Does it make sense to approach social media thru an ethnic lens?
April 3rd, 2012
Posted by Jose Villa
There is an increasing effort underway to incorporate social media into the marketing arsenal of multicultural agencies (namely Hispanic, African-American, and Asian ad agencies). As social media has become an integral element of all marketing, it i
s a natural and expected response that ethnic agencies have picked up the banner of “social media.”
However, does this make sense? Are marketers just taking an old perspective (i.e. that there are distinct ethnic markets that behave differently from the mainstream) and applying it to a fundamentally new medium (social media – content created, consumed, and shared by individuals)? Is targeting ethnic groups via social media a sound strategy?
Is the world of social media significantly organized around ethnicity? I’ve tackled the related topic of whether many marketers demographic approach to Hispanic social media is all wrong. Do ethnic minorities – namely Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians – exhibit social media behavior that is specific to their ethnicity?
Are we all getting carried away by the data that shows multicultural groups are more social and misconstruing that to mean that their social behavior is different, distinct, or non-mainstream?
In many ways, social media transcends the classical lines of ethnicity. People connect – by creating
and sharing content, engaging in conversations, and joining communities – around passions. Many of these passions are not tied to ethnicity (e.g. techies, gear-heads, and foodies).
There is no doubt that our social networks are influenced
by our ethnicity. If you’re Puerto Rican and living in Chicago, your online social network will likely have a strong representation of fellow Puerto Ricans from Chicago. But would a brand who is trying to engage with you – for instance a consumer electronics maker – be more effective in engaging you around your “Boricuaness” or your love of new technology?
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