Twitter Begins to Emphasize its Diversity, Starting with Latinos
Twitter, which went public in an IPO late last year, is looking to differentiate itself and find more users -- and more importantly, advertisers -- now that it has to generate revenue for shareholders.
How does it plan to compete with an increasingly crowded social networking market, not to mention the giant, Facebook? By playing up the fact that it is a more diverse general-use social network than any other -- starting with advertising its Latino draw.
Twitter has had a more diverse user-base compared to other social networks for a while, but is only now starting to play up that aspect to attract advertisers. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, while only 18 percent of online adults use Twitter (compared to 71 percent on Facebook), Twitter's U.S. user base is made up of a total of 41 percent non-white demographics (compared to about a third of Facebook and U.S. users of the internet as a whole). Pew also found that Latinos use social media in general significantly more, from a statistical viewpoint.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter has hired veteran marketing expert Nuria Santamaria in November to be the company's multicultural strategist, targeting black, Latino, and Asian-American users, as well as advertisers.
She's starting with Latinos. Twitter's U.S. Latino user base is currently about the same as the U.S. population and is quickly growing. Last month, Twitter started showing ad agencies figures form a forthcoming study which demonstrates that Latinos are more active and invested in Twitter than other users. They tweet more and have more conversations, especially when talking about technology.
Part of the reason why Latinos are getting noticed more on Twitter has to do with language. Twitter doesn't ask users about their race, but classifies demographics in terms of expressed interests and follows. But for Hispanic Twitter users, tweeting in Spanish (or simply some Spanish words), mixed with their interests and people they follow, can more readily identify that demographic and use that to attract advertisers (and revenue). Another strength of Twitter is its black user base, which at 18 percent is almost twice as representative than on the internet (in the U.S.), in general.
Twitter still has competition from Facebook, in part because Facebook is simply much larger than the 140 character-based network. While 14 percent of U.S. Latinos use Facebook, Latinos are also much more active than other users -- more likely to upload photos, comment, share, and "like" posts -- Facebook's much larger user base means that more Latinos use Facebook than Twitter.
Appointing Santamaria as Twitter's multicultural strategist goes a long way in attracting the kinds of advertisers Twitter needs to highlight its diversity though. According to executive vice president and director of digital advertising for multicultural outreach at Starcom Media-vest Group, Marla Skiko, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal, some advertisers are surprised to find out that Twitter has such a diverse user base. With Santamaria at the helm, that feature will likely stand out more, since according to Skiko, "there hasn't been a champion internally," until now.
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