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How social media influencers are helping real estate developers to team up

In May, Waldorf invited guests to join them Aysedeniz Gokcin, a Turkish pianist with 105,000 followers on Instagram, to come to New York and film herself playing Cole Porter’s historic original Steinway grand piano, which sits in the Waldorf’s sales gallery. She was joined by a fellow Turkish performer Kaan Sekban, who has more than 500,000 Instagram followers, and together the duo sang Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”

It was more than just a fun stunt. Waldorf was carefully tracking traffic from the event, and it was pleased by the social media impressions — more than 1.5 million — that were generated.

Ms. Gokcin bristles at the term “influencer” — a classically trained pianist, she stayed at the Waldorf Astoria hotel at age 11 when she traveled from Turkey to audition at the Juilliard School, and she said the opportunity to collaborate with the brand was a personal thrill.

“It wasn’t transactional,” she said. “Touching a piano that is so legendary was magical.”

Influencer marketing is a $24 Billion industry. It has been growing across TikTok and Instagram for over a decade. Beauty, fashion, and sports brands are some of the earliest and most enthusiastic adopters. The idea of residential real estate, which has long been dominated by traditional advertising channels like billboards, print marketing, and word of mouth, has taken longer to catch on.

But during the pandemic, the trend gained a foothold in Florida, which had a more laissez-faire approach to Covid-19 restrictions than other states and where an influx of new residents — nearly 1,000 every day in the pandemic’s early months, according to some estimates — was followed by a boom in luxury construction and sales. In 2021, South Florida saw a record $11.4 billion in multifamily property sales, more than twice the 2016 record of $5.5 billion.

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