US Hispanics are more and more active on social media. Despite this, US brands seem to be rather anti-social with them when it comes to social media marketing.

US Hispanic social media users - Part 1 : A market greatly underutilized by US brands

Hispanicize, a leading resource for the Hispanic marketing industry, recently conducted and released, along with the Hispanic Public Research Association (HPRA) and Word Of Mouth Association (WOMMA), a Guide to the U.S. Hispanic social media market for 2011-2012. The guide combines a collection of studies and reports, with a number of recommendations from Hispanic online influencers and marketers as to how brands should address US Hispanics online. The study is particularly relevant for American brands, Hispanics representing the second biggest population in the US. 

Hispanic internet users are active social media users

Lately, much attention has been given to the use of social media by US Hispanics. A study conducted by Pew Internet in late 2010 showed that only 8% of American Internet users are Twitter users, but the percentage of Twitter use varies a lot from one ethnicity to another. 5 % of “Non-Hispanic White” Internet users use Twitter, compared to 13% of “Non-Hispanic Blacks” and 18% for Hispanics. #latism is the hashtag they use to tag all "Latinos in social media". Surprisingly, though, the Social Media Guide explains that Fortune 100 Companies underutilize Hispanic social media. 

Most US brands underestimate US Hispanics social media users

According to the study, Out of the 100 Fortune companies, 70% have a Facebook page in English and only 9% have one in Spanish. 91% have a Twitter account in English and 10% in Spanish. Hispanicize explains the most common Hispanic marketing strategy is a simple extension of the general strategy, often consisting of a barely managed Spanish version of the English FB page, or even automated translation systems resulting in poor user engagement. Hispanicize argues Hispanic marketing strategies should, on the contrary, “complement and supplement your general marketing” and be relevant for Hispanics. The question that arises from this is what language should brands use to address US Hispanic audiences? Although Spanish still is the dominant language among US Hispanics, isolating Hispanic social media users from the global conversation might not be the best way to engage this audience, as Hispanicize suggests: “Latinos want to be part of the overall conversation”.

Part 2 to follow: Agnostic or in-language social media strategies? 

By Alice Gillet
English editorial manager