A report from Constant Contact found that 83 percent of small businesses using social media marketing believe it to be cost efficient.

Eighty-three percent of small businesses believe social media marketing to be a cost-efficient method of reaching and engaging target audiences, according to the Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey conducted by Constant Contact.

The poll also found that 67 percent of respondents believe social to be easy to use. Last year, 54 percent said their company found social media easy to work into their operations. The 13 percentage point increase represents growing acumen and value.

As more businesses find social to be a critical element of their marketing campaign, the time they dedicate to it will likely make this number expand further. Essentially, businesses will be sure to master the technology if they know they can find value in it.

While there are still a number of businesses not using social, those implementing the technology have found success with their web marketing initiatives.

Using social, however, is unlikely to succeed if it is not integrated properly with other web marketing campaigns. Sharing content on social platforms allows a business to increase its inbound links and improve overall SERP standing organically. Moreover, it increases the chance prospects will share media content with their followers and other contacts.

Brafton reported social media marketing that encourages engagement and sharing has been proven to boost conversions. According to the study, more than 9 percent of consumers that see social media marketing content convert, compared to slightly more than 5 percent of total web users.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.