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Study: Social marketing use high among small businesses

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Mountain View, Calif.—With minuscule marketing budgets, small businesses are flocking to low-cost social media as a key channel for marketing outreach, according to a new study by local business networking site MerchantCircle.

According to the company's "Merchant Confidence Index" for the fourth quarter of 2010, which polled 8,456 small-business owners in January and February, 70% use Facebook for marketing, up from 50% in the same period a year ago. Twitter was used by 40% of local businesses, up from 32% the year before.

In addition, social marketing is perceived as being highly effective by 37% of respondents, second only to search engine marketing (42%) and ahead of e-mail (36%), according to the MerchantCircle report.

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