3 things our social media lead learned at Ragan’s Social Media Conference

The lessons our very own social media specialist learned while documenting the big conference.

Silvia Pittman and a special guest

It’s difficult to describe the feeling of being in a room with hundreds of people who just get you. It’s even harder to translate the magic of that moment when you’re also at Disney World. 

I’m Ragan and PR Daily’s social media specialist, and at this year’s Social Media Conference at Disney World, I got to learn, grow and mingle with other social pros while creating our own content across our brands’ channels.

As I dashed from session to session and maxed out my phone’s storage, I also downloaded several inspiring takeaways from the show. Here’s what I learned:



You don’t need AI, but AI needs you. 

During keynoter Andrew Davis’ session, we were introduced to his digital doppelganger, “Drewdini, ” whom he has engineered to write and edit content that actually sounds… human? I know, I was blown away. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably tried more than a few times to break out of a funk and use ChatGPT to think and write for you … only to be fed mediocrity (at best) and end up spending more time and brain cells trying to make it sound decent. 

But by training ChatGPT on the exact language he wants to use, and by forming something of a relationship with the robot, Davis has managed to leverage the tool to write stuff he actually  can use word for word. The tips he shared are invaluable to anyone who needs that final push to get started on using AI, and his advice on creating your own digital doppelganger could actually save social pros a lot of time.

Still – I think there’s an even bigger lesson here.  AI is truly incredible, it has the potential to transform our productivity and take strategy to the next level if you use it right. But without you, it’s nothing – for now at least. Generative AI still very much needs your human touch and for you to hold its robot hand.. 

‘Don’t perform, share!’

This was said best by Walmart’s Micah Laney during his session on LinkedIn – “Don’t perform, share!” How many times have you heard that authenticity is key to winning over your audience, building community, creating brand loyalty, etc? Well, it’s true. But if you’re thinking too hard about how to be authentic on social media, you’re probably not actually being real. 

That doesn’t mean your brand should post anything and everything that comes to mind. But identifying your brand’s core values and actually talking to your audience like the humans they are, you’ll be able to drive much better engagement.

I think about this a lot when I consider the difference between B2B, B2C, ABCDEFG  – at the end of the day the person behind the screen isn’t just a consumer, or a decision-maker or an executive,  they’re a person! In our panel on DEI & Social Media, Gabrielle K. Too-A-Foo, social media senior manager at PwC spoke to this saying,  “We are here to promote a product or brand, whatever the case is, but at the core of it, we are people working with people and holding space for each other. It really does make a difference and it creates a more powerful environment and authentic content.”

So have a plan, but don’t let your brand strategy erase your humanity. 

Memes today, the boardroom tomorrow

My biggest takeaway from #RaganDisney? It’s only up from here for social pros. 

Over those three days at Disney World I had the opportunity to hear from and speak to social pros at all stages of their careers, and it was truly inspiring to see what is now possible for us. I even spoke to one PR undergrad student who said that after the conference, she was going to focus her efforts on landing a social-first role. 

Officially gone are the days that social media strategy is left to interns or considered an afterthought for brands. We are finally recognizing our power and stepping into the light not as ninjas, unicorns or rockstars – but as the drivers of growth we truly are. 

David Murray, manager of social media strategy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan suggests social pros who want to move ahead and get backing for their goals learn to align what they do to business goals. 

“You have to ladder up your social media efforts to something they (leaders) recognize.” If  you can prove your worth to the higher ups and speak in a language they understand – the rest is gravy. 

Our future is bright when we lean into what’s possible, and into each other. Here’s to the future, and hopefully less approval requests for legal. 

Silvia Pittman is a social media specialist at Ragan Communications and PR Daily. 


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