Peninsula shop owners are conducting a Twitter treasure hunt to attract new customers.
Starting this month, they began tweeting a series of clues to Twitter followers, in hopes that users of the social media would beat a trail to local stores.
The Twitter Hunt is sponsored by Peninsula Shops, a Redwood City-based Web site created to support and raise the visibility of local businesses. In addition to a Twitter page, the organization also has a presence on another social media site, Facebook.
The messages — limited by Twitter to 140 characters — are a challenge themselves to decipher.
“Terry Conroy owns? Hint member directory advance search. 1st to correctly post merchant name on our FB wall wins $100 gift cert” was one of the messages — known as “tweets” — that appeared last week.
The right answer — Richard’s Fine Mens Clothier of Palo Alto — was posted on Peninsula Shops Facebook in a matter of minutes, making Kelley Hayden the winner of a $100 gift certificate.
Jason Sutherland, founder of Peninsula Shops, said the clues will be sent to followers — who can read them online or on their mobile device — each day in the month of November.
“It’s a unique, inexpensive way to expose businesses online without having to micromanage,” Sutherland said. “Social media is exploding. This is a way for local merchants to expand their presence on social base.”
There is a new prize daily, Sutherland said. And at one point during the month — Sutherland would not disclose when it will happen — a participant will win $100 cash.
Brent Harrison, co-owner of Savvy Cellars Wine in Redwood City, which is a member of Peninsula Shops, said if online marketing through social media creates more customers coming into the store, using Peninsula Shops is a wise investment.
“If what they have to say online translates to foot traffic it’s a good thing to be a part of,” he said.
As of the first week of the hunt, there were more than 500 potential Peninsula shoppers participating in the hunt through Twitter and Facebook.
Join up at www.twitter.com/peninsulashops