Digital Tools Play Big Role in Small Business Growth

Tweet, Vine, Pin, Post. Update a blog. Like a Facebook status. Network via LinkedIn. There's myriad options for small business owners to connect with customers, peers and others via digital media.

Yet, these entrepreneurs also have to balance budgets, keep track of accounts receivable, manage payroll and sell their products and services.

With limited time and financial resources, it can be incredibly difficult to figure out the most efficient and effective ways to embrace the rapidly expanding digital world.

If a small business owner shuns social media, he or she could miss out on big marketing opportunities. But if too much time is spent seeding such sites, other important duties could fall by the wayside.

These are the challenges of many small businesses nationwide, including the four firms that are part of USA TODAY's Smart Small Business series. This six-week series addresses the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and provides advice on topics such as creating sustainable growth, using social media for marketing and finding financing that works.

The four Smart Small Business participants all have dived into the digital world already. Here's some of their outreach in that area:

--The Twitter feed for We Rub You's Korean BBQ sauces includes photos from tasting events and information on Korean cuisine. Co-founders Janet Chung and Ann Chung Mellman also use Twitter to directly engage with other foodie users.

--Bhakti Chai's Pinterest page is filled with images that reflect the Indian culture that inspired founder Brook Eddy to create the tea company. There are pictures of spices, yoga poses and Bollywood stars.

--The Web site for Jin+Ja, a beverage created by Reuben Canada, includes easy-to-access links to Jin+Ja's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles. Those sites are updated frequently and include information such as where to buy Jin+Ja and what other beverages mix well with it.

--The Facebook page for Point Reyes...

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