The lure of social media is that businesses want to be where consumers are. Facebook alone has more than 500 million active users — half of them in the U.S. Facebook.com generates nearly one in four page views in the U.S. — nearly four times the rate of the second-ranked website, YouTube, according to Web metrics firm Hitwise.
Facebook.com also represented 10 percent of U.S. Internet visits in mid-November, compared with 7 percent for search engine Google.
More than 1.5 million local businesses participate in social networks, according to a report by local advertising data company Borrell Associates titled "The Social Network Explosion." Last year, businesses spent more than $4 billion on social network marketing spending; local businesses accounted for half of that spending.