Social marketing strategies among small and medium-sized businesses are evolving, with more companies finding new ways to measure success and improve their businesses.

A report from the SMB Group found that small and medium-sized businesses have become more aggressive in adopting social media marketing. The broad majority of companies have adopted social and developed comprehensive strategies to succeed.

According to the report, 44 percent of small businesses currently use social media, and 25 percent plan to integrate it within the next year. Among those with an existing presence, 24 percent said they have developed a strategy to best position themselves to achieve their goals. In terms of medium-sized companies, 19 percent said they use social without strategic planning, while 33 percent relying on defined campaigns.

The goals many of these organizations named for their social marketing strategies suggest an evolving understanding of the channel and its contribution to business.

The goals many of these organizations named for their social marketing strategies suggest an evolving understanding of the channel and its contribution to business.

Earlier this year, Brafton cited data from PulsePoint that found companies had high expectations for their social presence, but 56 percent were either not measuring their success or used their own intuition to do so. The SMB Group asked their respondents which metrics they use to gauge their campaigns, and found almost all have at least one statistic they rely on.

While the responses varied heavily, the presence of such metrics shows SMBs have made the campaigns more critical to their overall web marketing strategy. Nineteen percent of companies use the number of referrals they receive as a critical metric, while 16 percent monitor click activity on social content.

Thirteen percent said their top metric is increased inbound links, which likely indicates that these companies also have SEO strategies in place. Additionally, 11 percent focus on follower and fan growth across different social networks. Other popular responses included the direct sales driven from social marketing and the contribution of feedback to improvements throughout the company.

The idea of applying social marketing engagement and feedback to other parts of a business can help organizations improve their products and services, as well as the effectiveness of other marketing campaigns. Earlier this year, Brafton highlighted a report from PR Newswire that found companies in search of new ideas and topics for their content marketing strategies should use questions and other issues raised on social platforms to direct content initiatives.

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.