Sunday, December 7, 2008

Opportunity: Minority Targeted Social Networking Sites

Our class this week focused on multicultural audiences and emerging media. The reading from this week makes me think that there could be an opportunity for minority targeted social networking sites. As our Lesson 7 states “Thanks to the huge popularity of MySpace and Facebook, social networking is a cultural phenomenon. In 2006, marketers spent over $280 million on advertising and marketing on social network sites in the U.S., and an additional $70 million in international markets – mostly to create profile pages and sponsored promotions (emarketer, 2006/Lesson 7 IMC 619).

Sites such as MySpace and Facebook are aimed at the masses and basically for anybody and everybody. But what about social networking sites for minorities? I think this could be successful. Black Entertainment Television (BET) has found its niche on cable TV so why not a minority targeted social networking site? I’m not just talking about a site for African-Americans but Hispanic and Asian-Americans as well. We learned this week that use of online tools is increasing among all three of these minority groups therefore this could be a great opportunity for marketers. Lesson 7 states “According to the Census Bureau, the growth of ethnic groups in the U.S. is booming; in fact, the non-European population will increase from 24 percent in 1990 to a predicted 37 percent by 2020, led by the rapid growth of the Hispanic population. Furthermore, as access to the internet becomes easier and less costly this will drive adoption of the internet even higher among all ethnic groups. For example Lesson 7 states “The most recent studies show that nearly 60 percent of all adult Hispanics who speak English are online, making Hispanics the fastest growing segment of online consumers. Seven in ten Hispanics have a PC at home. (AOL Latino Cyber Study, 2005/Lesson 7, IMC 619).

Here are some ideas for social networking sites for minorities that may have potential in the future:

Job site – Similar to, a site could be set up for minority based employers and minority candidates. A specific ethnic job site could be set up for a specific ethnic group. LinkedIn is a popular career networking site that could be adapted for a specific minority audience.

Dating Site – Online dating has taken off this decade and a dating web site specific to a targeted ethnic audience would probably be welcomed by many minorities who wish to only date within their own ethnic group.

Health Site – Think WebMD for a specific ethnic group. The site could have expert advice from minority doctors on minority health issues. UnitedHealtcare has made some strides in this area by having a special section targeted to the health needs of African-Americans.

Keep an eye out in the future for minority-targeted social networking sites as marketers look to be more efficient with their messages and their advertising dollars.

- Patrick


Lesson 7. IMC 619. West Virginia University.

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