After settling in at the Grand Floridian, I was eagerly anticipating conference day and to hear from all of the wonderful speakers lined up that Friday. This is why I woke up every hour starting at 3am. I guess I was afraid the alarm would fail to go off. So I was up and at ‘em that morning, ready for the social media memories to begin.
But first, we were all treated to a delicious buffet breakfast. I wish I had taken a photo or two at Citricos, a beautiful sunny room on the second floor of the hotel’s main building. The vibe that morning mimicked my own feelings. After we got our fill, met friends and chatted, we all headed for the conference hall.
Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney World, welcomed us all and shared some information. This year’s theme-just in case you’ve been living under a rock– is, “Let the memories begin!”
One of the facts that stood out to me was that there are so many dining options in Walt Disney World, that you could eat 3 times a day from March to August and never have to eat at the same place twice. That’s impressive!
1) Create a page and import your blog into facebook.
2) Use social plugins on your blog
3) Advertise to build your business
4) Use insight tools to understand your audience
We were all pretty surprised to find out the Matt does not have a twitter profile. But when you think about it, I guess it’s not all that shocking – I suppose twitter is the competition. The savvy mom bloggers stumped this speaker a few times. It was interesting to watch. When one blogger asked about changing their page name when re-branding (you cannot currently do that), he replied, “I know a guy who can help you with that.” Mr. Jacobson also shared his email address with us. I think we all scrambled to jot that one down!
Rene Sylar of Good Enough Mother and author of the book by the same name was up next. Before this conference, I hadn’t heard of her, but you may know her as former host of the Early Show on CBS. When she first got on stage she stated how nervous she was, but it certainly didn’t show. Rene told us ahw had been fired by CBS and was diagnosed with Cancer around the same time; she talked about how her supportive family (including the dog) got her through the rough times. She is so well-spoken and had us laughing and crying alternatively.
She reminded us that, “No one is going to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself” – and also this, which has been my mantra this year, “Don’t make room for people who make you feel bad, they have no place in your life.” Everyone loved her talk, as evidenced by the standing ovation she received and the fact that she was trending on twitter!
Then, it was time for prizes. Upon entering, we all received raffle tickets and winners were picked for various lovely Disney-themed prizes. A stay at Cinderella’s Castle was awarded to one lucky blogger, as well as a fancy handbag to another and a basket of goodies to someone else. A strange lady at our table won a beautiful watch.
From left to right, Jen (The Next Kid Thing), Monica (Macaroni Kid NYC), me, Fran Capo (comedian & speaker at conference),
Amy (Selfish Mom), Elise (babybites), & Natalie (Twiniversity). Photo credit
Then Meg Crofton came back on stage and asked us to share our favorite Disney memories. That strange lady rose her hand and then she ran up on stage. She turned out to be our surprise speaker, Fran Capo – The world’s fastest talker. I knew something was up with her! She turned out to be a lot of fun, and like Rene Sylar she endured her fair share of challenges. Including getting held up once by a burglar robbing the copy printing store she had been working at. The register contained six dollars and the guy complained. Fran pointed out that they only charge 10 cents a copy! Her motto in life is to “Say yes and figure it out later.” I definitely do that myself…but struggle in the figuring out process.
After lunch, we heard from the New York Times bestselling co-author and popular blogger Chris Brogan (chrisbrogan.com). I had been looking forward to hearing him speak for the longest time. He was a natural on stage, and his delivery was so casual that you felt like you were getting advice from a dear friend. Plus, he’s hilarious. Referencing all of the fun giveaways that day he said, “”I think we should have a nap giveaway.”
One of his philosophies can be summed up as CRAP. C=connections, R=referral, A=attention/awareness, P=pressence. He hates distractions follow friday, and thinks that the television makes a great babysitter (we all guiltily chuckled at that last bit).
He also recommends that we not feed our blog to twitter, facebook etc. It’s more important to engage your readers with a question, and make your posts different in all locations to make your readers want to click over, not unsubscribe. I’m still pondering this one…
Bringing up one of my pet peeves, he suggests, “When you leave a comment on a blog, don’t sign it with your url – your link is already there.” And sound advice for our room full of moms, “Put your own oxygen mask on first. You have to save yourself/support yourself before you help anyone else.”
We were then treated to champagne and Broadway stars Susan Egan and Georgia Stitt. They shared their stories – both ladies turned down the opportunity to perform in the hit play Wicked because it wasn’t a fit for their lives and families. I got chills when Susan perfomed a song from Beauty and the Beast – she was the original Belle for the Broadway production.
And you’ve probably heard this one before. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s hilarious. It’s just an excerpt and I wish I had gotten the entire song.
As a Disney Social Media Moms conference attendee, I received a special rate which included the conference fee, hotel room, meals, park passes and gifts. I was not required to blog about the experience, but I wanted to share. All opinions above are my own.