More small businesses use Twitter, Facebook to promote –

By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY

A surge in social-media use by small businesses reflects a shift in how they operate and their comfort with increasingly easy-to-use technology.

In growing numbers, small-business owners are adopting social-networking services, location-based services, Twitter and online video to promote products and services, according to a new study by MerchantCircle, a social network for small businesses. It polled a fraction of its more than 1.3 million members.

The survey results are the strongest evidence yet that small businesses — which account for more than 90% of all U.S. companies and fuel the economy — are accelerating their use of social media at the expense of traditional media such as newspapers, the Yellow Pages and radio. Even e-mail messages have taken a beating.

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