Social media has become an increasingly important component of corporate marketing strategies and daily collaboration. But few U.S. organizations have extended their social media campaigns to the very large and expanding Brazilian market.
Each geography has its own style of social media etiquette and online behavior – and these regional idiosyncrasies will without a doubt have an impact on marketing activities — but it is time that U.S. companies operating in Brazil stop assuming that only Americans have embraced all things Web 2.0. It is time to get friendly with the continually expanding Brazilian social media environment.
Worldwide social network ad spending is expected to increase 31% to $3.3 billion, according to online advertising researcher eMarketer Inc. Gartner has indicated that 50% of web-based sales will originate from social media interactions.
Sure, if your enterprise has expanded to Latin America and you are targeting Brazilian consumers, an aggressive social media strategy makes sense. But, what if your company doesn’t fit that profile? What is the value proposition of investing in social media locally when you are simply leveraging outsourced IT services in Brazil? Should you care about engaging in social media in the country? Yes, and here’s why:
• Social media can be a source of local staff, but it can also make local staffing more difficult if negative commentary is made in social networks regarding the working environment. This could be critical in a market like Brazil where there is significant labor competition.
• Negative comments from consumers regarding the brand can damage local or even global brand reputation. Brands may want to monitor networks to understand consumer, staff, and partner perception.
• Companies concerned with branding and embracing the idea of new influencers can invite them to interact with the brand.
• They can gain visibility into trends and behavior of similar firms operating in the environment.
Although a smaller percentage of the Latin American population has web access, 82% of Latin American web users participate in social media. This means that it is second only to North America in terms of social media penetration.
Brazil, the most populous country in Latin America, is also the country with the largest number of people with Internet access. For social networks, Brazil is the leader in the use of almost all forms of social media, not just in Latin America, but in the world. According to CSK Comunicação, the trend started with the arrival of Google’s ORKUT, the very popular network in Brazil (U.S. not so much), and the use of social media has expanded beyond any expectations.
Seventy-million people, one third of every person in the country, is connected to the web, and 79% are part of a social network. This huge population of social media users is not some isolated entity. It is the same pool of individuals necessary for your business operation in Brazil; so even if you aren’t a Web 2.0 organization, you simply cannot ignore the far-reaching impact of the medium.
Nearshore Americas spoke with Justin Seymour of Atlanta-based executive search consultant Thomas+Seymour Group. Seymour’s firm has seen a surge in placement requests over the last year in the Latin American market led by Brazil, Mexico, and Chile. Seymour said that within his firm social media has become an increasingly important tool for identifying talent pools.
“We use social media site like LinkedIn extensively to identify possible candidates. However, we are yet at a point where social media is the deciding factor in hiring a candidate. It’s an excellent research tool.”
Other firms are finding social media valuable for staffing as well. Porto Alegre, a mid-sized city in Brazil that houses multiple universities, and has attracted companies like Stefanini, Motorola, GM, HSBC, Citibank, IBM, and Dell is a hotbed for social media. The companies have found that social media is useful for finding candidates with deep skills in agile and open-source software.
Even large multinationals like Pepsi have developed local strategies for social media that extend far beyond a staffing mechanism. Although Pepsi has a healthy consumer base, organizations that only operate in the market would be wise to consider developing a holistic social media campaign using a local firm familiar with regional specifics of the audience. Millions can now see what might have previously been seen by one person. A single negative comment does not stay within the walls of the dissatisfied. It becomes instantly available to everyone with a web connection, and in a world where it seems like almost every person has a mobile device, that means everywhere. But, with a little monitoring and planning, companies with a social-media strategy can minimize the impact.
Brazil, with its huge wired population, its extensive trade ties with the U.S., and its increasing economic clout, would be a good place to take advantage of the power of social media.