With more launches on the Web vying for the public's attention, online communities targeted at specific ethnic or cultural groups are particularly attractive options for reaching focused demographics.
"The most effective online communities provide the consumer with an experience that is relevant - such as providing the user with relevant content that is also in [their] language," notes Stephen Chavez, US director of the multicultural practice at Edelman.
A Web site with updated information is key to audience engagement. "You'll want people to come back the next day to see it," says Chavez. "I find that when Web sites don't have that updated information that is changing daily, people tend to move on."
Those that are prominent in the multicultural space all offer news and information about careers, lifestyle, and entertainment options that are relevant to the specific target group.
Leslie Yngojo-Bowes, president of US Asian Wire, says online communities are rapidly growing, but are still in their early stages. "These sites typically target a younger demographic," she says, "particularly the 18-plus crowd."
As one of the largest bicultural, Latino online communities today, QuePasa.com continues to boost its membership with a broad range of offerings for users to explore, including a fast-growing social networking component.
Creative Civilization, AOR for QuePasa.com, recently worked with Eva Longoria on her inaugural celebrity golf tournament.
"It's through sites like QuePasa and others that we are able to talk about the event before it happens and bring the event to viewers later," says Gisela Girard, president of Creative Civilization. These Web sites make content available to the viewers when they want to see it and enable them to forward it on to friends, as well.
PR pros sometimes don't realize the power that these multicultural online communities and Web sites give them when they work on a particular client's brand, product, or event, Girard explains.
"Viewers become a part of the very fabric of these multicultural communities," she says. "This is where they go to get their information, and this is where they'll return to follow up with that particular story."
Multicultural sites can engage users by providing targeted, relevant content
Commitment to daily updates can lock in viewership
Online communities are a great way to reach a specific demographic