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Do Social Networks Overlook Latinas?

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Social networks represent a huge opportunity for marketers trying to reach Latinas -- but many in this growing audience believe they are being poorly served by such nets.

Thirty-eight percent of Hispanic women in the U.S. say these networks lack content created especially for their unique interests, according to a new study by research firm Sophia Mind.

The study, titled "The Use of Social Networks by Latin Women," is based on interviews with 3,300 Latinas in the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, ages 18-60. The research found that Hispanic women in the U.S. are one of the fastest-growing online demographics.

"Brands are understandably eager to reach Latina women and our research shows the best way for marketers to connect with them is through social networks," said Andiara Petterle, CEO of Bolsa de Mulher, the parent company of Sophia Mind.

Facebook is the social network used most by U.S. Hispanic women, followed by Twitter, Hi5, MiGente, Univision and Bebo, per the study. While American women use social networks mostly to connect with friends and family, women in all the countries surveyed use such venues to find information on products and services.

In all countries, more than 85 percent of Latinas visit social networks on a regular basis. But when it comes to U.S. Hispanic women, only 21 percent feel social networks meet their needs. Their main complaint, according to the study, is the lack of specific content for Latinas and the lack of an increased participation of Latinas in social networks.

"Marketers have a golden opportunity to deliver meaningful content and targeted messages to Latinas through social channels," said Petterle. "By speaking with Latinas in an authentic way, brands can build lasting brand awareness with this massive market."