SRB Communications – Brands, Multicultural Markets and Social Media

By Sheila Brooks, Ph.D.

Multicultural audiences are very active on digital and social platforms. They use these platforms to celebrate and maintain their cultural identities and to connect with friends, colleagues and the world around them. They are incredibly internet and mobile savvy on their smartphones, tablets and other devices.

When it comes to brands, multicultural audiences are increasingly turning to social networks to connect and engage them. That’s a good reason brands need to be more aware of which social media platforms work best to target African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and other ethnicities.

Early on, social media platforms were slow to attract older and minority uses. That has, however, changed swiftly and dramatically. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 at least 63% of African Americans used at least one social media site, compared to 69% of whites and 74% of Latinos.

So, simply having a profile on platforms is not efficient if the target demographic audience is not on those platforms.
To get more engagement, likes and shares, you must use compelling content, visually appealing graphics and video. If the brand is targeting a bilingual audience, consider translating the content into the appropriate language to drive online traffic. Also, post a video that will deliver an emotional punch quickly. Videos can often be more appealing, so make sure they are eye-catching and offer insightful cultural appeal.

Be sure your brand invests the time and resources necessary to create an authentic message your ethnic audiences can relate to. Inspire them. Share useful, fun and anectodal information. Cross-promote to other channels. Without a message, graphics and video that resonates with multicultural audiences, your brand will fail to engage on digital and social platforms.

For more information on the percentage of internet users who use social media sites by race and ethnicity,

Sheila Brooks is founder, president and CEO of SRB Communications, a full-service, boutique, multicultural advertising and marketing agency in Washington, D.C. She is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, and advocate for minority and women’s issues and small businesses. Dr. Brooks teaches a graduate course in multicultural marketing as an adjunct professor on the faculty in the Strategic Public Relations program at The George Washington University.