Companies should be wary of jumping on the latest technoloy bandwagons simply for the sake of it and should instead have a strategy to ensure they work for them.

Speaking at e-tid breakfast briefing last week, Facebook UK sales group head David Parfect said that while the social networking site provides opportunities for businesses to interact with their customers, they must have a plan.

He added: “We’ve seen companies fail in the past as they have set up a Facebook page but then not had a strategy to follow up.”

A similar criticism was levelled at businesses creating apps for smartphones.

Orange mobile business development manager Clare Messenger said although companies were desperate to market their product with apps, a big majority were more focused on releasing an app quickly than ensuring it would be useful to the consumer.

“Only about 5% of apps are still in use 10 days after their launch,” she added.

However, as smartphones now had a 14% penetration of the UK market, with sales up by 144% last year when five million handsets were sold, Messenger said firms would have to consider including them in their advertising plans.

She said 81% of smartphone users utilised mobile media once a week.

Network providers are now looking at giving consumers free texts and calls in return for receiving adverts either on their texts or emails or for listening to 20-second jingles before they hear their messages.

Messenger said this would not only drive the apps market, but also give travel firms other marketing opportunities, with coupons, offers and promotions all proving to be effective ways for the trade to engage with smartphones.

She added: “Last year was the year of social networking and this year is the year of the app, so everyone is jumping in on it when it first comes along.”

● The e-tid briefing was sponsored by Travelport and PricewaterhouseCoopers.