Search Engine Land recently posted an article by Greg Sterling talking about the Local Search Usage Study released at the SMX East Conference in New York City. According to Sterling, the study documents the increasing use of the Web to find local businesses and the decreasing use of traditional media such as newspapers and the yellow pages. The data also show the importance of social media and mobile search in local search.
Based on survey results from 4,000 individuals, the Report says:
- Online search is the preferred method for finding information about local businesses
- Search engines are the most popular, but they are not growing as fast as other media
- Local searchers are more apt to buy than people who don’t use online local search
- More local business information in more online places is better because incomplete information prevents sales
- Local businesses should consider many online media channels to ensure they reach prospective buyers because the search market is fragmented
- Print still holds value for consumers and is a strong secondary channel
- Social and mobile media should be considered as part of the media mix for a local business
Sterling cites the Report in stating that search engines and Internet yellow pages have continued their usage gains at the expense of print media, but mobile and social sites are the fastest growing, although with a much smaller share of the market. Of the media categories examined, social sites have the greatest usage frequency with 29 percent of respondents saying they visit social sites every day compared to 12 percent who use search engines every day.
Some other interesting findings of the Report are:
- 81 percent of social networkers believe that it’s important for businesses to respond to questions and complaints on social sites
- 78 percent want special offers, promotions, and information about events
- 74 percent place importance on regular posts about products (and services too I’d imagine)
- 72 percent place value on regular posts about companies
- 66 percent want company photos
The lesson here for local businesses is that it’s important to engage with your customers on social networking sites and “engage” means responding to them when they post negative as well as positive comments. The other lesson is that it’s time for local businesses to find out what forms of social media are most appropriate and valuable for their business and their customers and then get involved. Linkedin might be the best bet for some businesses and Facebook for others, but it’s important to establish a presence and start communicating.
If you’d like to discuss how local search and social and mobile media might work for your business, contact Rust Reviews!