What Message Do You Want to Send to the Hispanic Community?

When Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who delivered the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday night, flubbed a reach for a water bottle, he took to social media to manage the PR around the awkward moment.

During the speech, Rubio tried to sneak a sip of water from a bottle off camera, a move that made many observers cringe. But Rubio took it in stride, tweeting a photo of the water bottle after the speech.

And in doing so, Rubio demonstrated that he is social-media savvy. At the same time, perhaps, he reflected a larger trend toward the use of social media throughout the Hispanic community.

According to recent study conducted by NM Incite, 57% of Hispanics have turned to the social space to ask a question about a brand or report complaints/issues with products, compared with 47% of the general population.

What’s more, 19% of Hispanics turn to social care daily, and 30% weekly, the report said. Hispanics are 25% more likely to “prefer” social care to traditional customer service methods than the general population.

There are other indicators that illustrate the growing influence of Hispanics on business and the economy. For example, Hispanic spending power will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2015, or 11% of total U.S. buying power, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

By 2050, Hispanics are expected to make up one-third of the population, or 133 million people, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

These are consumer-trend lines that communication executives ignore at their own peril.

With Hispanics now ensconced in the mainstream, PR pros at both the corporate and agency levels will need to create campaigns that fully embrace the Hispanic community, as opposed to putting Latinos in a neat, little box that doesn’t command constant attention.

Like most every audience, there are some aspects to the Latino community that are more niche than broad.

Still, PR departments can no longer be able put Latino messaging on the margins of a campaign. When it comes to how to deploy effective communications, Hispanics are increasingly at the center of the conversation.

–     Matthew Schwartz: mpsjourno1