My own twitter account (http://twitter.com/tckarst) has been hovering between 990 and 996 followers for more than a week now, so it was with social media envy that I noted that the Produce for Better Health Foundation beat me to four figures. From PBH:

Wilmington, Del. - Earlier this year, Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) entered the social media marketing venue by establishing a Fruits & Veggies-More Matters® presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Now a milestone has been reached as PBH passes 1,000 Twitter followers.

Social media marketing is the utilization of various social networking sites to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to websites. When combined with traditional public relations efforts, social media marketing can help get a message to a large number of consumers faster and easier than ever before. According to the Nielsen Research Group, social networks and blogs have moved ahead of personal e-mail among the most popular online activities. Additionally, USA Today reports that the time spent on these sites is growing three times faster than the overall Internet rate. The theory behind social media marketing is that the more places a message appears, the further its reach and the more effective it is. It creates an environment where people see Fruits & Veggies-More Matters messages more often and in more places.
 
In addition to daily Twitter posts, PBH also has a presence on facebook and has posted some of the videos from the www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org Video Center on YouTube. As with Twitter, the goals of establishing a Fruits & Veggies-More Matters presence on these other sites are to drive traffic to www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org and www.foodchamps.org, and to familiarize consumers with the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters national public health initiative. Twitter, facebook and YouTube are all ranked in the top 15 most popular websites worldwide by Alexa's web traffic analysis.
 
"We are happy to be reaching so many consumers through Twitter and are working to continue to attract more and more followers," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of PBH. "Social media marketing is a great way to connect with Moms and give them the help they need to add more fruits and vegetables to their families' meals and snacks. We will continue to stress the importance of fruits and vegetables to a healthy, balanced diet through consumer interaction on Twitter, facebook and YouTube."
 
PBH has even begun publishing its own blog; the Fruit & Vegetable Blog: Stem & Stalk ... Let's Talk is open for comments and ready to keep the conversation going about working Moms trying to maintain healthy lifestyles for their families. Join the conversation with our guest blogger, PBH's own Sharese Alston, who shares her trials, tribulations, and successes surrounding healthy food choices for her family.
 
PBH encourages industry professionals to visit the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters presence on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Fruits_Veggies, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fruits-VeggiesMore-Matters/103391981984 and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/FruitsVeggiesMore. Jump into the social media pool and join the online conversation at Fruit & Vegetable Blog: Stem & Stalk ... Let's Talk.  


I must say that PBH does a solid job of updating their twitter account. Here are a few of their “tweets” from the past week:

 For something new this Thanksgiving try November's Veggie of the Month, Turnips! http://bit.ly/2fFtII Tasty Turnip Mash Recipe - YUM! 7:32 AM Nov 25th from web
 
Weigh in on our latest One Question Poll http://tinyurl.com/av6pyr During which meal do you most often eat vegetables? 7:19 AM Nov 25th from web
     
Check out these handy nutrition charts for fruits http://tinyurl.com/y9ea2mz and vegetables http://tinyurl.com/yewz8gj half cup servings. 1:33 PM Nov 24th from web
     
Need help informing WIC participants how to use their fruit and vegetable vouchers? http://tinyurl.com/kpaslf Check out our WIC Toolkit! 7:03 AM Nov 24th from web

Explore the Healthy Side of Holiday Cooking http://www.fruitsandveggies... with our Insider's Viewpoint 7:53 AM Nov 23rd from web

Check us out on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/bus... Become a Fan today! 7:51 AM Nov 23rd from web
     
Explore the Healthy Side of Holiday Cooking http://www.fruitsandveggies... with our Insider's Viewpoint 1:54 PM Nov 20th from web

     
Thank You to all our new followers and Welcome! We just hit 1,000 followers! Yippee! 9:19 AM Nov 20th from web
    
Can eating fruits and vegetables help prevent the flu? http://tinyurl.com/yddtcog Read About the Buzz: Fruits & Vegetables in the News.


Where is the “bottom line” in twitter? The Web site itself is still in search of a business model, as this story from imediaconnection explains:

So how is a social network with no discernible business model planning to pay for and sustain these future acquisitions? Well, Stone said the company's long-rumored business model will be taking shape in 2010, as the company plans to release details on how it will generate revenue through "non-traditional" advertising. Likewise, he noted that the company still has plenty of money in the bank, thanks to its hefty investor support.

Much of Twitter's future may depend on partnerships. Last month, Twitter reached separate deals with both Google and Microsoft that will let the search engines integrate Twitter updates into their results pages. It also forged a partnership with LinkedIn that lets users link their accounts on both services. Stone says he hopes to partner with more websites, and eventually roll the Twitter service out in languages other than English.

Of course, such lofty plans may prove premature if Twitter can't find a way to maintain its popularity among users. Recently, traffic to Twitter.com has started to decline month over month. New data from Nielsen shows Twitter traffic dropped 27.8 percent between September and October, bringing it down to 18.9 million unique visitors, according to eMarketer.


It is difficult to say how much Twitter will change marketing and communication over the long term, but PBH is correct in deploying resources on all social media fronts, including Facebook, the PBH Web site and the Stem & Stalk blog, Twitter and YouTube.  For me, Twitter offers a “real time” way of following the news of the world and the ag community, plus providing a "one to many" channel to alert the broader world about our f/v coverage at The Packer.  Me and my (nearly) 1,000 followers and Twitter's 18.9 million unique monthly visitors don't mind they haven't figured out a way to make money off of us just yet.