Multiethnic communities and mobile marketing

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 85% of native-born Latinos older than 16 years of age use the Internet, and 78% of native-born Latinos ages 25 to 34 who have Internet access use social networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 85% of native-born Latinos older than 16 years of age use the Internet, and 78% of native-born Latinos ages 25 to 34 who have Internet access use social networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Latinos are more likely than the average US household to have cell phones with Internet and video capabilities, according to Nielsen. Latinos also write more texts than any other race or ethnicity, sending 943 texts per month. The national average is 740.

African-Americans use more mobile voice minutes per month (1,261) than any other group and 33% of African-Americans choose app-based smartphones with Web-enabled operating systems. At 36%, Asians and Pacific Islanders prefer Apple's iPhone to all other operating systems – more than anyone else.

To date, major corporations are still working to figure out how they should use social media and mobile marketing when directly targeting minority communities. Understandably so, as the model is forever changing. But what goes without saying is that campaigns should be tailored to each user group's preferences as Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians use the Internet and their phones differently. When it comes to mobile, one of the biggest mistakes brands can make is to use a broad, one-size-fits-all approach for narrowcast mediums.

PR practitioners and marketers need to design a mobile marketing plan that reflects the variations of how different ethnic groups are adopting and adapting to the Internet and smartphones. The fact that African-Americans access social media more frequently than the mainstream and, according to Arbitron, use Twitter more than any other ethnic group, provides many reasons to leverage the mobile message. Media-meshing is key, as he who tends to think within a media vault is destined to be doomed.

Successful examples of well-crafted multicultural mobile campaigns exist in both the commercial and nonprofit arenas. When using Twitter, companies have used promoted ads, trending topics, and creative engagement tactics to drum up a buzz. YouTube continues to serve as a platform for viral video campaigns – particularly for videos with a social message or a great dose of humor. When it comes to using the basic functionalities of a smartphone, companies have created opt-ins via a mobile microsite, SMS, or QR codes, after which individuals are able to creatively interact with the brand in some capacity.

The ideas are endless – they just take a bit of thought and creativity. When PR practitioners and marketers take the time to craft multicultural social media and mobile campaigns, the results are clear. Integrating mobile into your marketing plans, however, is not enough. Rather, one must ensure that the plan reflects how the Internet smartphone's most enthusiastic American adopters – Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians – prefer to use their mobile devices.

Megan Smith is the principal of Brownstone PR. Find her on Twitter at @BrownstonePR or @MeganRSmith83.

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