The need to understand the demographics and values of Hispanic customers is more important than ever. A commitment today will result in generations of loyal brand customers. However, some companies are apprehensive to enter the Hispanic market, fearing brand missteps. Advice? Don’t ignore the market opportunity of U.S. Hispanics; they are the country’s largest minority group with $1.3 trillion in buying power. Experienced brands that are actively engaging with Hispanics prove that being authentic and culturally relevant with this audience delivers a strong return on investment.
How To Do It Right
1. Social listening by culture, not language
With social listening products like Oye! Intelligence, we can analyze social media conversations among Latinos rooted in culture, not just language. If you identify Spanish speakers only, you are excluding a very valuable customer base of Latinos who prefer English and this limits your broader opportunity to connect with Latino consumers of all acculturation levels. According to a 2015 Google survey, only 16% of respondents used Spanish online while 94% of respondents said they felt comfortable consuming English content. Today, the Hispanic digital audience is truly bilingual and bicultural, meaning if you want to reach digital Hispanics, an integrated approach is necessary. Rather than using language to connect and engage with Hispanics, use culturally relevant content.
2. Start with authenticity through influencers
Often, brands either dive into a large advertising campaign or do nothing to connect with Latinos. But, we often see a word-of-mouth and referral rate that is three times higher than the general market, meaning your dollar can go much further leveraging earned media and social influencers with Latinos. Latinos see reporters as advocates and, therefore, they play a more influential role compared to the general market. A bilingual spokesperson on behalf of a company plays a dual role of messenger but also stands as a role model in the community.
On the social side, Hispanics share posts on social media five times more than non-Hispanic users do and they are 35% more likely to click on a link or post shared by another Hispanic person than a non-Hispanic one, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center Study. Therefore, your brand should use strategic social media post targeted to Hispanics if you want to engage with these consumers.
“Being Latino,” an influencer turned empire, has an internal collective network of over 66 million followers strictly from niche, Hispanic-relevant content. Using Hispanic influencers from different cultural backgrounds, nationalities and levels of acculturation can result in targeted content that resonates with different target audiences.
3. Total business, not total market
The total market approach does not have to be an all or nothing, and it most definitely does not need to ignore the Hispanic segment. Brands need to be savvy on where their growth is coming from and connect to those audiences. For instance, if 45% of new business growth is driven by Latinas, then start strategizing with that segment in mind and leverage their unique marketing insights first, versus adding one Latina in a commercial. Hispanic consumers are savvy to begin with, so they know when a brand is not being authentic. Marketers attempting to reach Hispanic consumers should understand variables such as level of acculturation, values and country of origin. Most importantly, we need continuity and commitment to developing the right measurement, KPI’s and ROI. One-off campaigns to check off a list will not capture the brand-loyal consumers.