Facebook has grown as a source of local news as well as increasing trust from its users, according to a YouGov report released this morning.
The study – which asked more than 2,000 people across the UK about levels of trust in social media channels – found that 27% of people within communities named Facebook as their top source for local news. That’s a five point percentage rise on 2013.
Havas PR UK, which was commissioned to produce the report, said trust in Facebook is up from 19% to 21%, with trust in Twitter up one percentage point to 15%.
Facebook does have reasons to be cautious, however, with one in ten people (9%) claiming they expect to have left it in two years’ time.
But there was some cheer for the mainstream media industry too, with findings showing that the local newspapers are trusted by 64%, with local TV and radio at 58% and 58% respectively. National newspapers scored just 27% in comparison, with national TV at 43%.
Havas claims that Facebook is showing signs of eroding into the audience of local media, as national media struggles to retain trust at a community level.
Havas PR board director, Nigel Hughes said: “There’s no doubting the importance of local print media, but social media is making its way into a position of more influence locally. The fact ten percent of people expect to leave Twitter or Facebook in two years’ time, however, indicates that brands will need to be ready to adapt as competition for consumer time intensifies. The data shows that producing content which can be tailored for local audiences has a better chance of building trust in a brand.”
Respondents of the survey also fired a warning for brands over which areas of local communities they did not welcome their involvement in. Education and health were deemed areas not to get involved with, both scoring 51%. Local sponsorship by brands is welcomed, by 73% of people.
According to the YouGov Sixth Sense results, supermarkets head the list when it comes to types of business favoured for community involvement. Banks come in second place, with this figure (50%) up on 2013 suggesting that the sector may be beginning to distance itself from the reputational damage of the last few years.
* Where do you find most of your local news? Has that changed in recent years? Let us know via the comments below.