There is a brilliant article in HispanicAd about Hispanics and social networking that underscores what we've been saying for years. Specifically, just because there's evidence that Hispanics and Latinos are more "social" (a term that marketers need to unpack) doesn't necessarily mean that they're using social media in a way that marketers want to promote their products and services. The author points out the difference between market research (which shows that Hispanics "over-index" on social media) and market reality, which requires a more critical eye to behaviors of this broad group. Just because there is evidence that Hispanics use social media, and have more social interactions with family and friends, does not necessarily translate into the kind of social media usage that marketers desire, at least not in higher numbers than other groups.
The author, Jose Villa, goes on to point out three reasons why we should do a little more thinking and analysis instead of repeating the line that "Hispanics are more social":
There are three fundamental problems with assuming Hispanic social behavior extends to social media.
Issue #1 – Not all (online) Hispanics are the same
One very big problem I see – particularly with the data about heavy Hispanic social media usage – is we are painting with broad brush strokes. I know from our primary research and countless anecdotal experiences that there is a big dividing line in digital behavior between unacculturated/partially-acculturated, and older (35+) Hispanics and acculturated and younger (under 34) Hispanics. Most data out there lumps all these Hispanics together, resulting in what I hypothesize are some seriously skewed samples.
Issue #2 – Culture and Psychographics
In many of the discussions I’ve been privy to about Hispanics and social media, I’ve noticed a narrative developing that Hispanics are more likely to share and “make their voices heard.” This narrative is often tied to the “Hispanics are more social” hypothesis. This is interesting, because it goes against the cultural and psychographic characteristics of many Hispanics – particularly less acculturated ones.
Less acculturated Hispanics are unlikely to raise their hands. They keep a low profile, especially those here illegally – which is more than 10 million according to many estimates. Culturally, many of us are raised in environments where we are taught not to question authority. I’ve seen this with countless clients and peers who work in education. One of the biggest challenges faced by colleges and universities is Hispanics who never ask for help, never question their grades, and just keep their head down and try to do their work. This is just one illustration, but there are numerous other examples of these very important Hispanic psychographic and cultural norms that go against the type of digital “social behavior” we ascribe to Hispanics.
Issue #3 – Sharing with Family and Friends is Different than Sharing with Brands and the Public
Hispanics may be more social with each other, among family and friends, but are they more social with brands and the public? This is an important distinction often lost with all the buzz over Hispanic social media. This relates to the cultural and psychographic norms described above – a large swath of Hispanics, who are very social offline within their social networks, are not culturally comfortable with announcing their preferences, points of view, and experiences with brands and the public online.
Read the whole article here.
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