According to a new study, 7 out of 10 potential customers are more likely to buy from a local business when it makes information accessible through a social media site. This yearly study, which is called “Local Search Usage Study: Bridging The Gaps, From Search to Sales,” is a combined effort of TMP Directional Marketing and comScore. The study surveys 4,000 consumers online and contains data obtained by observing one million of those who allowed their online searches to be monitored anonymously.
A business needs to have a Facebook page, but it also needs to reply to questions and respond to complaints delivered through it, according to 81 percent of social media users. 78 percent said that reviews and ratings are an important factor in their decisions on what to buy. Continuous Social Media Monitoring is therefore very important to your business. In addition, about 78 percent of users want businesses to offer special promotions and event information via social media. 74 percent wish for regular posts concerning products, and 72 percent desire posts about the company. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed would like to see photos of the office or company picnic. If this is too overwhelming, the survey suggests that you begin simply with ensuring that correct information about your company is listed in every place online that you can find it, such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter. Social network users are 67 percent more apt to purchase an item than general searchers. However, 1 in 6 searchers is flustered by the absence of reliable information regarding small businesses online. Either it is totally absent, incorrect, or disorderly and confusing. A third of searchers surrender their efforts when they cannot easily find business information. When consumers search for local business information, 70 percent of them go online first. This number is up 7 percentage points since last year. A third of those surveyed use traditional search engines, and this number is up 2 percent since last year. 23 percent look in the yellow pages, but this number is down 5 percent from last year. 22 percent look at the Internet yellow pages. Sites like Yelp are included in this category. 13 percent look on local sites. 9 percent search social networks. Both of these are up 1 percent since last year. Remember, however, that most people use multiple sources. These percentages just represent where they look first. Note that in the past, people more often used the Yellow Pages, but today, they use online searches to find new companies or products, plus the greatest deals on products. The leading search engine on local sites was Google Places with 41 percent. Bing Maps came in second with 11 percent, which is up 4 percent from last year. Yahoo! Local got 10 percent. In fourth place, SuperPages, YP.com, and Yellowbook.com tied with 9 percent each. 6 percent of those surveyed used Mapquest, while Yelp and Dexknows each took 1 percent. Online Reputation Management is essential to preserving your business’s image.