Want to Reach Minorities? They’re on Social Media

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Twitter Users’ Diversity Becomes an Ad Selling Point” featuring new data from Pew Research Center. It’s official: Social media is a veritable treasure trove for those who want to sell products and services to minorities.

According to Twitter’s new multicultural strategist Nuria Santamaria, advertisers are increasingly interested in data about racial and ethnic minorities’ activity and patterns of engagement on Twitter, “from basic numbers to the languages in which they tweet.” Not surprising given their growing demographic size and buying power, Hispanics tweet more than any other group, and their activity increases even more when the conversation is about technology.

Facebook is also gathering similar data. The social network says its Hispanic users upload more videos and photos, make more comments, and “like” more posts than other demographics, accounting for 14 percent of U.S. users, according to Pew, and making them the social network’s largest minority group.

Twitter seems to be more popular among blacks, and I can personally attest to my preference for the short message-driven platform. According to Pew Research, approximately 18 percent of Twitter’s U.S. users are black, while only 10 percent of U.S. Internet users are black, along with 11 percent of Facebook users.

Apparently blacks’ use of hashtags has even spawned a cultural phenomenon called “Black Twitter.” The article said, “Racially tinged hashtags such as #IfSantaWasBlack and #PaulasBestDishes have risen to the top of Twitter’s trending lists.” Paula, of course, is chef Paula Deen, who admitted last summer to using racist language and was later fired from the Food Network.

Whether the goal is branding, immediacy, setting the right mood or promoting accessibility via smartphone device, to appeal to a specific age or racial/ethnic demographic, social media is a good place for businesses of all types to make their presence — and their products and services — known.

For example, the article discussed how the Cornerstone Agency hosted small screenings and invited influencers — like hip-hop artist and producer Pharrell Williams and Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief for pop culture news site Global Grind — with sizable Twitter followings to generate buzz for the movie “12 Years a Slave.”

Suddenly I no longer feel bad about making time to tweet a priority.