Wildfire Builds Promotions Business on Facebook

Wildfire was co-founded in 2008 in Palo Alto, Calif. by Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard. The two zeroed-in on helping brands institute sweepstakes, contests, giveaways and other promotions after coming short when they wanted to administer a Facebook giveaway themselves. Wildfire is now a two-time fbFund winner and in April raised $4.1 million from Summit Partners and a several angel investors.

The company provides Page management software to brands for use on their Facebook Pages, although it also does work on other platforms, including MySpace and Twitter. Using Wildfire’s products, brands can easily manage all their Facebook content, while coordinating that content with other promotions on other platforms. We spoke to Wildfire’s Victoria Ransom as part of our ongoing series of Page management company profiles, which most recently included Likeable and Vitrue.

Inside Facebook: What products and services does your company provide to clients using Facebook? What types of clients are you aiming to reach?

Victoria Ransom: Wildfire is a platform for large brands, agencies and small- and medium- sized businesses to easily and effectively manage their social media marketing needs. We provide easy-to-use, self-service tools for the creation of engaging social media marketing campaigns such as sweepstakes, contests, coupons, group deals, quizzes and many more. Using the Wildfire platform, companies can create social media marketing campaigns within minutes and simultaneously publish them on their Facebook fan Page, on their web site, automatically integrated with Facebook Connect, and on Twitter.

Wildfire is used by companies of all sizes — including tens of thousands of small businesses (mom and pop shops, non-profits and independent marketing consultants) and hundreds of large brands and agencies including Pepsi, Disney, Nestle, GAP, Ogilvy, Publicis and many more. We’ve even run campaigns for Facebook — eight to be exact.

IFB: Can you share some highlights of how your company has helped clients meet their goals using Facebook?

VR: Wildfire provides effective and affordable tools for building fans, followers, brand awareness and sales. We’ve helped our clients to build tens of millions of new fans, followers and newsletter subscribers and to drive millions of dollars in sales.

Some example results include:

  • A giveaway campaign for Edible Arrangements’ Facebook fan Page, in cooperation with the agency Digital Surgeons, that grew the company’s fans from 5,000 to over 100,000 in just four days. By the end of the one month campaign, the company’s fans had grown to 170,000. In addition, the head of marketing at Edible Arrangements reported double digit sales growth for the quarter as a result of the new customers that were driven in-store to claim their giveaway of chocolate dipped strawberries.
  • We ran a coupon campaign on Haute Look’s Facebook fan Page (high to low value coupons and some free) that not only resulted in thousands of new fans, but also resulted in five-fold increase in ROI in terms of product sold and over 20% of purchases were made by first time buyers.
  • We ran a coupon campaign on Facebook for a major theatre chain that generated hundreds of thousands of new fans and coupon redemptions in just two weeks.

IFB: Overall, can you share metrics on the scope of your business?

VR: Since our public launch one year ago, Wildfire has served tens of thousands of companies and has powered over 50,000 campaigns. We have helped companies to obtain tens of millions of fans and followers and we have gone through tremendous growth on all fronts within the last year.

IFB: What metrics do you use to determine the success of a given campaign?

VR: The exact success metrics that our clients focus on do vary depending on the goals of the client and the type of campaign they are running. For example, when running a coupon campaign our clients are generally focused on number of coupons redeemed and sales generated; when running a sweepstakes they are focused more on number of fans, followers and/or leads generated. The kind of metrics that our clients typically look at are: Number engagements, number entries, number fans and/or followers, number leads generated, coupon redemptions, revenues generated and word-of-mouth spread.

IFB: What have been your biggest challenges building on Facebook platform? What mistakes have you made and learned from there?

VR: Facebook is an ever-evolving platform, not only in terms of major changes such as the new graph API, but also in terms of regular weekly releases that periodically effect all third party developers. Given these challenges, we need to be highly flexible, adaptable and quick to implement changes. It also creates opportunities because among the many benefits we provide for our clients is our ability to stay on top of Facebook’s changes — something that would be challenging for most of our clients if they were to build their own Facebook applications.

IFB: Beyond your own efforts, what Facebook changes have noticeably helped your company?

VR: Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most innovative companies in the world and recently they have been launching new, game-changing products and feature enhancements at a rapid pace — everything from social plugins and the new graph API to Facebook Questions and the much anticipated (but not yet official) Facebook location product. We find all of these changes to be exciting but some that have benefited us the most are the improvements to Facebook Insights, the all-in-one permissions dialogue and the new graph API.

IFB: On the other hand, has Facebook made any recent changes that have noticeably hurt your company?

VR: No, we have been able to react and adapt fast enough to Facebook’s changes such that there have not been any changes that have noticeably hurt us.

IFB: If you could ask Facebook to make a single change, what would it be?

VR: Last November Facebook came out with a detailed roadmap that was hugely helpful to third party developers. We’d love it if Facebook would update this more regularly.

IFB: How does your work on Facebook relate to your work on other platforms?

VR: Using our application, companies can easily run campaigns on their Facebook fan Page, Twitter and their web site. While Facebook is a highly important marketing channel for our clients, other channels such as their web site and Twitter are also very important. While some of our clients choose to run campaigns like contests, giveaways and coupons on their Facebook fan Page alone, many choose to create a more integrated experience by running campaigns on the multiple channels that we offer. In this way they can use one campaign to simultaneously build their Facebook fans, their Twitter followers and turn their web site visitors into leads. Our web site option automatically integrates with Facebook Connect, so companies can run campaigns on their web site while still building their fan base and benefiting from Facebook’s social channels such as newsfeeds and friend invites.

IFB: Do you have any specific plans that you can share?

VR: Wildfire recently launched Group Deals, the first social buying application for Facebook Fan Pages and Facebook Connect. With a Group Deal any business, whether it’s a large brand, an agency or a small- or medium- sized business, can easily and cost-effectively sell their product or service by running a Groupon-like deal on their Facebook fan Page or on their website. We also have a number of new and powerful products in development.