August 11, 2009, 12:00 AM

Buy.com attracts 250,000 visitors in ‘Tweet n Seek’ campaign

In a series of three online contests that involved several popular web sites including Twitter, Facebook, Fandango and YouTube as well as its own e-commerce site, Buy.com converted hundreds of contestants into buyers, Buy says.

In a series of three online contests that involved several popular web sites including Twitter, Facebook, Fandango and YouTube as well as its own e-commerce site, Buy.com attracted a quarter million visitors and converted hundreds of them to buyers, Buy.com Inc. president and CEO Neel Grover says.

Buy.com, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, ran the contests earlier this year to expose more of what’s available on Buy.com to new as well as existing customers while also showing consumers how to use the web to find valuable information on other sites as well, the retailer says.

“To be at the forefront of the retail industry right now you need to find innovative ways to reach your customers, respond to them, and thank them for their loyalty,” Grover says. “With the Tweet n Seek promotions, we have raised brand awareness and received a great response from our followers.”

Each Tweet n Seek contest presented a series of six to 20 questions and clues about how to find the answers on web locations including movie ticket seller Fandango.com, Toshiba America Inc.’s consumer electronics site Toshiba.com and Google Inc.’s video networking site YouTube.com. Buy.com posted the first question in each contest on Twitter, then contestants toggled back and forth between Buy.com, where they received follow-up questions, and the participating site to which they were directed to find the answer.

Some questions were easier than others. One easy one, for example, for which the answer was “Fandango,” was: “‘Transformers,’ ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Harry Potter’ are coming to a theater near you! What web site is your best bet to guarantee tickets and skip the long box office lines? Hint: Your answer is in the ‘Bag.’” The Bag refers to the animated character Fandango uses in its filmed promotions.

As contestants compiled answers, they posted them to Buy.com’s page on Facebook.com, then tweeted Buy.com to let it know when all questions were answered. The first contestant to answer all questions correctly would win a grand prize, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone or Nokia Corp.’s N97 smartphone/mobile computer. Buy also issued runner-up prizes.

“We’ve found it very helpful to use Facebook and Twitter to engage our audience,” Grover tells Internet Retailer in an e-mailed response to questions about the contests. “Buy.com has earned new fans and learned quite a bit from our Tweet n Seek contests. With each one we added new components and new companies. That is what’s great about social media-it allows you to tweak campaigns each time, keeping them fresh and timely, which is essential during a time of immediacy for news.”

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