Friday, October 2, 2009

Build A Community Online

Whenever I speak with a client or colleague about developing a social media initiative, I always warn them to "build a community before you need it." This concept is at the heart of successfully using social media as a marketing medium, particularly when focusing on the Hispanic market.
There has been a lot of talk about how social media is changing advertising and how Hispanics over-index in use of social media. For the purposes of this article, I will forgo the laundry list of statistics supporting the assertion that Hispanics are heavy users of social media. I think the jury is in, and the data show that Hispanic social media usage is for real and growing.

Shift Your Approach

Building a Hispanic online community involves shifting how most marketers think about their trade. First, you do not "launch" a social media campaign - you begin a social media effort. The difference sounds subtle, but it's not.

Traditionally, Hispanic marketers buy time or space on fixed media in a controlled context. They know where their ads or messages will appear, what they will look like, how many people will see them (roughly), when they will stop running, and, perhaps most important, in what context they will be seen. With social media, this type of control is not possible or desirable. Instead, marketers need to focus on building a community of Hispanic consumers they will engage in a dialogue.

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