Does Social Media Have A Bad Romance With Latinos?

The Latino romance with social media has been a passionate one. We’ve embraced this frontier for the betterment of our careers and our businesses. We tweet, post, update, like and comment as we validate ourselves or denigrate stories and events. Along the way, often incidentally, we build communities and networks. 

The trusted “go where they congregate” axiom in order to reach Latinos may be spot on, but somehow might not be generating the desired results.

It’s apparent that you are targeting the right demographic for your business or brand, and clearly its online community is engaged. But where are the click-throughs to your website or check-out page? The thing about Latino communities is that they retain many of the nuances of their real world counterpart. You will find the cliques, along with those observing from a safe distance, but notably, within this community resides the valued opinion of friends and peers regarding, well, everything.

Enter old-school, face-to-face marketing. Latinos have long regarded networking events as a social hub, a place to meet up with friends and colleagues from jobs long forgotten. As a result, many marketers have dismissed the effectiveness of these events due to their highly social style and lack of structure. It seemed like the logical alternative was to engage them online. Here’s where it gets tricky.

Latinos, like many in the general market, engage with brands that they relate to from their upbringing. So it’s not an either/or strategy. It would benefit marketers to position their brands visibly at the “ground floor” of engagement for Latinos, live events. Keeping in mind that these events have also evolved to reflect the nature of the modern Latino who is looking to expand his network and build business relationships outside of their industries. Big-name American liquor brands have become ubiquitous at Latino events because of their long-term vision as partners at social and business functions. As a result, they have become top-of-mind brands for the Latino demographic they covet. 

In many instances, social media can be more effective as a retention tool, complementing face-to-face interactions with a brand, rather than an acquisition tool. One domestic automaker’s Hispanic site, along with Home Depot, have been implementing, and now extending, this strategy for a couple of years. Brand-driven events targeting specific demographics, such as Latinas, have shown to have a high follow-through of engagement online. The key, of course, is to have relevant content online and a strategy that can be replicated in a newly targeted geographic area.

The good news is, exclusive online acquisition strategies are evolving to take advantage of built-in Latino communities to promote their brand. Sidestepping a large-scale campaign that’s built and managed in-house, some marketers have found that targeted partner events have built-in credibility when endorsed and promoted by highly engaged online Latino communities. Threading boldly with this strategy is super retailer Best Buy with its newly formed partnership with Facebook’s most populated Latino community, Being Latino. Best Buy’s strategy appears that it will be exclusively an online initiative, featuring an original video series. Given their choice of partner, it’s a smart move, one that may be worth its gamble.

It’s often pointed out that Latinos have an innate desire to connect and get personal with those we do business with. As a marketer, you can chose to simply expose your brand to the Latino community or build a relationship that engages deeper than fleeting updates and tweets. Chances are, we want to meet you, too.

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3 comments about "Does Social Media Have A Bad Romance With Latinos? ".
  1. Latino Rebels from Latino Rebels , September 20, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
    Thank you for posting this. While we agree 100% with you about building relationships with customers and communities, we will respectfully disagree with you about the fact that social media is not an effective tool. If you are going to push live events and networking sessions, please do so, but don't just say that social media is not working. The fact is that many people and brands are getting bad advice about social media. They think it is easy because it is online but in fact you have to "work the room" just like you would do live networking event. Social media can be incredibly successful if it is done right. Please be a bit more respectful of the strategy and what it can accomplish. Our community is a perfect example of what social media can do. We are now one of the top independent Latino pages in the world with a very desirable demographic (bilingual, bicultural young Latinos) and it took hard work, pounding the online pavement every day. We do use our strategies and apply them with other brands and we have several success stories that would prove this post wrong. We say this with all the respect in the world. Don't just overlook social media.
  2. Latino Rebels from Latino Rebels , September 20, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
    The other point is that true engagement is not just fleeting tweets and updates. It needs to feel authentic and real. Online Latinos see through this lack of authenticity and don't want to be sold. We understand your point, but this goes beyond offline/online partnerships and pushing your brand to online communities. But thanks again for raising this issue.
  3. Latino Rebels from Latino Rebels , September 20, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.
    Sorry one last thing: there is a HUGE difference between "most populated" and "most engaged" community. That is the key. Numbers don't mean anything if people aren't engaging. Ok we are done! Thanks for the post!