Reaching Spanish-Preferring Hispanics On Facebook

In February 2009, I co-authored a post with Dr. Felipe Korzenny, titled "Social Media Marketing Is a Multicultural Word." That article focused on qualitative research demonstrating that ethnic minorities, including Spanish-preferring Hispanics, visit social networking sites more frequently than non-Hispanic whites. We postulated that this behavior is a result of demographics (ethnic minorities are young), culture (ethnic minorities tend to be more collectivistic) and market forces (there is a dearth of culturally relevant content online).

Now, I want to move beyond research and discuss specific tactics marketers can use to reach Spanish-preferring Hispanics on Facebook in a powerful and cost-effective manner. While this article focuses on the opportunity for marketers to target Spanish-preferring Hispanics on Facebook, it is important to mention that there are other social networks that can be used to reach this audience including, but not limited to, MySpace Latino, Starmedia's Páginas Personales, Telemundo's Tu Mundo, Terra's Espacio Terra,'s Mi Página, and



Facebook usage is exploding in Spanish-speaking countries

Back in February 2008, Facebook tapped its own user base to translate the social network's interface into Spanish. That project is a great case study on how to leverage the power of social media to enhance a brand and build a user base. At the time, Facebook had about 2.3 million active users in Spanish-speaking countries. Fewer than six months later, Facebook reached 2.5 million active users in Chile alone! In fact, the launch of a Spanish interface was so successful that between February and July of 2008, new Facebook accounts in Spanish speaking countries grew 325%, from 2.3 million to 9.9 million. That means that in six months, more than 7.5 million Facebook accounts were created in countries where Spanish is spoken. A true network effect had taken hold in Spanish-speaking countries, and the phenomenon also took hold among Spanish-preferring U.S. Hispanics as they received invitations from family and friends to join Facebook and vice-versa.

There are more than 1 million Spanish-preferring U.S. Hispanics on Facebook

This month, Facebook announced that marketers now have the ability to target users by language preference, giving rise to a powerful and cost-effective way to reach Spanish-preferring Hispanics on this popular social network. Adding language targeting to the pre-existing ability to target users by geography, sex, age, education level, workplace, relationship status and interests gave marketers a new way to reach this growing market segment, all on a cost-per-click basis. This represents not only a new medium for large national advertisers to execute hyper-targeted campaigns with highly relevant advertising creative, but also a cost-effective vehicle for local advertisers looking to tap into this loyal audience.

As with all initiatives, success requires research, strategy and execution of best practices

The intersection of the Hispanic online market and social media is an exciting and powerful opportunity for marketers to reach this growing and lucrative segment. However, now more than ever, succeeding in this new social context requires a research-based, strategic approach that balances business objectives with user needs. Before dedicating efforts to target Spanish-preferring Hispanics on Facebook or any other social network, make sure to take the following best practices into account:

  • Define your objectives and determine success metrics
  • Conduct research to understand your audience's needs as it relates to your company's product/service and how they might want to be approached in a social media environment
  • Develop and follow a strategy for delivering user value while achieving business objectives
  • Design campaigns to foster interaction and engage users while soliciting feedback and encouraging sharing
  • Measure campaign success and refine approach based on insights and user feedback
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