Experts speaking at the Social Networking World Forum in London this week warned that delaying the implementation of a social networks marketing strategy could be damaging to business.
Dirk Singer, co-founder of brand marketing firm Cow PR, said that the longer that marketing managers leave it to take on social media, the tougher it will be to form an effective strategy.
"I may be preaching to the converted, but you may have internal clients who may be a bit more apprehensive. There's a lot of recognition of the space, but not a lot of immediacy," he said.
Businesses that delay deployments risk being met with cyber squatters when they finally launch into the social network space, according to Singer, who pointed to a number of examples to illustrate his point.
Sainsbury's Twitter account is unlikely to be an official profile page for the retailer, since the location given is 'In ur fridge' and there has been only one update since July 2007.
South West Trains' Twitter account, meanwhile, reads 'Not actually anything to do with SWT. Just a spiteful commuter playing around'. The page documents hiccups and delays in the train provider's service.
Twitter and other social media sites are normally good at helping firms resolve such issues, but Singer maintained that companies should go into social media "by choice and then you can form your own parameters".
He also highlighted the cost savings companies can realise from marketing on social networks rather than through traditional routes. "When times are tough people stick to what they know, and firms keep asking me why now when budgets are tight," he said.
Singer added that a company with a £100,000 marketing budget can either spend it on two spots on ITV, or employ a "gold standard" social network strategy.
While debate raged at the Social Networking World Forum on whether the much publicised Skittles homepage revamp at the beginning of March was short-sighted, Singer suggested that the move was "incredibly brave". Skittles was rewarded with 4,000 mentions in the news following the launch, including in The Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.
The homepage revamp involved Skittles changing its traditional homepage to become an online portal of feeds from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
Andrew Weinrich, chief executive of mobile dating site Meetmoi, agreed that Skittles was on the mark with its revamp because the type of social networking strategy companies should employ depends on their industry.
"I love silly promotions for candy, but there is a big difference between a candy manufacturer arranging its site around social media and a bank doing so," he explained.
However, Sanjay Dholakia, chief marketing officer of Lithium Technologies, which builds and operates social networks for enterprises, described the move as reckless and warned that social networking strategies need to be thought out in detail.
Dholakia was likely to have been referring to Skittles having to change its landing page shortly after the launch from a Twitter feed to a Wikipedia entry because of negative Skittles comments being so visible to web surfers.
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