August 30, 2016

Disney Social Media Moms

Disney is arguably the best known name in the mom space, the brand that just about every blogger or influencer strives to partner with at some point in their journey.

What makes Disney just so magical is its unique ability to make you feel like a kid again, to capture thIMG_8335at wonder, that excitement that anything can happen, that something unique and special is right around the corner.  Before having kids, I liked to visit Disneyland 1-2x a year to relive this experience, go on the rides, eat churros, throw on some Mickey ears and be in a mini-paradise.

I could not wait to have kids and take them to Disneyland, to experience the parks through their eyes.  Since I live within an hour’s drive away, we try to frequent the park every few months for a day of fun.  While my son was often overwhelmed at Disneyland as a baby and toddler (more about that in another blog post), my daughter cherishes every single moment.

IMG_7854She’s my Disney baby, and together, we share a love of carousels, churros, any toy that lights up, and have the same favorite ride, It’s A Small World.

So when Disneyland *invites YOU* to come and enjoy the park for a special day, treats you to perks like Fast Passes, stuffed animals, magic wands and more, well, you kind of feel like you are floating on pixie dust.  There’s just something extra special that happens when you get the email that you have been hand-selected to attend this magical day.

Now I know what you are wondering, how do you get invited to Disney Social Media Moms?

First let me share a little about what happens during the Disney Social Media Moms Conference.  Food and coffee, because no meeting of moms can ever be complete without coffee.

Surprises delight, like special appearances at this year’s August Disneyland Resort conference by Ginger Zee (who I have a massive girl crush on) and Tiffani Amber Thiessen.

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Informative content, learning about blogging secrets, how to make the best videos from your phone (download WeVideo and Magisto) and how to take better pictures using your phone.

Characters always make an appearance.  And you get to learn new things first, like seeing the first *ever* trailor for Disney’s new animation movie Moana along with a behind the scenes journey into the making of the film.

I have some news for all moms of little girls: get ready for all things Moana.  She’s a brave, adventurous and determined heroine in a story based in the South Pacific with beautiful music with drum beats, ocean adventures, and lots of folklore.

MAUI is a demigod—half god, half mortal, all awesome. Charismatic and funny, he wields a magical fishhook that allows him to shapeshift into all kinds of animals and pull up islands from the sea. Featuring Dwayne Johnson as the voice of Maui, Walt Disney Animation Studios' “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

MAUI is a demigod—half god, half mortal, all awesome. Charismatic and funny, he wields a magical fishhook that allows him to shapeshift into all kinds of animals and pull up islands from the sea.

MOANA is an adventurous, tenacious and compassionate 16-year-old who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. Along the way, she discovers the one thing she's always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker ("The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," "The Princess & the Frog") and featuring newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho as the voice of Moana, Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Moana" sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

MOANA is an adventurous, tenacious and compassionate 16-year-old who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. Along the way, she discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.








Now how do you become a Disney Social Media Mom?

There is no magic answer.  But, these are the things I would recommend to get on Disney’s radar:

  1. Develop your own unique, authentic voice.  Find your brand, and you be you.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, all that matters for YOU is what YOU are doing.  It’s easy to be intimidated, to feel like you can never stand out from the crowd.  The thing is, you DO stand out from the crowd by sticking to what makes you unique, pursing your passions, your talents and your strengths. IMG_8111
  2. Create good content.  There is a huge movement from blogger to influencer.  If you don’t understand the difference, I will write another post about it.  Brands want influencer.  Not someone who will just regurgitate the same materials, post whatever press release materials or marketing email they happen to get. You need to focus on what is “on brand” for you, good quality content, whether it is for profit or for passion.  When you pursue your passion, profit follows (if you understand how to monetize your brand.  Again another post).  Edit your pictures before you post.  The majority of mine go through 1-3 apps before I post them, I post at specific times, and each Instagram takes me about 15-30 minutes to post.  Brands always ask why a good social media person costs them so much, and this is the reason why.  You don’t just throw something up.  You create a color scheme on your Instagram, run an image through filters, select the right hashtags and amplify your post.
  3. Share your love of all things Disney.  But don’t be one of “those Disney bloggers” who ONLY post Disney unless that is YOUR brand.  Moms and parents like a lot of other products, content, etc besides just Disney (hey we need strollers to take there, cars to drive, backpacks to pack, etc).  You can do this authentically all year long with #throwbackthursdays or revisiting past trips. Sharing tips or tricks, new movies, how you ordered socks that just made your daughter’s Minnie outfit amazing, etc.
  4. Share your DisneySide on Social Media.  Share pictures, tips, tricks, etc. Don’t go overboard, but use the right hashtags and tag the right people.  I almost always get retweeted by @DisneylandToday while at Disneyland Resort.  But you can always participate virtually as well.
  5. Create / join a social media community.  Social media is, by its nature, social.  You need a good tribe of people who you can connect with, voice your ideas and thoughts with, share best practices, event invites, etc.  I give SO MUCH TIME to others in the social media world.  I met my best friend in the world on twitter 4-5 years ago.  Over time, that connection developed into a true, genuine friendship.  Now that I am a mom, I sometimes only get to see people I still consider my best friends every few years.  And that’s okay.   Veena moved to LA less than a year ago, and now I get to see her at least once a week, though with LA traffic, we often have to meet up at events or in the middle.  A community will make you more influential, make you better, and get you the connections you need to shine.
  6. Apply for Mom Select by IMG_8039Maria Bailey.  This will get you on a great list for upcoming opportunities.
  7. DO NOT STRESS GETTING INVITED TO DISNEY EVENTS.  Invitations are often random.  There are always some of the usual suspects, influencers who were the first mommy bloggers and are ubiquitous in the world of social media.  But there are also brand-new bloggers, very niche specific bloggers, bloggers from small towns who have never been on an airplane, and influencers who are mostly on instagram or one network but have a huge following.  Disney looks for a wide net of attendees, and they really do an amazing job of creating a diverse group of bloggers who only cover all things Disney, from beginner to advanced, some with seven kids and one with a newborn baby.  I have come to believe Disney wants to appeal to every kind of mom, because Disney IS for every kind of mom, family, kid, etc.

Just because you are brand new, does not mean you cannot score an invite.  And just because you are the top mom expert in the country does not mean you will score an invite.  Remember what I said above and don’t compare.  They have 175-200 invites for their largest conference of the year in May, so naturally that excludes a LOT of people.  Please do not take it personally.

I was invited in 2015 and not invited in 2016.  I was featured in a story by Reuters about Disney Social Media Moms in 2014 that was featured worldwide!  But the next year, for whatever reason, I was on the list.

Now, with Harper’s love of all things Disney, is the perfect time for us to go.  In 2015, I only took Grayson, my business partner and her daughter.  Grayson doesn’t like really loud noises (it’s better now, but we had to go inside for every fireworks display that year), he doesn’t like rides that go up and down, and has other sensory challenges at the Disney Parks.

Do I hope to score an invite to 2017?  Of course. But I do press / media invites for events and you know what, there is always a random element to them.  A few weeks ago, I launched a new high-end stroller for a brand, and the day before the event, another influencer asked me if she could take someone who *should* have been invited.  She just wasn’t by accident.  Things happen.  PR invites are not an exact science.  I have a HUGE list, and have to pick and choose, and sometimes I accidentally overlook a name, or one name stands out for some reason.

The point of this is just to say, you cannot take ANYTHING in social media personally.  It’s not personal.  Stay positive, be yourself, do a good job, and good things are going to happen for you.  I promise!

xo Rachel


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