Nine Things We Learned @ Ragan's Social Media Conference

Check out the nine ✨magical ✨ things we learned about social media and digital marketing at the Ragan Communication Social Media Conference at Disney.

By: Chelsea Schmitz and Alex Malone

A pinch of magic. 

A sparkle of fairy dust. 

Two curious communicators.

And, poof. ✨We were off. ✈️

This fall, we had the opportunity to attend the Ragan Communication Social Media Conference at Disney. As expected with any Disney trip, it was pure magic. And, lucky for us, the magic extended beyond the typical park visits (though we were able to squeeze one of those in as well). 

S9 notebook in front of Ragan Disney social media conference sign.

Below are the nine ✨magical ✨ things we learned about social media and digital marketing. 

  1. TikTok… your time is up.

The clock has struck and the verdict is out. Whether you like it, love it or can’t stand it, TikTok is here to stay. And, as marketers, we must dive deep on the platform to make sure we understand how to best leverage it for our brand. We highly recommend checking out the TikTok Academy as a starting point to up your skills with the platform. 

  1. Level up your in-house influencers. 

Let’s break down a simple (but often) forgotten influencer: your employees. A major theme throughout the conference was employee social advocacy. As organic reach continues to drop, your employees have the power to expand reach and tell an authentic story for your brand. Employees can not only share brand messages, they can also help find and ideate on new potential content ideas. Chelsea’s hot take: In 2023, building an employee social advocacy program should be at the top of your list.

  1. Organic + paid = social media MUST 

Okay, we’ve been hearing this one for a while. But, we continue to see brands invest solely in organic social media. So, we’re going to say it a little louder for the people in the back. To maximize your social media presence, you must incorporate paid into your strategy. The best part? A small spend can go a long way depending on your business goals.

  1. NFTs likely play a role for us as marketers. 

Chelsea here. 👋 I attended a Web3 and NFT session with a mixture of curiosity and fright. My actual words to Alex, “Hopefully I leave the session feeling like I never need to understand this stuff.” I can officially say, I see the benefit as a marketer to better understand NFTs. In particular, they have huge brand potential for loyalty programs, giveaways and word of mouth tracking. What this all looks like still seems TBD, but it’s important we keep an eye on the industry.

  1. Adapt your content across search engines. 

Google is no longer the only search engine in town. Say hello to some of our new(er) popular search engines: TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube. This means SEO needs to be part of your social content creation conversations ASAP. 

S9 backpack by welcome sign.
  1. Dive into the (right) data. 

You can’t have a strong social media strategy without data. It’s important to look at what’s working and what’s not to inform your approach going forward. And, it’s essential to understand what data aligns to your business goals. (This likely will mean looking beyond vanity engagement metrics.) 

  1. 👂Turn your audio up.

The consensus at the conference was video is still king, however, audio is becoming a close second. This does not mean you have to start your own podcast. In fact, there are many ways for your brand to benefit from audio. One of the most sustainable ways is by pitching your thought leaders to be featured on other industry-leading podcasts.  

  1. There’s no content hack.

Repeat after us…”We can’t plan viral content.” “We can’t hack thought leadership.” There’s not a simple, predictable formula to garnering engagement. Our work is part art and part science. 

  1. Our real magic? Winning over the head and heart. 

We are in a transformative time. There’s a lot happening in the world today, and as communicators, we must be aware and respond to the changing landscaping. However, one of the big takeaways that stuck with us is that our role as communicators really doesn’t change. We must create the magic combination of winning over the head and heart of our audiences through compelling, engaging and informative content.