Chances are if you’re a small business you’re engaged with social media. According to the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, technology adoption rates among small businesses in the U.S. have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%.

Nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes — Facebook and LinkedIn being among the most popular. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents believe that their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less. Yet, only just 16% are using Twitter as a customer service channel.

Research also indicates that small business owners are turning to social media to help them generate new customer leads, a primary motivating factor for engaging in these new customer service channels.

As more small businesses become more familiar and confident with social media, time will tell if they start to adopt new behaviors. Social media not only has a broad reach, it has the potential to create discussions and tell stories around a brand that can bring it into the forefront of the consumer mind.

However, how companies go about engaging in those discussions will prove interesting. Those willing to shed their skin and embrace the medium’s transparency will be in a better position to open up and tell their story.

Are you a small business engaged with social media? Tell us how you’re creating discussions about your brand online.

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