Wildfire Founder Talks Social Media

    July 15, 2009

WebProNews spoke to Victoria Ransom, founder and CEO of Wildfire Interactive, about social media and the company’s social media tool Wildfire Promotion Builder used to create a variety of campaigns on social networks.

WebProNews: What gave you the idea to develop the Wildfire Promotion Builder?

Victoria Ransom
Victoria Ransom

Victoria Ransom: Actually, we started Wildfire Promotion Builder (www.wildfireapp.com) soon after Facebook first launched its fan pages for businesses because we were looking for a way to promote the fan page of one of our previous companies. We’d had a lot of success in the past using sweepstakes to build traffic on this company’s website so we felt that a sweepstakes, contest or giveaway would be a great way to drive engagement with our fan page. But when we searched for a way to run a promotion that tapped into Facebook’s viral features we found that no easy solution existed and that we’d need to build our own application.

When other companies expressed interest in using our promotions application, we realized that an opportunity existed to help organizations run interactive promotions on social networks and Wildfire Promotion Builder was born.

WPN: Do you see social media and marketing as a natural fit?

VR: Absolutely! When done correctly, marketing combined with social media can be dramatically more powerful, engaging and effective than traditional online or offline marketing.
To begin with, social media marketing has far greater potential for word of mouth spread. Take, for example, a company running a sweepstakes to build brand awareness, generate leads and drive traffic to their website. If they run their sweepstakes on their website, they may get some viral spread thanks to entrants passing on the word about the sweepstakes via email, but spread is likely to be limited.

In a social network like Facebook or Twitter, the opportunity to ‘spread the word’ is far more powerful. Entrants can easily and selectively send invites to their social network friends, they can publish newsfeeds that go out to their entire social network friends list, and they can send reminders to their friends via notifications

WPN: Do you think companies are becoming less worried about using social media to market their brands?

VR: We are seeing a rapid increase in the number of companies, both big and small, who wish to market to social network users so my sense is that companies are increasingly losing their fear about this form of marketing and are realizing that it is something that they cannot afford to ignore.

Nevertheless, there are brands that continue to be concerned about social media marketing, particularly those that are prone to negative customer feedback. For these brands, greater controls are becoming available. For example, it is possible for brands to ‘turn off’ the ability for consumers to post messages to their Facebook Fan Pages.

WPN: Is your Wildfire App better suited for small business, bloggers or larger organizations?

VR: Actually, we’ve tailored our service so that its equally well suited to smaller businesses and bloggers as it is to large brands. The businesses using our platform range from tiny t-shirt retailers, local restaurants, non-profits and bloggers to large companies like Pepsi, AT&T and Unilever. Facebook themselves have used our platform to run six different promotions.

We provide different plans to suit different customers. For small businesses we provide a simpler version of our product that offers less features and creative control, but still provides everything they need to run a successful promotion. This service starts as low as $0.99 per day and for a limited time we are even letting companies use it for free. For large companies we offer more sophisticated features, full customization of creative and messaging, full brand control and access to richer data and full service.