While at the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland this summer, I was treated to a warm cookie. This may not seem like a big deal, but the fact that this cookie was fully integrated into the DoubleTree Hotel’s social media strategy made it one.

Upon check-in – and by that I mean an “IRL”, in real life, check-in at the front desk – I was handed a warm chocolate chip cookie. Nice touch, I thought, and off I went to my room to hydrate and mentally prepare for the onslaught of three days of blogging seminars and wine tastings.

While enjoying my cookie, I casually checked-in to the hotel on Foursquare, a location-based social network that lets you virtually check-in to places, earn points and badges, and even become the virtual “mayor” of a business if you’ve been there more than anyone else. 

Within seconds, I received a Tweet on Twitter, made possible because my Foursquare and Twitter accounts are linked, thanking me for checking-in and inviting me to sign up for a contest to win a lovely cookie tin. I was impressed.

The next step? Enter the contest through DoubleTree’s Facebook page, requiring me to like their page, give my email address over to their contest application. A side note about Facebook contests:  you are breaking Facebook’s rules if you’re not using a third-party application, like OfferPop or ConstantContact and others, to run your contest. And those “like our page and you’ll be entered to win a prize” are a big no-no and could get your page deleted.

But back to the cookie tale. DoubleTree smartly data-mined me on three networks:  Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook, collecting my info for future marketing. And frankly, built some serious brand loyalty by interacting with me, though it was all automated, and combining their networks with the “IRL” cookie…which was delicious.

When I departed the conference, I Tweeted the DoubleTree a thank-you and received an immediate you’re welcome. The next time I’m in Portland, quite likely I’ll stay with them again.

Integrating your networks to provide these multiple touch points and interactions is brilliant, and there are ways to automate these connections to make monitoring easier. If nothing else, use your networks to have conversations with your followers, show them there’s someone behind the Facebook page who’s listening.

It’s been a few months, and I’m still thinking about that cookie. Don’t forget that in real life component, that’ll seal the deal.

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