Recently, I made the mistake of voicing a dissenting opinion in a LinkedIn group in which a serial entrepreneur asked for feedback on a new mobile app he was launching for U.S. Hispanics. The app’s name was Spanish slang widely used among Mexican-Americans and is commonly viewed as offensive among non-Mexican Latinos. The entrepreneur chose this LinkedIn group because he was looking for feedback from a group of professionals specializing in the U.S. Hispanic market.
By the time I offered feedback, there was already over 20 comments about the new app. The majority were negative, with comments ranging from how offensive and lowbrow it was to how the name was for Mexican Hispanics only.
So, I added my two cents. I simply stated that LinkedIn, in my opinion, was not an ideal forum to gather feedback on the Hispanic market. That sentiment wasn’t too popular as someone immediately responded to the contrary.
Now, before you take sides, let me explain my rationale. While it’s true that the group was full of Hispanic market professionals, I still question the validity of receiving feedback from LinkedIn, in general, concerning this matter. The fact is, Hispanics on LinkedIn are very different from the Hispanic population at large which means that the usefulness of the data gleaned will be different.
As a market researcher, I take opinions seriously. But, I have found, in my experience, that not all opinions are equal, meaning that, some opinions are helpful and others… not so much. And when launching products or services, the voice of your target market is ultimately the only one that matters. What we think and how we feel as Hispanic market professionals on LinkedIn is trumped by what we know and that’s data best extracted from the Hispanic market itself.
But don’t just take my word for it. The numbers speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at how different the LinkedIn population is from the Hispanic population at large:
“LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds.”
This should be your first red flag. LinkedIn is the only platform that skews older which is in direct contradiction to the Hispanic population in the U.S. The median age for Hispanics is 27 years while the median age for the U.S. population is 37 years.
“LinkedIn members in the U.S. have an average household income of $83,000 per year.”
To put that in perspective, the average US household income is $53,657 per year and for Hispanics, it is $42,491 per year. LinkedIn members’ average household income is effectively double the average of U.S. Hispanic households.
“Fully 46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users.”
The number of Hispanics ages 18 to 24 enrolled in a two- or four-year college has more than tripled since 1993. In 2013, 2.2 million Hispanics were enrolled in college, up from 728,000 in 1993 – a 201% increase. Despite these impressive stats, Hispanics still lag other groups in obtaining a four-year degree. In 2013, among Hispanics ages 25 to 29, just 15% of Hispanics had a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, among the same age group, about 40% of whites have a bachelor’s degree or higher (as do 20% of blacks and 60% of Asians).
So what am I saying? Hey, I like LinkedIn. I use it heavily. It’s a great place to read content specific to your industry, connect with colleagues, and make business connections. And in this case, if nothing else, this entrepreneur received enough negative feedback to consider a name change for the app.
But, overall, LinkedIn just isn’t the best place to seek opinions on Hispanic consumer offerings targeted to the broader Hispanic market because, as statistics have shown, the audience using it is just so different from the Hispanic population at large.
So, that’s my take. Just curious, what do you think? Leave a comment below.