Hispanics in Social Media and the Emerging Opportunities for Brands in 2011

By Chris Corales & Elizabeth Martinez, Hispanic Research Team, NM Incite – US

It is no secret that the Hispanic community is one of the most promising consumer segments for business growth. Marketers have eyed this segment for quite some time, but we pose the question: why does this group offer so much potential?

Currently, the average Hispanic household income is over $50K a year and as a whole, Hispanics control more disposable income than any other minority group. According to estimates from the Selig Center for Economic Growth, the purchasing power of the Hispanic community is expected to exceed $1.3 trillion by 2013. And the trend doesn’t stop there– last week’s Census figures revealed that Hispanics have surpassed growth projections and are growing at a rate of 43%. It is clear that the time to address the needs of the Hispanic consumer is now.

As Hispanics continue to increase their participation online, they present significant opportunities for marketers as they become potential brand advocates and become key influencers within their communities. According to research released by Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research, online Hispanics are early adopters and users of media, devices, and technology in comparison with the general public. Surely this has huge implications for social media, consumer engagement, and market research.

Social Behavior of Online Hispanics

*Composition Index by Unique Audience. Nielsen NetView Ratings, February 2011

Hispanics tend to over-index in their consumptions of social networking websites like Myspace, YouTube, and Twitter. What’s more is that online Hispanics are generally “more active than non-Hispanics” and continue to “lead the market in online social behavior.” (Forrester 2010) Hispanics often discuss cultural values that reflect their family, friends, and social connections.

However, several marketers have overlooked this unique opportunity. In fact, 78% of U.S. companies say that they have “not used social media to engage Hispanics” (eMarketer.com 2010). Understanding the needs of the Hispanic consumer will be crucial for brands who want to add value and capitalize on new growth opportunities..

Engaging Hispanics Through Social Media

As a result, incorporating social media into multicultural marketing initiatives can offer serious gains for Hispanic engagement. Here are some general best practices for Hispanic social media:

Understand Your Hispanic Audience. Hispanics vary in language and cultural practices. Culturally speaking, there are five main groups of Hispanics today, ranging from Spanish dominant to English-preferring Hispanics. Not all Hispanics fit in the same category and it is critical to understand the differences of each.

Choose Your Language Wisely. Because of the varying language and cultural practices of Hispanics, it is important to know what language to use within your audience. Affluent Hispanics may prefer English or even Spanglish, but if your audience prominently posts in Spanish, create content in Spanish to better engage your audience

Keep Content Culturally Relevant. Some of the biggest complaints from Latino bloggers reflect the lack of culturally relevant content from brands. Generally speaking, Hispanics want a meaningful and authentic connection with the products they use. Hispanics also expect brands to do their part in protecting, empowering and inspiring their community.

Pay Attention to Key Influencers within the Hispanic Segment. Consider following influential Hispanic online communities, such @Latism, @LatinosatWork, and @MyLatinoVoice. Amongst the top Twitter users, Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess) boasts over 11K followers and Jesse Luna (@JesseLuna) has close to 9K followers. Amongst the key influential Twitter handles, consider following and engaging with @ergeekgoddess, @UrbanJibaro, @JesseLuna, and @Sarann.

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