In the past, marketing strategists rarely targeted Hispanics through social media or other forms of digital marketing. However, according to the latest research studies, companies have slowly come around to the idea of wooing the Latino population through social media campaigns, and with good reason.
The total number of Hispanics logging on to the Internet shot up 16% over the past year. During that same period, the Hispanic presence on Facebook almost tripled, bringing the total number of users on the social networking giant to some 22 million as of March 2011. Additionally, Latinos demonstrate active usage of the service, with Hispanics averaging 29 minutes per week on Facebook versus non-Hispanic whites who visit the site for 19 minutes.
In terms of Twitter, social media’s other darling, a study conducted last fall found that 18% of Hispanic respondents who go online have a Twitter account, versus 13% of non-Hispanic blacks and 5% of non-Hispanic whites. In fact, Latinos constitute the largest ethnic group on Twitter.
While it’s obvious that Latinos have caught social media fever, as marketing expert Gustavo Razzetti notes, “…There’s a huge gap between Latinos’ usage of Facebook and real engagement with brands through their Spanish pages.”
So, how do marketers take advantage of Latinos’ growing presence in social media to promote their brands?
Marketers must realize that an effective social media campaign directed at the Latino segment will involve more than just a mere translation of the existing English-language campaign. Hispanics are eager to connect with content and engage in a dialog with their favorite brands, so companies should provide opportunities for consumers to interact bilingually or in their preferred language. In addition, they must consider how the English-language and Spanish-language pages can complement each other and create synergy, rather than just duplicating the message in another language, since many users will likely visit both pages if companies offer unique content.
Although Twitter offers a different format for customer engagement, the keys to successful corporate marketing on Twitter are to 1) jump in on existing conversations that are taking place within the Latino community to develop brand awareness and 2) get consumers to join in on the conversation about the company’s brand. Live chats on Twitter also provide sponsorship opportunities that may prove attractive to advertisers.
 Latinos and Facebook: The Marketing Gap by Gustavo Razzetti