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Study: Consumers Don’t Use Social Media for Local Business Info

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More and more businesses are turning to social media to attract and retain customers, but the information may not reach as many people as expected. Although a majority of adults get information on local businesses from the Internet, only 1 percent of those consumers rely on social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, according to a new study from The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Search engines, such as Google, outranked social media, with newspapers and word-of-mouth serving as other important avenues. More specifically, the report data showed that:

-- Of the 60 percent of adults who reported seeking information on non-restaurant and non-bar local businesses, 47 percent of them said they rely most on the Internet. Of this group, 36 percent rely on search engines the most; 16 percent on specialty websites; and only 1 percent on social networking websites; -- 30 percent rely most on newspapers, with 29 percent relying most on the printed versions and 2 percent on newspapers' websites;

-- 22 percent rely most on word-of-mouth from people they know;

-- 8 percent rely on local television broadcasts or stations' websites;

--and 5 percent rely on local radio.

Demographics from the report showed that those who seek out local business information are a diverse, yet slightly upscale group, more likely to live in well-off households and have college degrees. They are also more likely to be women, young adults, urban and technology adopters, according to Pew.

The survey was conducted via phone earlier this year. For the full report, visit The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project website.

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