Facebook is changing the game.

I saw this post on ZDNet by Emil Protalinski and thought it was too good not to share:

78 percent of small business owners said they plan to spend more of their marketing budget on social media this year than they did in 2010. Facebook is overwhelmingly the entrepreneur’s favorite tool, with 68 percent indicating that it is the social media tool they use most for business.

The data comes from The Small Business Social Media Survey conducted this month by Webs (formerly Freewebs), the world’s largest do-it-yourself website-building solution. Webs serves over 40 million users, and the findings are based on the opinions of 1,132 small business owners. Here a few other findings from the survey:

  • 69 percent of small business owners said they currently use social media (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs) at their companies. Of those that don’t currently use social media, 41 percent indicated they would in the next three months.
  • 59 percent said that social media has either “not met” or only “slightly met” their expectations, and yet 77.5 percent of respondents plan to spend more on social media in 2011. This suggests that entrepreneurs see the value of social media and but are still trying to master it.
  • 43 percent of small business owners surveyed indicated they have allocated only 0-10 percent of their marketing budgets to social media. Plus, 36.5 percent of the small business owners said they update their social media content only once a week or less.
  • While younger small business owners are using social media in high numbers (72.7 percent for 21-24 year old respondents; 72.9 percent for 25-34 year old respondents), respondents in older categories are also significant users (35-44 year olds: 68.9 percent; 45-54 year olds: 58.4 percent).

“Social media allows small businesses to connect to customers in an immediate, more personal way than traditional marketing,” Webs CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada said in a statement. “By using the right social media tools small business owners can have a professional online presence that attracts and retains customers. The Webs Family of Products can help them develop this social presence along with a professional website and a captivating Facebook business page.”

In related news, Facebook has begun testing a new feature that will allow users to recommend Pages to their friends as they browse Facebook, according to Social Yeah. The Recommend This Place feature, which is only available to a handful of users, invites users to recommend a page to their friends by entering a comment in a small text box and clicking a Recommend button.

Facebook describes the feature with the following message: “Help your friends discover great places to visit by recommending this.” This feature is currently only available to Page administrators so they can recommend their own content to friends, but businesses will be happy to know that Facebook is considering letting all its users recommend any Page to their friends.

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