By Daniel Hunter

Over one third of UK small businesses say that they now use Facebook to drum up new customers — more than local directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson and substantially more than print or online advertising.

Research by technology company BaseKit has found that 36% of small businesses in Britain use the social network to market themselves, where just a quarter say they rely on local directories (27%) as a source of new customers.

Twitter has also become popular with small businesses and their owners — over one-in-six (17%) use the site to scout for new customers and to market their services and the micro-blogging site is fast catching up with those who say they use print (21%) or online (20%) advertising for their marketing.

“Small businesses are shifting their marketing to lower-cost media like Facebook and Twitter and away from legacy media like the directories," Simon Best, co-founder of BaseKit said.

"They tell us that one-to-one marketing is their most efficient and most successful way of generating new business — the fact that Facebook has become the number one source of new business within just a few years of its creation is remarkable.”

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