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 businessinformation, followed by newspapers and word of mouth. Yet people rely very little on sites such as Facebook and Twitterfor 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.