Slaying dragons in social media fantasyland

Takeaways from #RaganDisney

Mickey slayin'

The social media industry can be a lot like New Fantasyland at Disney World: there’s a ton of information, flashing lights, advice, experts and characters out there. And like Mickey, we social media managers need to be able to blast through the nightmares and hype, to slay the dragons (e.g. social media pitfalls, haters, crises, stale content) and find our own way to the top of the mountain.

The best route is to set a strategy, jump in the fire and grow from there. After over three years of corporate social media management, I’m always looking for new ideas, fresh perspectives and ways to elevate my craft.

With that goal in mind, I attended the Ragan’s 6th Annual Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at Walt Disney World to get inspired, network with other social media pros and come up with some new ideas to try out at work.

Here are the key lessons I took away from the conference and I hope they help you slay whatever social media dragons you’re battling.

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Creepy reminder from Instagram

Motel 1

The filters and effects drew me in. The user interface and design wowed me. But the community and the creativity keep me coming back every day.

I check Facebook and Twitter for the news, but I go to Instagram for fun.

My feed seems cleaner and more interesting, with much less of the stuff that I routinely tune out (like ads, promos and app activity). Granted I am following less people on Instagram, but most of them seem to put some thought and care into their photos (although food and cat pics are inevitable on any platform, not that there’s anything wrong with that).

I also enjoy Instagram’s weekend hashtag projects. A few weeks ago, I had fun posting entries to the motel-themed project, and found myself thinking very highly of Instagram and felt appreciative for the creative outlet.

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How to avoid snoozefest PowerPoint presentations (and Facebook posts)

Digital Hollywood Conference

With three years under my belt in the corporate world, I’ve been spending a ton of time listening to, and creating my own, PowerPoint presentations.

Seriously. Cog-folk love us some PowerPoint.

And as a social media professional, I also spend most of my life on Facebook, either managing my company’s page or trolling reading the latest from my friends and subscription lists.

Given my intense exposure to both of these modern marvels of communication, I’ve developed a nose for the good and the bad, and can sniff out both pretty quickly.

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WTF inappropriate?

My “Tri for Les” triathlon training has taken over most of my free time these days and unfortunately my blogging time has been pushed aside for early morning bike rides, evening swim and run practices, and late-night fundraising brainstorming sessions. Excuses, I know, but it’s all for a good cause, in honor of a great woman (my Aunt Leslie) and I don’t feel too bad for prioritizing.

I’ve also been getting a creative fix from a side project, called Letters to Letters. It’s a fun commitment and good for keeping the creative juices flowing.

That being said, I am still working in social media full-time during business hours and wanted to share a bit about a recent experience I had with the term “WTF.”

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Notes on Google+

I’m trying not to get too excited about Google+.

I remember when Google Buzz launched about a year ago. I was all jacked up, and within a few weeks I felt pretty silly for contributing to the over-hype of what has turned out to be a dud thus far.

And as genuine as my efforts for objectivity are, I can’t deny that I’m a Google fanboy and am cheering for them to succeed in the social space.

So, yes, I am excited about Google+ and here are some of my notes on the new platform.

I hope they help your exploration of Google+ in one way or another. At the very least it’ll be fun to look back on this in a year and measure the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of my assessments and predictions.

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