Latinas Social MediaI did a double take last week when I saw the Pew Research Center’s recent report that Hispanics were the highest early adopters of tablet computers. Could this be right? Yes, indeed it is, and there is a huge opportunity for savvy marketers to engage the $1 trillion US Hispanic market with social media, consumer tech and beyond.

US Hispanics topped 50 million for the first time in the recently released 2010 US Census and now represent one in every six US residents. What’s more, Hispanics account for more than half of the increase in the total US population in the last ten years. The overwhelmingly young, bilingual and bicultural Hispanic population is concentrated mostly within the influential 18 to 49 age demographic. Do I have your attention yet?

Hispanics Online Today

Increasingly tech- and social media-savvy, Hispanics are ready to engage with your brand online. To put this in perspective, there are currently 32 million Hispanics online, up 13% in the last year and representing more than 14% of the total US online market. Experts predict the upward trend in social media participation will continue as more Hispanics buy smartphones and gain greater access to Internet connectivity in general. Let’s look at the numbers:

“Hispanics” Are Diverse

From constantly-connected Hispanic teens and young professionals to Latina moms and Baby Boomers, individual Hispanics have varying levels of acculturation, a wide range of interests and different reasons for going online. Hispanics also have diverse language preferences. Some affluent Hispanics prefer English or bilingual content online, while others respond better to Spanish. Decide which segment of Hispanics interests your brand and target them with unique, original content, rather than translations of content from other campaigns.

Companies Catch On

More companies are realizing the importance of a compelling US Hispanic-focused social media effort in an overall marketing mix. Kudos to front runners, such as Proctor & Gamble, Macy’s, Ford, Verizon and Sears, for designing Hispanic market-specific social media initiatives. Yet, eMarketer reports that over 50% of US brands still don’t directly target Hispanics in their marketing. Even more surprising, as pointed out by Manny Ruiz, CEO of Hispanicize, in a recent PR Week interview: “outside of the nation’s telecoms, they are just not marketed to proactively by any tech gadget or computer makers”. That said, the good news is that now is the best time to capture the wide-open Hispanic market.

Ready, Set, Engage

Social media is already a part of Hispanics’ daily lives as they connect with friends and family, network professionally, express themselves creatively and research new products. Gaining real insight into the Hispanic lifestyle and mindset is essential to winning over this audience. Be transparent. Build trust with the diverse Hispanic community by connecting with individuals on a personal level and you will be rewarded with loyal brand ambassadors.

Article submitted by Sharon Tisdale-Reis of Method Media Collection. Reis is a ‘new media’ enthusiast and experienced communicator, has over 10 years of experience in digital media strategy and content creation for a global audience.

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