Social media enables the marketer to identify microsegments in the population, yet marketers still struggle to effectively engage a segment that would more accurately be described as a macrosegment – I’m talking about the 50+ million Hispanics living in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, 13% of Hispanics in this country suffer from Diabetes and 70% are overweight. The Office of Minority Health will also make it known that Hispanics suffer disproportionate rates of incidence of other treatable conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer.  Addressing risk factors, especially for preventable diseases, has to become a primary focus for the community-health agencies, non-profits and HCPs that service this constituency.  So how can marketers reach this macrosegment?  Well, it just so happens that Hispanics over index in social media use.

Before elaborating on the challenges and opportunities of engaging Hispanics online, I’d like to digress for a moment and touch upon the guidelines put in place by the FDA that limit the social activity of pharmaceutical companies.  Eli Lilly has been able to avoid wrist slapping by focusing its English-language content development on public policy, advocacy, corporate responsibility, and “Life at Lilly.” Developing content within these four categories enables the company to build confidence and credibility among its followers by branding itself as a patient-focused enterprise. I highly recommend checking out Lilly’s YouTube channel and blog to learn more about what this company is doing right.

Now that we’ve examined how one pharmaceutical company has ventured into the social media space, let’s return to the issue of engaging Hispanics. Connecting with Hispanics is often easier said than done.  It’s not as simple as using Google Translate and making all of your English-language content magically reappear in Spanish.  It ultimately comes down to delivering culturally relevant content (most Hispanics prefer their content in English.

Let’s look at the subject of Diabetes.  In order to create substantive dialogue with Hispanic followers about this disease, it needs to be framed within a cultural context.  An example of doing so would be by publishing content about the Olympics.  By tapping into the national pride and the heritage of those Hispanics following their countries’ Olympians, you can now broach the topic of healthy eating and fitness.  Another idea would be to collaborate with key online influencers in the community (artists, athletes, politicians, bloggers) who share the same concerns for the general state of health among Hispanics.

There is no limit to the ways of making content relevant.  But it must be done tactfully by appealing to the culture, lifestyle and language preferences of Hispanics while being mindful of the national, socio-economic, and ethnic diversity within this market segment.  The benefits of successful Hispanic Social Media engagement will far outweigh the risks and obstacles you encounter along the way.  Because if done right, those you connect with will benefit the most.

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AuthorZach Fishbain