Social Media, The 21st Century Tool for Latino Businesses
By Juliana Rico
How many of us look up businesses on social media before we go? Why do we feel that others’ opinions on social media regarding products are so important? How often do we look for items on social media?
Social media have become part of our daily routine, as we look to them in order to get basic information about businesses. Today, social media have become the easiest way for us to communicate with one another, as well as to find out others’ opinions about an item before we buy.
With the intent of educating businesses about the latest internet and social media trends, the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce (HISCEC) held its Second Annual Latino iConnect Digital Marketing and Technology Conference on November 12th at Sony’s corporate building in San Diego, California.
Tayde Aburto, founder of the HISCEC said of the conference “We’re thankful for the valuable support that we have from some of the top social media gurus in the country. In today’s market conditions, it is pretty important for small business owners to take the time to invest in themselves in order to be able to take better business decisions, to become more competitive in the marketplace.”
391 tickets were sold, and 369 people attended, among them small business owners, businesspeople and professionals interested in learning the latest social media and online trends. The event was a rounding success, as evidenced by its social media traffic and the 1,500 tweets sent out by 58% of the attendees. Five hours into the conference, the Twitter count for the hashtag #latinoIC had already reached 292,900.
“Our mission is to educate our Latino community on the importance of the Internet as part of the services they offer. At HISCEC, we seek to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, provide business resources, and promote social media presence so that our businesses can have a stronger economic, political, and social impact,” stated Tayde.
Latino iConnect lasted 7+ hours, and included 8 speakers, among them Candace Klein, Chief Strategy Officer for Dealstruck; Kim Garst, A Twitter for businesses market specialist; Hugo Sanchez, a former Mexican soccer star who came to introduce his foundation, Soccerland; Mari Smith, a top Facebook marketing expert; and Ramon de Leon, the keynote speaker, who closed the evening by sharing his experience with social media and how Twitter helped him become a Business Development Consultant for Domino’s Pizza in Mexico from 1993 to 1997.
One of the most applauded panelists was Ramon de Leon, who shared one of the most inspiring stories of the conference. His social media strategies led to his being named 2011 Chicago Social Media Person of the Year by the Chicago Social Media Marketing Group.
Ramon created the Ramon wow! Experience, where – after getting their pizza – customers could tweet out their experience with the hashtag #RamonWOW! He also helped pioneer online ordering and took digital sales from 0% to 70% by 2013, and thanks to his social media innovations, he was able to grow the franchise to $7 million in sales within 12 months of implementing the hashtag.
“Social media are the best way to get to know your customers and be aware of what’s going on in your business. If you don’t understand social media as a businessperson, you could be losing a huge segment of the market that matters to your business”, assured Ramon.
Ana Serrano, founder of the nonprofit Las Valientes (the brave ones) in the city of Vista, which was born 14 years ago for the purpose of providing assistance and support to Hispanic women who have been victims of domestic violence. Ms. Serrano stated that Latino iConnect helped her get updated on the latest social media trends she needed for her business.
“This type of conference helped me realize that I need to work harder on social media within my Foundation. I loved the speakers and the information they shared regarding the use of social media,” she expressed.
According to HISCEC, there are over 44,000 Latino businesses in San Diego County, and at least 40 percent of them are using the Internet as a business tool. HISCEC started hosting conferences in 2010 with the San Diego Convention, followed by Latinos Emprendedores (Latino Entrepreneurs) in 2013, and then iConnect in 2014 and 2015. For more information regarding future events, please visit their website at www.hiseb.com, or call 858- 768-2483.