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ConstantContact-Small-Biz-Effective-Social-Platforms-Mar2013Small business owners are increasingly finding social media platforms other than Facebook to be effective marketing vehicles for their organizations, per results from a new Constant Contact survey. Among the 8 in 10 respondents surveyed in December 2012 using social media for marketing (a notably higher proportion than other surveys such as this one have found), 29% found LinkedIn to be effective, up from 10% in the May 2012 survey, while one-quarter saw Twitter as effective, up from 7% in the earlier survey.

Not to be outdone, YouTube (15% vs. 3%), Pinterest (9% vs. 1%), Yelp (6% vs. 2%) and Google+ (5% vs. 1%) are also gaining more interest from small business owners as effective socia media marketing platforms. Still, none of those hold a candle to Facebook, which 82% find effective, up from 75% in the May 2012 survey.

The results appear to be in direct contrast to earlier survey findings from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Vistage International, in which LinkedIn emerged as not only the most commonly used social media tool by small businesses, but also the most positively perceived.

Both studies found evidence that small businesses could be doing more with their social media marketing. The WSJ survey turned up fairly low rates of regular usage of social media, and the Constant Contact study finds that just one-quarter of respondents post to Facebook daily, with that figure falling to 13% on Twitter and less than 5% for the other platforms identified. The numbers aren’t much better when expanding to weekly postings: 32% report posting with that regularity on Facebook, 18% on Twitter, and no more than 10% on any other platform. So while many small business owners are using these platforms, they’re not terribly active on them.

A little help might spur them on, though. Asked which marketing activities they need help with, a majority cited social media marketing, the most of any activity identified. Next up, email marketing, following by websites, online advertising, and online listings.

About the Data: This Constant Contact-sponsored survey was administered in December 2012 to 1,100 participants in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council, a research panel of US small businesses and nonprofits recruited from the Constant Contact customer base. This is the third installment of an ongoing study about the state of small businesses and the ways they connect with and grow their audiences. Results include responses from respondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.

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