Consumers in Latin America have pushed ahead in their adoption of social media, with the region set to surpass 200 million users this year, according to eMarketer estimates. Social network users in the region have also shown a strong interest in checking in on brand social pages. These two factors have compelled a growing number of companies in the region to follow consumers where they connect.
According to a January 2013 report from PR firm Burson-Marsteller, 65% of the top 25 companies in each of the surveyed Latin American countries had at least one corporate social media page in 2012. That’s compared with 2010, when just under half had one.
But while businesses are certainly jumping on the social media bandwagon, the region still trails worldwide company adoption rates by a wide margin. Last year 87% of the Fortune Global 100 brands had a corporate social media profile, nearly 20 percentage points ahead of the percentage that had one in Latin America.
Of those brands moving into the social sphere, Twitter seems to be generating the most excitement, perhaps due to its ability to offer real-time engagement with consumers. Last year, Twitter surpassed Facebook in the percentage of companies in Latin America using the site, reaching 53% penetration, compared with 50% penetration on Facebook. In 2010, Twitter trailed Facebook adoption.
That trend is part of a larger global movement toward more brand engagement on Twitter, despite a much smaller user count. The ability to have a dynamic conversation with consumers, resolve customer service issues and generate immediate buzz around a new product or offering has resulted in an 8-point advantage for Twitter in terms of the percentage of companies worldwide with a corporate site (82% on Twitter vs. 74% on Facebook).
But Facebook still has plenty to recommend itself as a place to capture the excitement of loyal customers. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of “likes” on corporate Facebook pages in Latin America grew exponentially, from 9,555 to 130,506.
Social media’s unique ability to foster enthusiasm and encourage sharing and recommendations by fans means brands around the world can no longer ignore the potential of these vast networks.
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