Latino Chameleons: The Changing Colors of Social Media

Last week, I participated at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Miami (#SMSS 2012). I was invited to discuss the challenges of engaging bicultural Latinos via social media. The following is a quick recap of the key insights shared.

The whole concept of my presentation was based on understanding the nature and mindset of bicultural Latinos. Or, as I call them, cultural chameleons. I covered the Latina side in my previous column, but today I’m talking about the whole bicultural population.

This segment represents a double opportunity for marketers:

  • Biculturalism is becoming the new norm: more than 70 percent of U.S. Latinos are bicultural
  • Social media has truly embraced social media: 97 percent usage among online Latinos

Social Media and the Adaptive Nature of Latinos

We often hear that Latinos don’t live in two worlds. That’s not necessarily true: their habitat is the U.S.; they are no longer in Latin America. Their mindset, though, might be a combination of two worlds or cultures. It’s a complex reality where the American and Latino cultures coexist in a sometimes chaotic or sometimes more balanced ambivalence. Their ability and flexibility to adapt to different contexts and occasions has allowed them to solve that tension in a truly chameleon style.


Social media is enabling Latinos to express their full color spectrum. That’s why Latinos are embracing social media, over-indexing both in use and engagement. Latino-specific social communities allow them to connect with other Latinos to discuss their specific interests in a more open and unfiltered fashion. They also like to interact with mainstream social communities: Latinos are part of that mainstream. They simply behave differently and search for other interests and content that they interact with on Latino social communities.

Marketers Need to Adapt in Social Media Too

Brands and marketers need to understand this changing and adaptive behavior. They need to follow the same flexible approach.

My recommendation is that brands have a Latino-specific social media platform in order to engage with all colors of this Latino chameleon. A Latino social media platform shouldn’t be a different habitat that isolates Latinos but rather an open space where Latinos can interact – in both Spanish and English – with other Latinos. It should enable them to engage with content they love, the Latino way.

A Latino social media strategy should complement your mainstream one. Depending on the need and topic, consumers will interact with one or the other: that’s their true adaptive nature. The following is an example of how Latinos behave differently depending on the interest.


Latinos, through their more diverse culture, are heavily influencing other segments. In that direction, a Latino social media platform can be very effective to influence a broader audience too. Take the Xfinity Latino Facebook page for example. It provides a comprehensive take on American entertainment both mainstream and Latino. But the amount of Latino content is definitely much bigger than the one you’ll find on Xfinity general market’s Facebook page. For non-Hispanics looking to engage with Latino entertainment, Xfinity Latino is definitely an attractive space.

Brands should learn how to leverage the extensive and diverse social graph and social interests of bicultural Latinos in order to succeed with this segment. Brands need to learn to behave like cultural chameleons too.

As a bonus, below you can find some insights in the form of 140-character tweets. Or you can check the whole presentation out here.

#Latino #Chameleons: Tweet This

@gusrazzetti: #Bicultural #Latinos are #Cultural #Chameleons: they don’t live in two worlds, they adapt depending on the context

@gusrazzetti: Latinos are leading #Social #Media growth: 760% increase of #Bicultural audience in #Facebook on the past 4 years

@gusrazzetti: Online Latinos are twice as likely to have a Pinterest account

@gusrazzetti: Online Latinos are three times more likely than Caucasians to login to their LinkedIn profile daily #Chameleons

@gusrazzetti: #Latinos add new interests rather than replace old ones, that Bicultural behavior is expressed in Sports, Entertainment & Food

@gusrazzetti: Let consumers choose the language of interaction: #Latino #Chameleons interact in both Spanish and English

@gusrazzetti: #Chameleons are #Bicultural, yet #Spanish drives higher engagement on Latino #Social #Media #SMSS

@gusrazzetti: #Facebook targeting tool is limited: only reaches 9.2 million #Latinos but there are 24M of #Chameleons in #Facebook

@gusrazzetti: Latinos have the Largest and Most Diverse Friend Network #Cultural #Chameleons

@gusrazzetti: A #Latino #Social #Media strategy should complement your mainstream one #Chameleons

@gusrazzetti: A #Latino #Social #Media strategy should tap into #Bicultural interests of #Latino #Chameleons

@gusrazzetti: #Latino #Chameleons are strong influencers in #Social #Media

@gusrazzetti: A #Latino #Social #Media platform can also engage non-Latinos with Latino interests

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