Time spent on social network sites has now surpassed time spent emailing in the UK, according to Facebook-¬™s UK director Blake Chandlee.
Chandlee told delegates at the Eye For Travel Travel Distribution Summit in London yesterday that the average user of social networking sites spends 302 minutes a month on sites such as Facebook, TripAdvisor and Bebo where they spent only 179 minutes emailing.
He said: "If you are only planning on using traditional media to market your product you are only going to be successful some of the time. You need to think how you can add value to the customer experience using these sites.
"Some 52% of all 25 to 34-year-olds in the UK are on Facebook now and in the last 30 days in the UK, 28m events (people making arrangements to meet up) have been created on Facebook.
"There are 10.5 million people in the UK with a profile on Facebook and 100,000 of them have a travel profile. They can be targeted and a whole new level of marketing opens up."
But Lastminute.com-¬™s CEO Ian McCaig warned that caution should be taken before companies jump into the social networking environment in an attempt to market their product.
He explained: "There must be a level of sophistication and consideration because interruptive marketing in this environment does not work and alienates the customer as well as potentially damaging your brand.
"You need to check that your marketing is not popping up in an environment where a transaction is not taking place and people are just talking to each other. Intruding on social networking with your brand in an irrelevant situation is not welcomed."
By Dinah Hatch
Wednesday, May 21, 2008