Social Media in Latin America

I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the online space down south of the US border and beyond.

For the most part, it appears that social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook and making some decent inroads into Latin America.

No, I do not have empirical data for you to use to verify my assertion, all I have is anecdotal data from seeing more and more people tweeting in Spanish and seeing more and more of my family members on Facebook.

I realize that this is not a representative sample, but I can tell you that on the surface, it appears that the people that are able to access the internet in Latin America are definitely getting on to the social media outlets, I’d almost dare say on a daily basis.

Why is it important that my family is on social media?

Because the majority of them had never been online before. They’d never bothered with blogging, with Googling for anything, nor with buying anything online. The internet was not something that they were interested in. Now, because of the social media tide, most of my aunts, uncles and cousins, specially my cousins, are online and using Facebook daily.

I know that there are lots of other outlets out there like “Hi5” and the local Spanish language networks like “q’oobole” and “quetal?” and several others all vying for a piece of the social pie.

The big player making a move almost everywhere except for Brazil (where Orkut still reigns supreme), appears to be Facebook.

What does all this mean?

To me, it means that there is a huge opportunity in Latin America.

Recently, there was a social media conference in Mexico City called “SM Latam.” The conference looked to explore, teach and spread the word about social media and how to use it for creating connections and for increasing your business ROI.

I didn’t get a chance to go, and I only found out about the conference after the fact, but the fact the conference even happened makes me happy.

What didn’t make me happy was that a lot of the speeches, as far as I can tell including the keynote, appear to have been delivered in English. On the surface, it looks like the majority of the attendees to the SM Latam event were at least bilingual. This made me realize that most of the writing on websites that deal with social media is also written in English.

My question became: What about the rest of the people in Latin America that are not bilingual?

Lots of people that have small to medium sized businesses of their own that could benefit from using social media don’t speak English. Who’s reaching out to them?

From monitoring the #smlatam feed on twitter, I was able to figure out how to say some terms in Spanish. From the feed, I was able to ascertain that:

  • Social media in Spanish is “social media”
  • Fan page in Spanish is “fan page”
  • Web analytics in Spanish is “web analytics”