A study by engagement marketing firm Constant Contact revealed that the use of social media marketing is growing among small businesses.

Constant Contact surveyed 1,972 small business owners and employees in October and discovered that Twitter, which pulled in 60 percent of the vote,  is only second to Facebook, which was preferred – as a marketing tool – by 86 percent of those surveyed. Both video sharing and LinkedIn also made the list at 71 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

The most noteworthy results were not about platform popularity, but rather about what types of conversations are being had. While 59 percent of small businesses admitted to responding to positive comments, it’s pleasantly surprising to learn that 60 percent also respond to negative comments.

Although still a bit on the low side, it’s great to see that businesses aren’t focusing on only the good; there is a lot of value within negative feedback. With only 5 percent of Facebook Wall posts receiving replies, it was easy to assume that any negativity was being ignored.

Additional findings revealed that 83 percent of small businesses use social media marketing because it’s free or relatively low-cost, 67 percent find it easy to use, and 65 percent believes that it complements other marketing. A whopping 98 percent rely on their website to reach customers. Moving beyond the homepage, 95 percent invest in email marketing, followed by online advertising with 66 percent of the vote.

Overall, the use the social media by small businesses has gone up from earlier this year with 81 percent actively integrating it into marketing strategies.

What this study tells us is that there is still a lot of room for creativity. It seems like many small businesses are still playing it safe while integrating social media and traditional marketing tactics. The important part isn’t about the platforms that you’re on, but rather how you’re using them. How are you ensuring that your business stands out among the other 81 percent?

[Via: All Twitter, Image credit: Suvodeb Banerjee]