"Chocolate is very complex," says specialty food maker Donya Schweizer. She uses dark chocolate in her Donya Marie's Beyond Chocolate line of gourmet foods.
With little money for marketing, Schweizer struggled to spread the word about her products.
But recently, she joined business giants like Dell computers, Hewlett-Packard and General Motors using the latest thing in marketing: online social networking. One step beyond e-mail, social media apply the power of the Internet to let people share and discuss personal and professional information with many people at once.
She now uses Facebook and Twitter to kickstart word-of-mouth about her chocolate-infused meat rubs, barbecue sauces and vinaigrettes.
"I have about 1,300 Twitter followers now," Schweizer said. "Many of them have become important business contacts and good customers. It is an invaluable resource. Anything I want to know or need help with, all I have to do is send out a message on Twitter or Facebook and someone always responds. It saves me an enormous amount of time."
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