Author: Samantha Murphy
People who look for information about local restaurants and businesses are turning to the Internet but not social media sites, according to a new study.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the Internet far outpaces other sources for local business information, followed by newspapers and word of mouth. Yet people rely very little on sites such as Facebook and Twitter for this type of information.
More than half (51%) of adults who look for news and information about local restaurants, bars and clubs use the Internet to do so. About 38% of this demographic performs search engine queries for local restaurant information, while 17% visit specialty sites. Only 3% said they turn to social networking sites.
Even more surprising is that only one percent of those who look for information about local businesses beyond restaurants – such as retail stores – turn to social networking sites. The news comes as more local restaurants and businesses focus marketing initiatives around social media sites.
Small businesses aren’t convinced about the impact of social media either. A study revealed last month that only 12% of local businesses considered using social media a “must” for their business, while 50% said they couldn’t do without word-of-mouth marketing.
Meanwhile, the more recent Pew report found that newspapers remain popular for finding out information about local businesses. Among the 31% of culture seekers who prefer this method, about 26% read printed copies while 5% visit their favorite newspaper sites. Word of mouth is also a popular way to find out information about local spots, with 23% of respondents who look for business information reporting that as their favored approach.
People who seek out information and news about local businesses and restaurants are more likely to have college educations and earn a salary of $75,000, according to Pew. This group is also more likely to be young female adults living in urban environments.
The study was conducted over the phone among 2,251 adults age 18 and older, with a margin of error of 2.4%.
Are you surprised that more people aren’t turning to social media sites for local business information? What can local businesses do to make its social networking profiles more of a destination for information?
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