Nov 292010

Wildfire is an online app which allows users to create interactive branded campaigns.  They focus on contests, such as Sweepstakes, photo/video/essay contests, virtual gifts, group coupons, giveaways, incentive based surveys etc.  Wildfire also helps publish these campaigns to Twitter, Facebook, and to your own website.  According to Jupiter Research: companies that run contests have twice as many fans on their social network pages as those that don’t.  As explored in a previous blog, a Facebook Fan is worth on average $136.38 so the idea of integrating contests into your social marketing plan is important to consider.  Wildfire’s approach encourages virality (I read this word on several sites but I don’t actually believe it’s a real word) – i.e. encouraging users to spread the contest throughout their social network.  Wildfire is affordable for small businesses but can also scale to accommodate a larger company (Pepsi, Sony, CNN, Universal AT&T and even Facebook itself have used the Wildfire app to create campaigns).  Their pricing plans are designed to fit any budget and a simple campaign is very easy to set up.

When considering whether the cost of running a campaign such as this is worthwhile, it might help to consider that more than 80% of all internet users have entered at least one sweepstakes or contest within the past year and 50% enter them at least once a month (Jupiter Research). This high level of interest should have companies considering adding contests into their social marketing budgets.  The flexible pricing is an attractive part of Wildfire.  They offer per campaign pricing, or subscription based pricing for businesses that wish to use their services on an ongoing basis.  A basic campaign with Wildfire starts at $5.00 plus $.99 per day.  For this price you can set up a simple campaign and publish it to your Facebook, Twitter, and Website.  A perfect example for who might want to use this sort of campaign is a small app developer.  You offer a free copy of your app to the winner.  The upfront investment is quite low and potential benefits are high.  It is fair to note, without opting for the higher service level packages, you don’t get all the benefits Wildfire can offer.  For example, you don’t get full analytics on your campaign until you are at the $250.00 level.  This still should not deter a small business from trying a cheaper campaign – as I (and you) well know, results are the most important analytic in the end.  Using ongoing contests is a great way to build your fan base and email list for future campaigns.  Having that customer data can be further scrutinized using analytics once your business has grown to a level where that makes sense.

Wildfire’s different campaign strategies offer you different solutions depending on your business’s goal.  A Sweepstakes is where you gather a lot of entrants and one person randomly wins.  This is a great way to build a fan base and bulk up your email list.  This can also be an effective way to drive traffic to your website or Facebook page and build brand awareness.  It is also a good way to survey your (potential) customers.  Having entrants complete a survey to enter a contest is a good way to find out information about your customers which can be used in future marketing campaigns.

Contests are another option which have a slightly different focus.  A contest is where people submit entries and a winner is chosen based off a jury or audience voting according to the skill of the submission (like a photo contest).  This is a great way to get your ardent supporters to participate in helping build your brand image.  It also builds a sense of community around your brand.  Potential new customers may only be interested in the contest, but you can leave them with education about and strong impression of your brand.

E-coupons are a great way to promote newly launched products or sell off existing overstock inventory.  Wildfire allows for integration of group deals where you can offer larger discounts if more people participate.   Wildfire also can make coupons into a game where you don’t know the value of the coupon (for example between 10-90% off) until you register.  This is a great way to encourage first time buyers and also re-engage former, but now inactive buyers.  Coupons can be a great way to drive traffic to your website.  Even without advanced analytics, it is easy to see what response an e-Coupon campaign generates because you can see your site traffic numbers and see how many customers make a purchase using the coupon.

Regardless of which style of campaign you opt for, Wildfire focuses on how to raise awareness of your campaign in a more viral way.  When you sign up for a contest, this posts to your Newsfeed where others in your network can be exposed.  You can easily share e-Coupons and contest information and invite your friends to join.  Contests can be set up to encourage users to visit the contest page daily so your campaign is constantly showing up in the feed.  This is great for brand awareness, as even if people don’t click, they still see your company name show up in their feed.  If friends of friends choose to enter the contest, it will spread viraly.  Wildfire can help encourage entrants to share with their friends by offering incentives.  For example if you post the contest information to Twitter and one of your followers signs up, you get an extra entry into the contest.  Giving people incentive to promote your campaign for you is key to viral marketing.

Wildfire offers an easy solution to setting up and launching contests in many forms.  It is great for both small businesses an large businesses alike to take advantage of the viral marketing aspect offered by social networking.  Campaigns are customizable and easy to set up.  Whether to promote your brand, gain information on customers, or simply move product, contests are a great solution for getting information about your business spread through a social network.  Wildfire offers an easy and affordable way to get started to see if this marketing avenue has anything to offer your business.

Nov 242010 proclaims itself to be the “most powerful social syndication tool anywhere” and they certainly seem to be well on their way to that statement being true. offers a Social Media marketing tool to help automate the distribution of your blog (and other content) to all your social networking platforms. basically redistributes an RSS/Atom feed wherever you want automatically.  Given the large number of networks, automating this process means all you have to do is create the content, and you can effortlessly update your tweets, facebook status, etc. Other platforms supported are Google Buzz, Tumblr, Linkedin,, Myspace, and more.  With one program you can simultaneously keep everything up to date.

That’s the basic idea, but offers much more.  For example, the content you share does not have to be self-generated.  You can select another site to share from.  With my eCommerce background in mind, I will discuss how a service like this could have benefited my company.  We were selling home improvement products online.  For example, we sold faucets, showers, door hardware, ceiling fans, light fixtures, sinks, and many other related products.  We were not a blog site, and had no spare time to actually write our own content, however now I realize that other people out there were actually doing it for us.  I could have used to automate our social networking and deliver this relevant content to our customers, while at the same time promoting our company.

First, I would have to choose related news/blog sites related to the home decor and design.  Perhaps sites discussing current trends and what was most fashionable in terms of style.  I could also find some sites related to installation do-it-yourself.  Furthermore, I could see if any of the manufacturer’s for what we were selling were releasing content on new products or other industry related issues.  The idea would be to compile a list of related content generators and then let go to work. allows you to share link posts from any RSS feed you want.  Once you have your list of content, you now can take full advantage of some of the other features offers. allows you to control content flow.  This means if one of the sites I am sharing posts a million articles per day, I don’t end up spamming my followers.  I could set the content to trickle out, perhaps 1 article per day from each site. can also be used to schedule what time and day you want the content to go out.  If you know a particular time you will most likely catch your target audience online, you can time your stream to be generated at that point.  This raises your chance of actually being noticed.

You can also use to filter the RSS feeds you choose to share.  You can set keywords, authors, or tags for the articles you want to distribute for you.  Often however, some of the content generated may not be applicable.  In my case, a design website might be talking about trends in carpeting.  We didn’t sell carpeting, so filtering out articles that are unrelated is important.  You can also set negative keywords for things you want filtered out.  For example, if the article mentions your competitor, will not distribute it (this is all based on customizable settings). has some special uses when it comes to its interaction with Facebook and Twitter.  With Facebook, you can customize the look and feel of your posts.  You can also post as either status updates, or as shared links.  With shared links, you are able to set your own thumbnail image.  With Twitter, you can automatically add contextually relevant, search-friendly hashtags to every tweet.  Some experts say hashtags are a great way to get your stream noticed.

Last, but significant, can be integrated to work with Omniture and Google analytics.  You can add tracking tags to your original link, which are optimized to work with these services.  Using your web analytics services can help you track your Social Media ROI. is a quite robust tool which can help you streamline your social marketing.  It offers a diverse range of options and tools to help make this process easier, and more effective.  Managing content and easily updating all your Social Networking feeds can be time consuming and tedious.  Understanding and utilizing the available tools is a key for Social Media marketing success.