Editor’s note: Peter Wylie is a researcher at , a social media marketing company in Raleigh, N.C. He was previously an editor for an online business journalism company in Washington, D.C. He graduated with degrees in Journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar.

Wylie will be one of the panelists for Local Tech Wire’s Executive Exchange event about social networking and your business on March 9. ()

By PETER WYLIE, special to Local Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – Small businesses doubled their use of social media in 2009, according to a by the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. Only 12 percent of small businesses had adopted social media as a marketing or customer service tool in 2008. In 2009, 24 percent of small businesses reported using social networks.

The majority of small businesses that have begun interacting on social networks have established a company page on Facebook and LinkedIn and are posting content to these platforms. Twitter and blogs are being used less frequently, as only 39 percent of small businesses using social media have started a blog and 26 percent interact on Twitter regarding their industry.

What’s most encouraging about the study’s results is the impact businesses are seeing from their social interactions. 50 percent of the businesses surveyed said their social media programs are at least breaking even and an additional 22 percent have made or will make a profit this year through social media.

Small businesses like Naked Pizza, based in New Orleans, are seeing real value created from social media interaction. The company has 7,300 followers on Twitter and it of its roughly $1 million in sales come directly from messages on the social network.

Overall, 61 percent of the businesses in the study using social media reported they have already identified and attracted new customers using social media.

How can your small business begin to leverage social media to grow revenue?

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