Facebook is undoubtedly the ubiquitous go-to social network for marketers. However, according to research, its competitors are gaining ground amongst small businesses.

The research highlighted that over 79% of smaller businesses use social media for marketing purposes. Unsurprisingly, 82% of those asked claim that Facebook is their most successful social media channel.

Regardless of the almost universal approval and usage of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have both seen increased usage from small businesses. Around a third of small businesses have judged LinkedIn to be the most effective channel for their social media marketing; this is a 19% increase from last year. Meanwhile, Twitter has also made gains, with a quarter of smaller business owners claiming that is was an effective social media channel for marketing – a 7% increase from last year.

According to one expert:

“The sharp increase in effectiveness ratings for both LinkedIn and Twitter is significant. While Facebook remains the dominant platform, small businesses are successfully expanding their engagement to reach audiences across multiple networks.”

Alongside Twitter and LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube are proving popular amongst small businesses. Around 15% of small businesses claim that YouTube is their most useful social channel, while almost one in ten believe Pinterest is their most successful social channel. However, Yelp and Google+ are proving less successful.

While a large number of small businesses are using social media, their interactions with them can prove infrequent. With less than 14% of small businesses Tweeting daily, it seems there are still gains to be made. Most experts agree that more frequent posting, Tweeting and blogging will make social channels more effective for small business owners.