Facebook and Brands in Latin America

Inspired by a Gianni Catalfamo post about Facebook and brands in Europe, I was encouraged to do the same with Latin America. First, because I am Brazilian and I live on this side of the planet; second, because Latin Americans on Facebook already total more than 100 million users and the region has seven of the 25 countries that have the most people that use Facebook (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Peru).

Mexico is the country in the region with the largest number of users, with more than 27 million, and ranks sixth overall. Brazil, however, is the country with the greatest potential for growth, and forecasts indicate that in a few months is to take first place among Latin Americans.

Interestingly, only one brand at this time (late July 2011) has more than a million “likes” — BlackBerry in Mexico. Corinthians, a soccer team with one of the biggest fan bases of Brazil, is coming close. Among the five most-admired brands on Facebook in Latin America are basically the beverage and technology segments, as well as cosmetics and entertainment. In the beverage sector, we have chocolate (Cindor, Argentina) and coffee (Juan Valdez in Colombia); vodka, rum, and whiskey (Smirnoff, Ron Cacique and whiskey Chequers, Venezuela); beer (Indio, in Mexico); and soft drinks (in Brazil, Guarana Antarctica, and in Peru, Inca Kola). Among cosmetics, L’Oreal is big (in Brazil) and Maybelline (Argentina).

E-commerce is represented by the collective buying site Peixe Urbano, and the third company with the largest number of “likes” in Brazil is electronics store Garbarino, which also occupies the third place in Argentina. In the technology sector as well, Mexico, BlackBerry is among the five brands also in Colombia, accompanied by Nokia (Venezuela and Chile), Xbox (Mexico) and Sony Ericsson (Chile).

Despite all the growth, brands in Latin America are still getting up to speed and finding ways to engage consumers. There is still a long way of learning. Nothing here yet compares to the involvement of Americans and 30 million “likes” for Coca-Cola.

As Ketchum Digital Director, Fernando Neves is ahead of the agency’s projects related to Corporate image, and Corporate Reputation in Social Media. During his 11 year tenure at Ketchum, Fernando has worked as the service team coordinator of many companies such as BCP, Hitachi Data System, AOL, Oracle, Equifax, T-Systems, Cielo and IBOPE. Follow him on twitter: @fernandoneves.