Holiday shopping campaigns are in full swing, and marketers must now prepare themselves for 2011 marketing strategies. According to a recent survey from Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, small businesses are increasingly devoting funds to social media marketing, and brands looking to stay competitive should take note.

The Small to Midsized Business Marketing Practices Survey 2010 focused primarily on microbusinesses, with 75 percent of respondents reporting annual budgets of less than $9,000. Eighty-six percent of these businesses said they were invested in word-of-mouth marketing, and this took the form of social media referrals for more than one-third of respondents.

Facebook was the most popular social platform for marketing efforts among businesses targeting a wide demographical range – from under 30 audiences to consumers older than 60. While Twitter was the second-leading platform for reaching consumers under the age of 39, marketers catering to the 40+ crowd focused more on Yelp campaigns than the microblogging site.

According to the survey, social media marketing is one of the few areas of spending that will see budgets increase this year. Thirteen percent of respondents will be increasing their social spend. At the same time, the channel will see the least amount of budget cuts next year, with only 2 percent of marketers saying they will spend less on social marketing.

Brands trying to decide how to best engage consumers on social channels might consider that news content drive the most traffic to Facebook and Twitter, and a CNN POWNAR study shows that most online news-sharing happens via social media.