This first-hand experience was contributed by Albert Qian. Albert is a web and social media program manager born and raised in Silicon Valley. He believes that social media has the power to connect people and facilitate the sharing of personal stories that can change lives and perspectives.  

Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a very unique social media experience. Through the Irvine Company, I was able to help market Crescent Village, a new apartment community in San Jose, through social media. Over the five-day experience, my friends, fans, and followers were treated to photos, status updates, and blog posts about living in one of the most luxurious units I had ever had the opportunity to live in.

Crescent Village luxury apartments in San Jose CA

The use of social media played a big part in this event. For photos, I used both Facebook and Instagram. For location-based check-ins, I used Foursquare, and for blogging and status updates, I used WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook status updates.

There are no doubt numerous social networks available to market a social media experience – new apps such as Vine are good for documenting short bits of content for audiences, but the core philosophies remain for any social media marketer.

  • Social media experiences should be visual: Instagram and Facebook photos were always my best bet when it came to engagement. Humans after all are very visual folks and respond well to visual cues. Seeing something as opposed to reading is always preferable, and for many, seeing the features and amenities of Crescent Village were very tempting.
  • Location, location, location: Location is a very big key in social media, and even more so for living. Checking in mattered to me because Crescent Village was a short ten-minute walk to my office and I wanted to show friends and followers just how close it was to live to work and the benefits. When marketing your brand in hospitality show how close you are to the places that matter to your audience. This always makes the experience better.
  • In friends we trust: Facebook was my biggest asset in being able to show the world how great a place Crescent Village was to live because that’s where I have friends who trust me the most. When marketing your hospitality brand consider the networks and audience where you are trusted the most. When you have that trust people are more likely to approach you and ask about your experience, or come to the experience itself as many friends did.
  • Social networking doesn’t just leave itself to social media: In the end also get your friends involved. Friends were always happy to come over and join for the fun as evidenced on Wednesday and Friday at Crescent Village where we had a group tour of the complex and a business meeting, respectively. Having friends create content, tweet, and Facebook about their experience is just as important because you cannot build relationships unless you are present in real life. As a hospitality brand, build up your trust and social capital by holding events and networking with others. This is sometimes the best way to build a relationship.

What other brands have you seen go out of their way to establish relationships through social media?