At last month’s LATISM conference, I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of attendees and presenters were Latina. I realize this observation should not be a surprise, as Latina bloggers continue to influence the online world. But this being my first social media conference, I found it a refreshing divergence from the typically male dominated worlds of computers and technology. Every day, these social media mavens provide highly valued content to their peers throughout the nation and internationally. Many brands have jumped on board with their advertising dollars. Those who haven’t would be wise to take notice.
A short time after the LATISM conference, a new white paper from Advertising Age arrived in the mail entitled, “Always On Women”. The publication featured surveys and insights about how women use technology in today’s society. Although the profiles showcased in the publication spanned across age and levels of usage, there were also a few commonalities. One is buying power. It is reported that women spend roughly $5 trillion annually and control about 80% of purchasing decisions within their hoseholds. Additionally, women online also share in engagement, especially with mobile devices. According to Nielsen data, women converse 28% more and use text messages 14% more than their male counterparts. These statistics indicate that women are a very lucrative market for advertisers of online and mobile media.
Unfortunately, not everyone shares in the idea of female ascendancy. Another publication that arrived in the mail a few days later, Fast Company magazine revealed in a 2011 Gallup poll that 54% of men between the ages of 18 and 49 prefer to father a boy. Additionally, the preference of “no preference” beat that of fathering a girl by 26% to 19%. This data inspired the magazine to consult a handful of ad agencies to “rebrand” baby girls for a mock campaign against gender bias. One particular entry from LatinWorks targets U.S. Hispanic Women and promotes superior female traits such as longer life spans and the embodiments of loyalty and compassion. Who knows, maybe this creative work will expand beyond the expectations and give birth to a greater sense of gender preference.
In particular, Latina bloggers and their work have already excelled beyond expectations, especially with brands savvy in multi-cultural markets. In a recent interview on the New Latina website, public relations expert Midy Aponte explains how the recent rise in Latina bloggers quickly caught the attention of marketers within a few short years.
“What started out as good-natured conversations between Latina bloggers, soon caught the attention of large brands, like General Mills’ Que Rica Vida and Kmart’s Latina Smart campaigns. Online collectives and groups started forming like Latina Bloggers Connect, Latina Mom Bloggers and Latina Lifestyle Bloggers. Bloggers started expanding their own platforms by writing for each other and are now being identified for their writing by online forces like AOL Latino’s Tu Voz En Tu Vida. It is no wonder brands and companies have been paying attention and engaging with these powerful voices.”
Turning back to the LATISM conference, it should be noted that the whole phenomenon began with one simple tweet – one strong Latina’s call to arms for others to join her in a social media conversation. A catchy hashtag and a few years later, the LATISM conference came to attract over 500 attendees at Chicago’s Navy Pier. In one particular session, social media expert Ted Rubin made the statement that women are better suited as leaders because they connect, engage, and empathize much better than men. Considering these are also the qualities that have made Latinas successful in social media, I am very apt to believe him. Here are some considerations for marketers and brands on why they should follow Latinas in the blogosphere and social media:
- Like the “general” Hispanic community, Latinas are not all a monolithic group. Behavior patterns of technology use can vary depending on age, levels of acculturation, and social groupings.
- Popular Latina bloggers are often highly regarded peers within their social spheres. Their opinions and recommendations are valued and have the potential to propel brand credibility.
- Be aware of cross-cultural pollination. Latina influence can also grow across cultural boundaries and into the mainstream online world. Consider the insights of non-Latinas too.
I believe we can expect the influence of Latinas online to grow. Look for Latina bloggers and social media mavens to continue to innovate as they find new ways to support their peers and engage with brands.