Wildfire Helps SMBs With Social Media Marketing - InformationWeek
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Wildfire Helps SMBs With Social Media Marketing

Here's a Web app that you don't need a lot of money or technical know-how to use.

It seems that Wildfire is living up to its name. The company, whose Web application allows businesses to create social media marketing campaigns quickly and easily, is catching on like . . . well, you know . . . wildfire. Within just a short time of launching, Wildfire grew its customer base from hundreds to thousands and its employee head count from 10 to 100-plus.

What's Wildfire got that everybody wants? A tool that allows businesses to create a campaign "in a matter of minutes," said Victoria Ransom, CEO, in an interview. "And with one click of the mouse, you can publish that campaign to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites."

Ransom said she discovered several years back that there was a growing need for such a product. "The co-founder of Wildfire and I had an adventure travel company, and we wanted to grow our fan base," she said. "We created a microsite and a sweepstakes campaign. It was tough, and we were fairly tech-savvy people." The executive saw how useful it would be to develop an application that allows businesses to create campaigns without needing technical expertise or deep pockets.

Wildfire incorporated in June 2008 and applied for a grant from the Facebook Fund, an initiative run by the social networking company and a couple of venture capital firms. The idea behind it is to encourage the growth of Facebook's ecosystem. Wildfire was awarded $250,000 by Mark Zuckerberg's thriving operation. Ransom and her cohorts used the money to build up their fledgling business.

Using Wildfire is easy, Ransom said. You go to the website, www.wildfireapp.com, and create an account. You decide on the type of campaign you want to run--photo contest, sweepstakes, whatever--set starting and ending dates, create an entry form, define age and eligibility criteria, and create the campaign. And Wildfire offers support if you need it, whether via live online chat, e-mail, or the phone. Ransom says most users go it alone, but there's plenty of assistance available for those seeking it out. Wildfire even offers marketing advice.

Companies of all sizes use Wildfire, she said, but more than half of its customers are SMBs.

Want to read about some of the campaign tips that Wildfire has to offer? Stay tuned for my next story.

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