Monday, July 26, 2010

Hispanics And Social Media: A Match Made In Cyber Space

By: Cristina Alvarez
   Holaaaaa! (equivalent of Helloooo!) Being social is part of the Hispanic DNA (ADN en espanol). Hispanics are friendly and fun; even when they get mad, they entertain. Creative expletives involving mothers and sisters, convoluted curses, and facial and body gestures, offer a tremendously dramatic moment that carries an underlying twist of humor.
   So here we have a fun and friendly Hispanic, and we have someone that loves technology and cell phones, and on top of that consumes media by the ton, and aquí está! (Spanish for voilá!), we come up with a tremendously social media Hispanic!
   Did you know that Latinos are more connected to broadband than the general market? That they have more wireless connections to the Internet? And that they way over index on texting? Definitivamente.
   We’ve come up with someone that doesn’t live in the silo and barrio of his own culture anymore. We have someone that reaches out globally, to his blood relatives, to his cultural family, to his pale neighbors, and to el mundo at large. Someone spreading the culture. And who doesn’t love Latino music, food, humor and passion? Hispanics love to share food, advise, political opinions. And social networks give them a huge platform from where to impart their views. It also gives brands a friendly forum through which to converse with this chatty audience. Here’s where the brand ambassador comes in.
   La embajadora invites the cyber Hispanic to come into the brand’s world, an embracing environment, where he will feel a sense of belonging, where he will connect with the company and with other consumers, Hispanic or not. Connection feels good. Hispanics hate aloneness. Message, to-the-point information and brand must bundle up intelligently, so that Hispanics entering this world feel they are where they want to and need to be. Of course, this creates a sense of appreciation. They’ve arrived. They find useful content. They belong. They feel comfortable.
   Now that they are cozily situated inside, they can communicate themselves among friends. Other amigos will join in. Collectively, they will express their thoughts, needs, solutions. Ah, it feels good to hear and be heard. To influence and receive advise. While Hispanics are busily expressing their views and opinions, they are providing a service to the community, the family at large. At the same time, all answers they receive will come from that same community. The bonds of friendship and feelings of belonging grow stronger.
   Getting feedback from community members of other cultures opens up the door to different scenarios. It’s no longer the Latino street or Hispanic barrio, or cultura de mi gente. Now they are exposed and getting the best of two worlds. Connecting, exchanging, teaching, learning. As a treasured consumer of a brand, one that seeks them out, courts them, and invites them to their inner circle, Latinos thrive with the attention and provide insight right back to the brand, within the perspective of their rich cultural heritage. Brands should consider this a bonus.
   The relationship becomes intense, intimate, and visceral. Hispanics are ready to advocate and defend their brand with all they’ve got. The ambassador has opened the door, the social network has provided the platform, Hispanics are now the evangelists.
   Which brings us back to what Hispanics of all ethnicities and social upbringing where searching for when they moved to the U.S.: success for themselves and their families. In retrospect, the journey travelled fills them with joy: they have arrived. And now they belong. And now they extol. Oh sí, Hispanics are social media beings. They are good chatters, texters, and bloggers. Come recruit them to your network. Pronto!

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