Fast-growing small businesses are adopting social media at a quicker pace than larger corporations, a new study finds.

A recent analysis by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research compared the use of blogging, podcasting, online videos, social networking and wikis by top corporations with those listed on last year's Inc. 500, an annual ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.

Of the 209 Inc. 500 companies that participated in the study, 44 percent described social media as a critical part of their business strategy, up from 25 in a similar analysis conducted last year. For the second year in a row, social networking sites were cited as the most widely used tool.

About 40 percent of Inc. 500 companies had blogs, compared to just 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies, researchers found. Overall, blogging among Inc. 500 companies increased by 20 percent from last year.

In the latest study, only half as many Inc. 500 companies said they didn't use social media at all.