By Rieva Lesonsky

Does your small business have a good social life? I’m not talking about dating, parties and dinners out—I’m talking about social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. While some small business owners have been slow to embrace social media, for those that do, it can make a real difference in their marketing ROI.

Don’t believe me? The latest j2 Global Small Business Opinion Survey polled more than 1,000 small businesses nationwide and found a growing number of small business owners are relying on social media as a key part of their marketing mix. What’s more, they’re seeing results.

The j2 Global survey found that although small business owners still rely most heavily on more established marketing methods, such as email marketing and online search, social media is fast becoming “the great equalizer,” putting a small business on an equal footing with bigger competitors and enabling them to engage with customers, spread the word about their businesses and more

More than one in three small businesses surveyed by j2 Global (39 percent) say that one-quarter of their marketing strategy is now focused on social media, and 26 percent say social media accounts for half or more of their marketing strategy. In other words, nearly two-thirds of small businesses are making social media a major part of their marketing platform. Are you?

If not, it’s time to get in on the action. Where are small businesses seeing the most success with social media? Here’s what j2 found:

  • Facebook is the most valuable social media platform for 37 percent of respondents. Next in line were LinkedIn (24 percent) and Google+ (18 percent).
  • Which social media platform small businesses prefer varies by industry. For instance, restaurants use Facebook the most, consultants use LinkedIn the most, medical professionals prefer Google+ and eCommerce businesses rely on Twitter. Somewhat surprisingly, YouTube was the preferred platform for high-tech firms.
  • Pinterest, the newest social media site out there, was rated most valuable by just 1 percent of respondents. I’m willing to wager that will change soon, as Pinterest is proving to have value for retail, restaurant and home décor companies.

Have you come around to the value of social media yet? If not, your small business could be getting left behind.