I think by now, you all know that I am a big Disney fan. I write about Disney Parks, Disney Entertainment and very soon – Disney Cruises. Our family visits either of the parks atleast once, sometimes twice, or even 3 times a year. And we support all things Disney in our house, as we find it to be good entertainment and it brings our family together like nothing else does – I mean, have you even had an hour long conversation with your kids about who is the best Marvel hero? Why Darth Vader will always be the ultimate villain in Star Wars? Or why Expedition Everest is scarier than Space Mountain?
Where am I going with all of this?
Last November, I received the email that ever Disney Influencer dreams of – the invitation to the upcoming Disney Social Media Moms Conference. I immediately confirmed my attendance and paid my conference fee. I wasn’t missing out on this one. You see, I have attended several Disney SMMC On-the-Road events and the 2016 Disney SMMC at Walt Disney World. This year, we were going to be spending time on the Disney Dream. Being that a Disney Cruise was high on my bucket list, you know it was an immediate YES.
And we went and we loved it – and I have tons of things to tell you about in the coming weeks. But today, I wanted to give you some of the best things I learned at my time at the conference, at the Parks, and on the Cruise. You see, many of these things, I have put into practice already – whether in my day to day life, blogging, or just tips I wanted to pass along to you.
So this article is good for bloggers and influencers to take a quick peek at but also for any parent who is looking into traveling to Walt Disney World or take a Disney Cruise. It’s a great opportunity for those who don’t attend the Disney Social Media Moms Conference to get a peek as to what this conference is all about and why we all love to go to it each year. Or this could just be a mind dump and a place for me to remember some of the most important pearls of wisdom I gained. Take it for what it is folks!
11 Things I Learned at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference
My standard should not be at the same level as Disney Photography.
I really like to take gorgeous, compelling, emotion-stirring photos and get frustrated with myself that one out of maybe 100 photos I take meet that standard. However, after hearing from the manager of Creative Photography at Disney Parks, David Roark, I realized that photography is just not a skill that I have. And that’s OK. Seriously. One of the biggest themes I have learned in the past year is to focus on what I do best AND what I enjoy most. I really enjoy looking at gorgeous photos, but I don’t have the skills or talent to make them spectacular. And again, that’s ok.
I mean have you seen some of the gorgeous photos that come out of Disney Parks? Did it ever occur to you that they have access to places most people can’t go to take these gorgeous photos? Uh huh. Now doesn’t that make you feel better?
SEO is important. Really important.
I have always known how important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to the health of my blog. And especially now with the new Facebook algorithms in place, social media traffic is declining steadily. During the conference, we heard from Head of Search Marketing for Disney Destinations, Terry Cox, who gave us some great insight on SEO.
These are the 5 “Chunks” that are important for Optimization – what do you need to focus on?
- Find – Engine crawlers need to FIND your page
- Read – if there is only an image or animations and nothing to read, engines can’t find you
- Classify – search engines need to know what that content is all about – take the time to split our and write an individual post for each topic and not bunch them all together. And make sure to classify for the keywords that consumers use, not just yours.
- Weight – weight increases by the amount of links from other websites and they are more important from higher ranking websites.
- Utility – this is user experience, i.e. how fast your pages load & is it responsive – you need to have a mobile-friendly websites.
I need to focus on optimizing my pages better.
Terry also gave us the core elements for GOOD optimization of blog posts that I always love to see as a reminder of what I am doing right and what I need to change.
These are the CORE elements of a Well-Written & Optimized Post:
- Page title is most important – 50-67 characters – put article title first
- Article title – Content Heading – Make sure it is in a H1 tag
- Internal Links – interlink articles within your blog
- Image/Video – look at size to make them load better – also alt tags & file names BOTH need to be added
- Meta Description – SO IMPORTANT – 1-3 sentence description about what the article is about.
The WHEN to write is just as important as the WHAT to write.
Knowing When & What to write is key to being successful. Let Google trends help you know when. For example, look at when the searches happen – i.e. – Mickey’s Very Merry Holiday Party trends in July & really takes off in September – who would think to write about it that early? But you need to!
Disney grants over 10,000 wishes every year.
We were lucky enough to hear from John Breckow who is the Director, Corporate Citizenship at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts both at the conference day at the Parks and the one on the ship. He pulled at all of our heart strings by sharing stories of Cast Members who go above and beyond to help children with special needs.
Did you know that Disney grants over 10,000 wishes each year thru the Make a Wish Program, with 8000 of them happening at Walt Disney World? Make a Wish is the ultimate together time as families say it is some of the most incredible & meaningful time spent together. And studies have shown that kids going on wish trips see their health rallying – many see an improved quality of life with a renewed strength & energy. The number of hospital visits go down after their wishes are fulfilled. These wishes are transformative.
Disney has magic beyond the Parks.
Of course we all know how incredible Walt Disney World and Disneyland are for family vacations and making memories. We also learned more about Disney Cruise Line, the Aulani Resort in Hawaii, Disney Vacations Club and Adventures By Disney, which all extend the Disney magic way beyond the parks.
Having just cruised on DCL for the first time on this trip, I am on Cloud 9 about how much fun that was. Now of course, I am anxious to try the others. I have never been to Hawaii, so Aulani, which is rich in Hawaiian culture and story telling sounds incredible. And I am very interested in the convience of a Disney Vacation Club property – especially with the new Copper Creek Villas & Cabins just opening at Walt Disney World.
But the one that has me most intrigued to try is an Adventures by Disney vacation. These guided group tours started in 2005 with 2 trip offerings and they now offer 35 bucket list destinations on 6 continents. You can do weekend trips to San Francisco, enjoy some National Parks, or even cruise the Seine River with 2 days in Paris (coming in 2019).
WHAT’S THE JOB YOU WOULD LAUGH WHEN PEOPLE ASK YOU WHAT YOU DO?
I had this in my notes in all caps as it resonated so well with me. We spent time with the executive producer of the new Disney Junior show, Muppet Babies, Tom Warburton, learning all about the re-boot of this adorable new show. While he spoke to us, he asked us all this question:
DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO?
He said years ago, someone asked him what the one job was that would make you laugh when people asked you what you do. In other words, what job would bring you so much happiness? He always wanted to be a cartoonist and have his own shows. He worked hard to get there and now he is laughing. But what he said struck a chord with me – do something you LOVE to do.
Make your videos emotional
Bob Hitchcock, editorial content director for Disney Parks Blog spoke to us about creating video content. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watched it in a video than if they read it over text and we all know as bloggers that video content is important. But the one pearl I took home with me is that I need to make my videos more emotionally driven.
People want emotional content to make them stop & watch. Think about it, of the last few videos that you watched online, how many of them made you laugh out loud, or get goosebumps, or even made you cry? How do we do this? By making a connection with your audience, sharing a little bit of yourself, messing up and keeping it in there, and showing genuine emotions. It’s the personal connection that people want to see more than anything.
Alexa & Siri are just the beginning.
Fifty percent of all searches by 2020 will be by voice and so this will change your SEO strategies. Alex Ruiz – senior manager, Digital Content for Disney gave us this new trend. You will want to make sure you blog article can answer a question and not just a keyword. Also, you will need to make sure your blog is optimized for voice.
You should be having fun!
Another trend Alex Ruiz mentioned to us that was worth passing along is to make sure you are creating fun, bite-sized pieces of content within Instagram (Stories are easy to find), Snapchat, & Facebook. By the way, Facebook Lives are watched 3X longer than regular videos! Bottom line from him was that we SHOULD BE HAVING FUN – the moment it becomes a stressor, you need to stop.
Dole Whip with rum is NOT the same.
For anyone who follows me regularly on my social channels (you can find me daily with new IG Stories @rwethereyetmom on Instagram), you will know that I am a HUGE fan of Dole Whip. Yes, it is the first thing I eat when I hit Magic Kingdom, even at 9AM. I think it is special and can only truly be enjoyed at Aloha Isle, and not at home.
On this trip, I was excited to see that I could get Dole Whip on the Disney Magic, so of course I wanted to try it to see the comparison. The bartender who was serving it talked me into the upgraded rum version of my beloved Dole Float. Um. no. It was just not the same. And I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I do at the parks. So there. I’ll just settle for a Mickey Bar on the ship. Thanks.
I loved having a chance to review all these great tips and trends and ideas that I took away from the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. There were actually a ton more things I could write about and tell you that I learned, but I’m saving those for future articles. So definitely stay tuned to hear more!