By now, marketers are well aware that the U.S. Hispanic population is highly engaged online. The Internet is a popular and effective way to keep in touch for extremely social, family-oriented Hispanics whose loved ones are often very dispersed geographically. (Facebook is the number one social media site used among this sector.) Hispanics are also motivated to engage with Hispanic-targeted ad messages online. Research shows that Hispanics who are exposed to an ad online are more likely to engage with that ad than are non-Hispanic consumers with comparable ad exposure opportunities.
Clearly, the Internet presents a strong opportunity to convey ad messages to Hispanics. More importantly, brands using social media to create conversational forums for Hispanic consumers to converse with the brand – and like-minded consumers – are the ones really connecting with this important group.
We know that social media conversations in which the brand is involved with consumers who are also expressing their opinions are the best way to build brand affinity – the perception that this is a brand for “people like me.” Consumers who hear about the brand from other consumers, and who feel that the brand is speaking with them, make emotional connections with the brand that simply aren’t achievable with traditional advertising dynamics. Brands talking at you may move you to act, but a brand that people like you are talking about, and that talks with you and your friends, can move you to love.
The best way to build consumer connections with Hispanics is to earn their visits to your space. Once there, you need to create the experience that builds the love.
Successful advertisers start broadly, with a Total Market campaign that is truly inclusive in both concept and execution. Then, they execute this concept in a highly customized manner in the social space, and develop tactics to motivate their targeted Hispanic consumer to engage with this program via Facebook and other social media channels. Best practices suggest weaving the product into the story, and encouraging consumers to participate as well, via “likes,” comments, submissions of their own, and responses to other consumers.
In the retail sector, Target’s 2013 holiday season campaign exemplified a best-practice case. The broad Total Market campaign was themed My Kind of Holiday, or Asi Festejo Yo for Spanish-language executions. The core concept celebrated the diverse nature of holiday traditions, and was successful in building brand affinity across both Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers. The #AsiFestejoYo concept was extended across the online space, including a series of Hispanic-targeted videos with individual consumers talking about their family holiday traditions. The brand’s Spanish-language Facebook page continued the theme, which was interspersed with product offers, many of which were tailored to the Latino holiday experience.
More recently, JCPenney discovered that viewership of World Cup soccer is strong among Hispanic women (in fact, greater than U.S. viewership among non-Hispanic men!). JCPenney created a Spanish-language-only multimedia campaign around the event. This was extended online via a World Cup-themed promotion, #JCPFanaticas. On the brand’s Spanish-language Facebook page, there is a bracket-style tournament with country-themed outfits. This retailer also uses its targeted Facebook page to feature products, models, settings and scenarios that are specifically tailored to the Hispanic customer. With more than 185,000 likes, this page is clearly engaging Hispanic consumers.
In contrast, Facebook searches for Spanish-language branded pages for Kohl’s and Macy’s reveal no results whatsoever. A search for a Spanish-language Sears Facebook page directs the consumer to the brand’s main Facebook page, and a Walmart search uncovers only a page for Walmart Mexico and a page developed by a local New Mexico Walmart store.
For all marketers, the opportunity to connect with your Hispanic consumers online is strong. The Target and JCPenney examples suggest how broad-based campaigns can be extended online and personalized to help solidify connections with Hispanic targets. While it’s not difficult, it can be expensive. But tying these threads together can definitely build your brands ‘likes’ within the Hispanic community – and communicate, immediately and in the long-term – that your brand both considers and cares for ‘people like me.’ With this highly social, family-oriented consumer group, few qualities make as effective an impact as that.