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Hispanics’ Leading Role in Location-Based Social Media

Smartphone Use

Smartphone Use

One area which often surprises me is how Hispanics’ leading role in mobile social marketing is often overlooked or ignored altogether. Ever since the first iPhone was introduced, I’ve witnessed how readily young Hispanics have embraced smartphones. UM’s latest quantitative social media study, Wave 6, continues to underscore how Latinos have been trailblazers in this area. Consider these three key measures of Hispanic involvement in social media versus the average active internet user:

  • +29% more likely to have posted a story to their blog
  • +18% more likely to have shared their location on a social media site
  • +16% more likely to have uploaded a clip to a video sharing website

It’s the second of these measures, sharing their location with others, that hints at Latinos’ underlying strong adoption of mobile social media. Our Wave 6 study also indicates Hispanics are +17% more likely to own a tablet or a smartphone than Caucasians, and they spend +30% more time on a mobile phone. Two-thirds of Latinos say they use their smartphone to socialize with others.

These social media and mobile traits all come to the fore in their use of location-based networks. 41% of Hispanics who are active internet users have checked into a location-based network, compared to 34% of all US internet users. Latinos gravitate to local geo-centric media to fulfill a number of social needs to bond, build and boost their relationships with their local communities. For example, compared to the typical active US internet user, Hispanics agree that location-based social media are +41% more likely to help them share new experiences, +49% help them feel as if they belong and a breakout of +78% say it helps them change the opinions of others.

For marketers, location-based networking is often seen to have three important roles:

  • It lifts word-of-mouth marketing as consumers talk about new local experiences.
  • It bolsters visibility as a way to highlight locally available services
  • It facilitates more precise and active targeting for promotions or added-value services, such as discounts, e-coupons, or bonus offers

However, these are just generic advantages. Our Wave 6 research allows us to probe the specific advantages of over 20 market categories and the corresponding need states that consumers seek from social media in these categories. For example, when speaking of fashion, Hispanics primarily wish to express or communicate their creativity to others, whereas with movies, they prefer to share their experiences.

In short, Wave 6 reveals mobile devices are more important to Hispanics than any other multicultural group, and these phones critically enable them to interlock more readily and easily with their local communities. It provides major opportunities for geo-targeting and m-commerce, especially where local events or share-worthy opportunities are in the marketing mix.

Being Hispanic is not so much an ethnicity as a culture – a culture where themes such as music, sport, food, family, ritual and community help provide its members with their own internal and public gyroscope of what it is to belong. For once, the onward march of technology helps reinforce, not erode, these valuable cultural ties. Marketers can directly tap into this growing technological force to their distinct advantage, especially if they can promote their brand’s specific proposition and benefits within their own market category.

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.