BY ANDY CHECO
Those marketers advanced enough to be engaging (or trying to at least) Hispanics in social media have a huge issue to overcome. English? or Spanish? What language do I communicate in? Most don’t even try and jump into the conclusion that if they are in social media it must be English? or is it? My take is that language is irrelevant and what matters is being relevant by being in-culture. Being in-culture sometimes means relating to your audience in the right language or mix of languages. Here is my take:
Use English when…
Your audience can relate. Generic won’t do the job. Social media is about establishing and maintaining relationships. We all know that if your audience is an acculturate Hispanic they will be able to relate to the bachata group Aventura as they would to Damien Rice, but can your non-Hispanic audience relate to Aventura? They might, but if your communication is a about Damien Rice, guess who will feel less culturally connected to your brand?
Use Spanish when…
So, by now you should know that the first and most important part about being in social media is listening to your target audience. Are people commenting in Spanish? Asking you questions in Spanish? If so, why would you choose to communicate back in English?Regardless of what you do, just keep in mind that in the end it is not about language. I’m lying, it is. Especially when you choose to ignore the language your audience is communicating in. This concept is almost impossible to understand by those running social media in corporations and different organizations have different excuses (that’s another blog entry, but e.g. are my very loud mouth, anti-Spanish fans going to complain about my organization putting out communication in Spanish? of course they are! And what you do about it speaks volume).
Not too long ago I authored another blog called “365 Tips: useful tips, everyday”. The blog started in Spanish, mainly being promoted via Facebook. Shortly after launching it, I was being asked by my audience of mostly first generation, but acculturated mid-20’s to mid-30’s Hispanic females to provide with my tips in English in addition to Spanish, as this would enable them share the content with their extended network of friends. The blog went bilingual and soon after that it ended up being an English blog as my audience had changed. This is a perfect example of listening to your target Hispanic audience and adjusting to their needs.
But what about Spanglish? ah… Spanglish. In my opinion, it does not matter.
Here is the moral of the story when it comes to language: 1) listen to your audience, 2)adjust to their preference and 3) ALWAYS communicate in-culture.