Buzz Words: Hispanics & Social Media

Social media isn’t a fad!  It’s a marketing and connectivity revolution.

Social networking sites brim with opportunities for advertisers to engage the consumer and initiate new forms of dialogue – it’s just a matter of figuring out how.

1. Social media and Hispanics = Buzz worthy topics.
2. Developing a solid social media strategy = Buzz kill.

When it comes to tackling the web and understanding the relatively recent phenomenon of online social networking, there’s no set or defined best approach to getting a message across.

Specifically zeroing in on the Hispanic population presents an even greater challenge. We know Hispanics are online – by the millions in fact – but who are they?  What information are they seeking?  Do they prefer to be engaged in Spanish or English? And can they be appealed to online?

Here’s a peek at the stats:

Major Factors Affecting Hispanic Internet Usage

Education –> completion of H.S., college degree

  • 10% of Latinos have a college degree, and of that small group, 89% are online
  • 50% of Latinos have finished high school, and of those, 70% use the internet

Language –> English vs. Spanish dominant

  • 78% of English dominant & 76% of bilingual Latinos use the internet, compared to 32% of Spanish-dominant Latinos

Younger Latino demographic

  • 67% of Latinos age 18-29 use the internet
  • Latinos are a young population with nearly twice as large a share of adults under 40 than whites

Socioeconomic status –> income

  • 9 in 10 (88%) Hispanics with an income greater than $50,000 are online
  • 72% making between $30,000 & $49,999
  • 39% making less than $30,000

Nativity/Generation —> 2nd & 3rd generation

  • 76% of U.S. born Latinos use the internet versus 43% of foreign-born Latinos
  • 2nd generation Latinos are the most likely group to go online. 80% of 2nd gen. Latinos use the internet

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Hispanics & Social Media

From a quick look at the statistics, we can see that many Hispanics online are young, educated, and prosperous.  This exact demographic is computer savvy and connected to the world of social networking.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, provide users with a way to stay in touch and share things that interest them. Targeting the Hispanic market through social media may be the perfect conduit to reaching Latino youth.

Youth Online
– Ethnic minorities visit social networking site more often than non-Hispanic whites.
– Younger people are more likely to adopt new technologies, especially those encouraging social connectivity.
– Hispanics tend to hold more collectivistic values and look to one another for help in making decisions.  Ethnic minorities are more likely to
use social networks as a means to stay in touch with geographically dispersed family and friends.

Facebook and MySpace
– According to the 2009 Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack, 41% of online Hispanics visit both Facebook and MySpace regularly.
– There are about 1.4 million Spanish preferring Hispanics in the US who have Facebook accounts (reported in July), significantly more than
the 1 million reported in May.

Source: Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack

To illustrate how social media can be an effective marketing tool, take a look at this case study:

Case Study – Using Social Media to Engage Consumers

This study was released in July of 2009 by WetPaint and Altimeter.  It looked at 100 top brands and how they were using social media to strengthen their brand image and develop a new connection to the online consumer.

“…companies who measured as having “the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement” grew revenues by 18% over the last year, while the companies that were the least engaged dropped 6% on average.”

Everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon – creating Facebook fan pages, twitter accounts, etc., but no one seems certain whether or not these efforts are driving results.  This study aims to prove that social media can add to your bottom line and has done so for many of America’s top corporations.

A Look at Starbucks’ Engagement Tactics
One of Starbucks main objectives is to understand how different channels provide unique ways in which to engage the consumer.

– Facebook – viral, a place for fans to share their stories and love for Starbucks, i.e. Allowing fans to use the “I like it” button on Starbucks stories and incentive programs.
– Twitter – as a contrast to Facebook, Twitter is used to respond to customer inquiries and provide fast service support.  It’s also used to convey up to the minute news about contests and other features.

Starbucks also seeks to centralize social media coordination.

– Consistency – all efforts are concentrated in one small team.  The message is consistent across all social media channels.
– The interactive team is fully integrated with the traditional marketing umbrella to make sure that customers receive the same information.
– Hispanics are seeking to be engaged online, and tend to enjoy building relationships.  The more conversational and engaging an online effort is, the more likely it is to succeed.

Source: Engagement Report 2009

To Sum it Up

Social media is cool!  It can be a great way to reach out and open a conversation with the average consumer.  People are eager to contribute their thoughts and share their opinions, and they’re seeking a community-like environment in which to do it.  Starbucks has engaged their customers across many social platforms, while also maintaining a consistent and strong brand image – a social media model to be emulated.

By developing a thorough and lasting social media campaign, a business can hope to strengthen customer loyalty over an extended period of time.  Hispanics are social and online in increasing numbers – it’s more than time to focus our efforts on them.

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To come next week:
Music as a means to targeting the Hispanic market!