I cleared my schedule when Natalie Tindall e-mailed me about a free PRSA teleseminar about Hispanic social media, featuring Manny Ruiz. Manny commented, “Not everyone understands Hispanic marketing and even less understand social media.” Below are some insights.
Hispanic audiences tend to be collectivist. Community is important. Hispanic decision makers seek their peers’ insights and consider their community’s opinions. Social media tools present meaningful opportunities to listen and connect with Hispanic audiences.
In at least one way, Hispanics lead several groups in social media use. Manny referred to a July 2009 report by Felipe Korzenny and Lee Van from the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University. Below is one finding from it:
Participants Who Visited Social Networking Sites At Least Two to Three Times Monthly
- 36% English-preferring Hispanics
- 34% Asians
- 27% Spanish-preferring Hispanics
- 26% African-Americans
- 18% Non-Hispanic Caucasians
The data are based on a sample of nearly 2,500 people with about 500 cases in each ethnic group. The study did not report whether the participants were randomly selected.
Do not treat Hispanic audiences as a homogenous group. Differences are based on several considerations, such as language preferences, income level and location of origin. You need an analysis of the most appropriate spaces for online engagement, depending on who you want to reach.
There is an opportunity to create highly influential blogs in specialized areas for Hispanics. Manny said there are high quality blogs in several areas, such as Hispanic mom blogs; however, there is not yet a high quality blog in every category. This presents an extraordinary opportunity to create influential blogs in specialized categories for Hispanic communities because 1) Hispanic audiences are looking for culturally relevant communities and 2) these online niche areas are far from being saturated.
Manny offered the following comments to aspiring bloggers: “The hardest part of having a blog is starting. Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Once you see people reacting, you’ll start to see what your audience cares about and where your blog will be headed.” He also encouraged bloggers to include their URLs on their business cards and e-mail signatures.
Public relations practitioners can help the Hispanic blogging community by offering incentives and gifts. Keeping in mind that you need to ask any recipient to transparently disclose incentives and gifts to be ethical and to follow the law, encouragement is appreciated. Manny explained, “It is hard for bloggers to continue without financial support, and we need Latino voices.”
Manny also noted that a blogger could have a bigger presence on a blog rather than on Twitter or vice versa. Time is short, so people tend to do a better job with one area. This could affect your approach with engagement and pitches.
Don’t just translate announcements into Spanish for Facebook and Twitter accounts. Manny explained:
“That is a problem I see with early adopters. It [Facebook fan page] just happens to be in Spanish, and there are a couple company announcements on there. That won’t create any meaning with people who want to sign up. Unless you have unique, tailored content, it’s not going to get you anywhere. Have great content and a contest that helps people — or just a good contest. Now you’ve created a point of connection. It’s a much slower process to grow Twitter. You have to have unique value.”
Frequent content is essential. Moderator Sonia Sroka, PRSA Diversity Committee chair and senior vice president of Porter Novelli, compared relationship building with friendships:
“If you want to build a relationship with someone, you don’t just call them every once in a while; you have to talk to them and with them. Don’t just call every week and hope I pick up the phone. It goes back to deep human insights in terms of the relationship.” Manny agreed and recommended that serious bloggers update content at least three times a week.
Many thanks to PRSA’s Diversity Committee for this event.
Resources for Getting Connected
2010 Hispanic Social Media Guide (sign up to be among the first to receive this free guide)
About Manny Ruiz (verbatim from PRSA’s promotion)
“Manny Ruiz is co-publisher of the Hispanic PR Blog , the leading marketing trade journal of the Hispanic public relations and social media industries, and the founder/organizer of the Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference . Both are business units of Hispanic Media Trainers, LLC.
Prior to launching the blog and national tradeshow, Ruiz was President of Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire for PR Newswire. Prior to PR Newswire’s acquisition of Hispanic PR Wire, Hispanic Digital Network and LatinClips in 2008, companies he founded, Ruiz was Chairman and CEO of HispaniMark, the parent company of these three businesses.
A media trailblazer, former journalist, award-winning PR professional and dynamic keynote speaker on media trends, Ruiz is often sought after for his expertise on media, PR and public affairs. A longtime member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Ruiz is the immediate past co-chair of PRSA’s National Diversity Committee and the host/co-founder of the organization’s national monthly podcast ‘PRSA Diversity Today.’ He has also served as a board member of the PRSA Miami Chapter.”