot, scrumptious breakfast (bacon, eggs and pancakes for me) over conversation and had the opportunity to meet moms outside of their Twitter avatars.
Once we finished breakfast we walked into the room where the conference was held and was awed by the HUGE castle, twinkling lights on topiaries and the whimsical ambiance of the room. I felt like a belle who had made it to the ball. And as I looked around in awe at all of the beauty of the room done up in Disney fantastical-style, I rolled along my laptop in a bag and was looking for a table that would be close to an electrical outlet. And lo and behold, I didn’t have to look far at all! Rayovac came to the rescue and had outlets right smack dab on our tables! Instead of pretty bouquets on the tables they gave us just the morning juice we really needed. Thanks Rayovac. That made me smile.
Our conference day started off with comedienne Mary Ellen Hooper serving up early morning laughs to conference-goers. Mary Ellen had me in stitches talking about her two boys and her journey into motherhood in a way that I truly connected. Basically we’re tired at times and being a mom is not a primp, proper and pretty job. Amen to that!
Next up, to our surprise, was Meg Crofton, the President of Disney Parks and Resorts. She took the stage and outlined the wonderful changes that Disney has in store for Magic Kingdom which includes doubling the size of Fantasyland! This is the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.
Crofton spoke about the joy that parents and their kids have on historic rides like Dumbo but admitted the wait time is too long. So to better the experience, Disney is creating a Double Dumbo ride for families and parents will spend the pre-ride time indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. The Storybook Circus will include a chance to join the circus and step inside the Big Top for fun-filled interactive experiences for kids of all ages. Alongside Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the existing Barnstormer is getting a new look as well, featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini.
Read more about the expansion HERE
We then heard from Amy Jo Martin, a social media strategist, who has conquered social media by being a renegade and debunking the myth that you have to go with the status quo.
Amy Jo has done just that for high-profile clients like Shaquille O’Neal and walked us through how she helped him to connect with his Twitter audience by proving that he was actually doing the tweeting. Pictures of Shaq cheating on his diet and showing up conspicuously on street corners, validated that he was in charge of his own Twitter, thanks to Amy Jo’s forward thinking strategy. Amy Jo also aided Shaq in a strategy to give his fans first dibs online that he was retiring from the game. Amy Jo considers herself a renegade after her boss gave her the nickname because of Amy Jo’s desire to be different and take chances. Those hard-knock risks earned Amy Jo the respect and recognition of her peers in social media. And she told us moms to take a ready, set, pause moment in our lives and appreciate self before anything else. Just what I needed to hear. Follow @AmyJoMartin on Twitter.
Some of my best Amy Jo conference tweets:
He came onto the social media stage like he was a firecracker bottled up and waited for just that moment to explode with such fervor and excitement that it has been coined #RamonWOW! Ramon DeLeon, the Marketing mind behind 6 Chicago area Domino’s WOWed the social media stage by taking us on a visual journey of how he has connected so intricately with his audience that it has earned him respect and high regard throughout the world and for the Domino’s chain. It’s an effect that has made him, in my opinion, a Social Media Mogul. Ramon has wowed clients by delivering pizza during the Chicago blizzard, and has given out 11 pizzas for $11 which has continually made his customers smile and slobber him with kisses along the way. Ramon taught us to connect with our audiences, never shying from an apology when needed and always quick to make a correction when warranted. I was moved by his passion and his endearing words of wisdom. Follow @Ramon_Deleon on Twitter.
Some of my best Ramon DeLeon conference tweets:
I was delighted to hear Amy Foster the Director of Consumer Insights for Walt Disney World Resorts who reminded us that fun is not frivolous and it’s a precious resource. It should not become a forgettable blur. Just the words I needed to hear. Even Gary Buchanan, Social Media Manager at Disney, joined in the fun dressed in his Jedi garb. Gary informed us about Star Tours 3-d and Star War Weekends which is an annual special event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park that celebrates the legendary Star Wars Saga and the animated television series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. You can learn more about them by visiting the Disney Parks Blog Star Wars Weekend.
As a former reporter who has worked for several major newspapers like the Virginian-Pilot and Philadelphia Tribune, I surely appreciated hearing Peter Shankman, the Founder of Help a Reporter Out.
Peter got our social media mojo going when he declared that we Be a Weed. You heard right. Peter said that a weed is a plant that has mastered every survival ability in the world. A weed has stuck around through the test of time. Despite what you think, Shankman said, a weed has more haters than any celebrity. But being different is good. Growing up with ADHD, Peter survived “getting the crap kicked out of him” in junior high school to soar in Performing Arts School. He then realized that being different was okay.
“Facing your fear is the only way to become a weed. Nothing exciting ever happens in your comfort zone,” he said. Follow @PeterShankman on Twitter
Stroller Strides President Lisa Druxman pulled no punches when she entered the stage in her fitness instructor mindset. She got all the moms up out of our seat and ordered us into the squat position. Well that didn’t last long for me, someone who really needs Lisa’s fitness DVDs! Lisa even dared the moms to do a plank yoga position. And one of the moms got down and held herself up! Proof that Social Media Moms mean business!
Lisa is a nationally recognized speaker and author and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre/postnatal fitness. Follow @LisaDruxman on Twitter
And everyone couldn’t wait to hear from the laid-back Justin-Bieber-Hair tossing Chris Brogan who brought his A-game to the DSMMs! Brogan is a New York Times Bestselling Author, strategist and Consultant for Human Business Works. Follow @ChrisBrogan on Twitter.
After day two, I truly felt re-energized and ready to conquer social media in a new and productive way. Much of what the presenters preached I felt like I was utilizing most of those business practices in a productive way. But there was so much more information I learned and insight I gained from their invaluable words of wisdom.
As Founder of Atlanta Diaper Relief, the first diaper bank in Atlanta, I have moved mountains for my business in just one year by landing major partnerships like Huggies and Walmart all because of social media and how I positioned the brand. Even Oprah Winfrey re-tweeted a tweet about my cause to her 10 million+ followers which garnered much more attention for us. Social media is a powerful medium!
Social Media has great influence far and wide. Especially when you can tweet and reach someone as influential as Oprah!
Just like Meg Crofton said, social media is the new word of mouth! And I guess that means we are the Pied Pipers of Literary Online Persuasion! I just made that up. I like that!
Now going forward, I have more ammunition thanks to the conference presenters, that I’m sure will propel my business and my blog Cincomom.com to new heights.
Thank you to the Disney cast for an invitation of a lifetime. Thank you to Leanne Jakubowski, Director of Social Media for the invitation and for always being so accommodating. Thank you to Maura King, event coordinator for your weeks of hard work making sure each detail of our visit was intact. From the Disney Yacht Club cast and our housekeeper Hanna who kept our room sparkling to the transportation staff ladies Mary and Meriam, who laughed and entertained us while we waited to be escorted to dinner, I appreciate each and every one of you for making this trip a very memorable one for me and my family.
Disclosure: I paid a conference fee to take part in the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I was never asked to write a blog post. I chose to do so of my own doing and all opinions are my own.