Food Adventures with Connie

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Social Media on the Pulse of Produce Safety

It’s been a while since my last post primarily because I switched jobs nine months ago and feel like I’ve been running ever since. Writing a blog post has been on my to-do list for at least the last two months and today I finally have something to share.

I currently serve as the Northwest Regional Extension Associate for the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA). The PSA is a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA, and USDA to prepare fresh produce growers to meet the regulatory requirements included in the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Read more about the PSA and check out the many resources the PSA team has produced at https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/.

My primary role on the PSA team is to serve as a resource for produce growers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska and support the university researchers, Extension educators, and government agencies tasked with providing training and resources to help them understand how to comply with the Rule. This involves training and mentoring those who have gone through the process to become PSA Trainers and PSA Lead Trainers. The PSA team is participating in an Advanced Skills Workshop for PSA Trainers next week at UC Davis and as the account manager for the PSA’s social media accounts, I have been asked to speak for a few minutes on the use of social media for staying up-to-date on produce safety information. If that is a topic of interest to you, please see below for my tips or download the 2-page handout I’ll share there.



Social Media on the Pulse of Produce Safety

Spending a few strategic minutes on Twitter and Facebook each day can help PSA Trainers stay up-to-date on outbreaks, research, resources, and trainings of interest to their stakeholders.


Twitter

Twitter is a useful platform for engaging with other researchers and Extension professionals as well as monitoring for government updates and breaking produce safety news.

Twitter accounts to follow:

Twitter tips:

  • Include a photo or infographic in each tweet
    • Tweets with images earn 2.5 times more engagement than tweets without images
    • Use your own photos or find creative commons licensed images on sites like Pixabay
  • Use a dashboard application like TweetDeck to manage your account
    • Schedule your tweets in advance so the account is active even when you’re out of the office
    • Create columns for tweets that mention you or certain keywords or hashtags, create a list of PSA trainers, etc. so those tweets don’t get buried in your feed
  • Use analytics and include them when reporting your program impact
    • On your Twitter profile page click “View your top Tweets” for impressions, engagements, and engagement rate


Facebook

Facebook is a great way to engage growers and has a wide audience across all age groups, both domestic and international.

Facebook accounts to follow:

  • Produce Safety Alliance @ProduceSafetyAlliance
  • WIFSS @teamwifss
  • Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative @IndigenousFoodandAg
  • Local Food Safety Collaborative @LocalFoodSafetyCollaborative
  • NCR FSMA Training, Extension, and Technical Assistance @NCRFSMA
  • The Northeast Center to Enhance Food Safety @necafs
  • CDC @CDC
  • S. Department of Agriculture @USDA
  • S. Food and Drug Administration @FDA
  • Local fruit and vegetable growers associations
  • Local university departments of horticulture and food science, Extension
  • State departments of agriculture and health

Facebook tips:

  • Include a photo or infographic in each Facebook post
    • Posts with images earn 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images
    • Use your own photos or find creative commons licensed images on sites like Pixabay
  • Keep it short
    • Posts that are short (like tweets) receive more engagement
  • Schedule your posts in advance so the account is active even when you’re out of the office
  • Monitor your page insights and include them when reporting your program impact


Additional Social Media Tips

  1. Virginia Tech Social Media Decision Tree
    https://vt.edu/content/dam/vt_edu/brand/resources/social-media-guidelines/Decision-Tree.pdf
  2. Six Easy Steps to Stretch Social Media Mileage
    https://www.extension.org/2015/11/09/six-easy-steps-stretch-social-media-mileage/
  3. Social Media Image & Video Sizes 2018
    https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-image-sizes-cheat-sheet/
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