I would like to share an article I wrote for Karma Media Labs
about Hispanics and their place in Social Media these days...Enjoy!
Posted on Mar 3, 2010
by Reese Ramos
As a friend pointed out to me recently, one of the subjects that is starting to get as much press as sports lately (Tiger Woods & Olympics aside) is the national Census, which will determine how rapidly has the U.S. Hispanic population grown in the last ten years, as according to the last census, Hispanics made up 15% of the total US population.
Currently there are over 46 million people of Hispanic origin or descent in the U.S., and is estimated that by the time 2010 census is completed this number will surpass the 50 million mark, making it the fastest growing and largest minority group in the United States. This majority minority is quite evident in urban centers of various states like: Florida, New York, California, Texas and New Mexico; for instance, in Los Angeles County, Hispanics make up the largest ethnic group.
The growth on this minority is not only evident on its total numbers among the US population, but its online penetration and presence has also increased tremendously within the last decade. According to eMarketer
there are currently over 26 million Hispanics using the Internet everyday, and that number is growing just as fast as the total number of people within this minority, and by the end of 2012, it is estimated that there will be nearly 30 million Hispanics on the Web.
People who have telecommunications services, such as a home telephone and a personal computer with Internet access, are able to effectively engage the global market economy, meaningfully participate in political
discourse, and socially interact within the global village. People without home telephones and personal computers with Internet access risk being left behind, disconnected from the global village. But the
latter is not the case for Hispanics, as they are closing the usage gap with the general market, and they have a pursuing passion about going online and trust the information they find there. Between 2006 and
2008 Hispanics showed a significant increase in Internet use among any group, as a result of having broadband Internet access at home or at school.
completed a recent cyber study about Hispanics that provides with some great findings about the current online trends among this social group that tends to be much younger than the general population, as the study
shows that 46% of Online Hispanics are under 35 years old, compared to just 28% of the US internet population.
These young Hispanics are considered the power users among this group, as they log on the most, and have more confidence in online product ratings than the opinions of their friends. They find the Internet as a place of discovery and connection where they can meet people, read about the latest current events, keep up with the latest trends and find the best deals. They find the Internet as their medium of information and choice for socialization. Hispanics online are early adopters, as they are more adventurous and eager to try new media
communication formats and technologies. This group spends over 24 hours per week on the web, connecting over half the time via mobile and other devices. The study indicates that Hispanics are highly engaged
Internet users, accessing through more devices than non-Hispanics, which demonstrates a high level of comfort with and willingness to try new technologies.
Another key finding in this study is that younger Hispanics online users prefer English language online media. They find the English site as more comprehensive, more detailed, more useful, and offering much
better deals and options to them than the Spanish language counterparts. The preference for English among the younger segments is due to the fact that young Hispanics are more acculturated and more engaged in the digital lifestyle. And In other cases older users among this group may choose Spanish language sites because it provides them with a more familiar voice that reminds them of their home country. But all in all, they are all looking for one thing in common, the best online experience possible.
Hispanics have for sometime now have made an impact in traditional media, and now they are also becoming a very influential group in non-traditional media as well. Hispanic consumers view the Internet as a very important information source in the purchase decision-making process. They look to the Internet to learn about products, brands, features, stores and pricing, and what’s the best fit for them. And the rest is up to the brands, whether or not they take full advantage of this goldmine the best way possible. In turn, companies should always do is listen to the consumer and provide to them with what they want. This may also mean reaching out to key influencers within a selected group that can act as brand ambassadors for their community, and in return the readers/followers of these influencers will listen to them and to their recommendations, providing a brand with quality trusted maximum exposure.
Below are a couple of examples of influential Hispanic people in the digital space who have made a difference in making their voices heard and recruiting a fan base. They also clearly follow the latest trends in terms of what Hispanics are looking for online and the undeniable power this group has overall.
My friend, Matt Reyes, a Texas consultant who in less than two years has grown his forum for Latino Twitter fans, called Twitteros
. It only took Reyes a month to design and create Twitteros, a social networking site to extend the conversation from Twitter among Latino users, in December 2008 and now he has thousands of Hispanic subscribers from all over the country and Latin America. According to the website the site reaches over two thousand users every month and 74 percent of them are in the United States. It skews toward educated,
middle aged people with a slightly higher percent of men than women. The site is in English and its audience is predominantly bilingual.
Similarly in California, in October of 2007 Juan Carlos Perez Jr. launched MiAltos.com
, a website for fans of Jalisco, Mexico, their families and friends, and whose goal is to reconnect friends and families that have been distanced due to emigration to the United States. Members are able toshare and reconnect their lives by sharing pictures, posting blogs, and actively participating in meaningful discussions. His website is noteworthy because it is based in Ontario, California and 90 percent of his five thousand plus registered members, and over 30 thousand monthly visitors are in the United States. The site is in Spanish and the audience is predominantly recent Mexican émigrés and older generation Hispanics residing in Southern California. Twitteros and MiAltos has been a great success because they cater to a very focused group of people and are both able to provide them with content they cannot find anywhere else.
Stay tuned for what the 2010 national Census
will tell, perhaps that way brands will finally take this group seriously!
Reese Ramos is Director of Digital Publicity with KARMA Media Labs.