Thursday, June 18, 2015

Disney Social Media Moms: What Would You Do for Discounted Park Admission?

I saw this article and chuckled. Truly worth sharing! Disney has cultivated an exclusive group it calls 'Disney Social Media Moms', made up of mom bloggers and other motherly influencers, sharing their love for Disney and vying for perks such as deeply discounted admission to its theme parks. This is no joke! They receive an invitation to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration - a day-long conference where the moms attend motivational sessions and receive social media tips and Disney updates so their influential message can be spread across the world.

This year, they learned how to use Pinterest data, heard from 11-year-old lemonade stand entrepreneur Vivienne Harr, and listened to a Pixar producer talk about the Disney-owned animation studio. At the conference, the moms made #DisneySMMC a trending Twitter topic on the day the invitations went out. One mom tweeted that “A very magical invite with pixie dust arrived!”. In the run-up to the celebration, the invitees posted on Pinterest the Frozen-inspired outfits and Mickey Mouse-adorned handbags they planned to bring to the Mother's Day weekend event.

Disney does not tell the mothers what to write or tweet about, and it doesn't require them to post. That being said, this year's social media moms event in May still generated 28 500 tweets, 4 900 Instagram photos and 88 blog posts full of ride reviews and videos of kids meeting Disney characters. And the moms' postings are overwhelmingly positive. The theory is that mothers with a large online presence have the ability to influence the travel and entertainment planning of other mothers and Disney totally caught on to this and made it work in their favor.

Exactly how Disney chooses its social media moms is a mystery, stoking online speculation about the secret formula. One blog post that offered advice on how to get picked was shared 1,600 times. Common tips include interacting with Disney's Twitter accounts and expressing interest in attending one of the smaller social media events Disney hosts in various cities. Disney executives will only say they look for moms who fit its family-friendly brand, use multiple social media platforms and are active in their communities offline.

The moms include bloggers and book authors as well as radio, TV and YouTube personalities. They tend to cover topics such as family life, parenting, cooking, travel and crafting in addition to their postings about Disney, and only a minority are superfans who write primarily about the company's products and theme parks. Disney moms are not paid, but they receive perks from the company for their efforts, including - for some - deeply discounted, four-day family trips to Walt Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, an event that is part vacation and part educational conference. The mothers say they like having a connection to Disney, which I believe a lot of us do. I mean, if I'm not a mother but if I was offered a spot to attend this conference, I would!

Disney was the first major company to tap the influence of moms across a wide spectrum of social media, but the approach is now being used to promote a range of products, including Hewlett-Packard printers and Cottonelle toilet paper. HP hired 14 mom bloggers to post print-at-home craft and project ideas on a website called MyPrintly. Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle brand paid a group of mom influencers to serve as roving reporters and share experiences at a New Kids on the Block concert it sponsored. Overall, moms spend $3.2 trillion annually in the US economy, said Maria Bailey, a consultant who advised Disney on its social media effort and runs BSM Media, a marketing firm that connects brands with moms.

Someday I can only hope to be as magical as these moms and join the 'Disney Social Media Moms' group! To read more on how these moms devour the details of social media and marketing for Disney, check out the entire article on BusinessReport.

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