Today’s consumer is not the passive consumer of 10 or 20 years ago. Consumers want to be involved in the products they purchase. They have many more outlets for learning about what they purchase, and they let their feelings about products be known to their “circle of friends” that could number in the thousands thanks to today’s social media networks.

In addition to our aggressive retail promotions, we “talk” to consumers in many different ways, including using social technology. Of course, we have the Web site that receives 16,000 visitors per month on average. The recipe section of our site is the most accessed area, and we have added a tool that allows consumers to rate our recipes as well, giving consumers a voice. We also have a tool on each and every page of our site that allows users to republish the content they like on their own Facebook, Twitter, MySpace pages and more. And, like the Good Fruit Grower, we also have several different bloggers on our site. (However, I am only a regular here on this site, not our own!)

The USA Pears Facebook page was established by the Pear Bureau and has 2,150 fans. This is where people can discuss pears and view pear news, photos, recipes, and videos. These videos include some of our international activities and commercials as well as interesting videos pertaining to pears that were not generated by the Bureau.

Also, with 2,473 followers, is our Twitter page. While many people are still trying to figure out Twitter, savvy marketers are using it to send information and deals to their followers. We have used it to successfully promote some of our consumer contests and help generate general buzz about pears.

While it is true that Generation X and the Millennials are the most tuned in to social media, Nielson recently reported that boomer usage on Twitter increased by 469% in 2009. What’s more, Forrester’s recent research shows that 82% of all Americans online are engaged in social media.

With newspaper and magazine readership shrinking, it is important to reach out to consumers in ways that are convenient to them—targeting messages to different audiences in different ways.
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All pears, all the time.