Hispanic Heritage Month – Embracing Diversity in Social Media
In honour of Hispanic Heritage Month, I decided to spend some time with my Latino friends and colleagues as well as do a bit of online research into their digital, and most importantly, social media experiences. An integral part of our jobs as Social Media Community Managers is to understand how different cultures and points of view participate in the digital world. It’s vital that we listen, observe, and understand what is important to others, and how best we can help make that experience better, and more enjoyable.
Making up the 2nd largest demographic throughout the United States (62.6 Million as of 2021), Latinos spend on average more time on Social Media than any other demographic. So how come we’re not seeing more brands embracing this incredible group of cultures through social media engagement?
In some ways Public Relations and Marketing are leading the way when it comes to growing diverse online customer bases through their use of new campaigns which speak more directly to these consumers. But there is still so much more which can be done. As we’ve said before, building a lasting relationship with consumers is part and parcel of building a life-long customer. And the best way to do this is through post-campaign community building.
I was curious to know what the online experience was for my LatinX friends and colleagues, so I started by conversing with my own community. This led me to research their use of Social Media, and to ask: what brands are embracing their rich backgrounds and cultural communities, and how can we do better?
Most gratifying (and yet not at all surprising) is how much the Hispanic cultures overall embrace Social Media as a means to expand their relationships and share important information with family, friends and their surrounding community. Family, relationships and community are extremely important to the LatinX person and it’s easy to see this in practice throughout social platforms.
For example: in the absence of person to person activities, Hispanics flocked to social media in order to continue building and maintaining relationships within their communities, and within their families during the pandemic and lockdown.
“Our personal and physical networks are the core of how our community has grown, adapted and it’s how we stay informed,” Stacie de Armas, senior vice president of diverse insights, at Nielsen told NBC News. “In the absence of those, Latinos filled that sort of void very quickly by leaning into digital content consumption to a greater degree than non-Latinos.”
Many larger brands are starting to embrace their LatinX community (in the US), however many more are still unsure about whether this is a good use of marketing and advertising. Why is this? Like many others who spend millions on adverts and social campaigns, they either neglect or fear to complete the circle that is the online community (and consumer) relationship through ongoing engagement.
Data shows the U.S. Latino population, especially the youth, are craving to see advertising campaigns that embrace their cultures, their bilingual-ness, their heritages and values. This is especially true when it comes to engagement and relationships with their favourite brands. As with all of us, building and solidifying trust and respect are vital in establishing brand loyalty but this is especially true for the Hispanic community – most importantly in digital media.
To further quote de Armas: “Not only do Hispanics spend the most time on social media, but they are also five times more likely to share the content they consume in comparison to non-Hispanic Whites. This is especially true for U.S. Hispanics aged 18-49, who are more active when using YouTube, Instagram, Google+ and Snapchat”.
Which brings me back to the question: where and how does a brand begin to even think about engaging online with their Latino consumers? While some answers might seem obvious, we know it can feel a bit overwhelming to start the thought process. Nobody wants to offend or misstep.
So below we outline a few tips for you to begin embracing your Hispanic community of current (and future) consumers online, and work towards building that strong successful online community:
- Review your filters – Study the level and type of racism, extremism, and barriers to entry your Hispanic community must fight. Are you putting enough effort into your social media and chat filters to include all forms of inappropriate language, in all languages?
- Learn culturally-specific Xenophobia Train your Moderation team to understand xenophobic messaging, hate speech and general disregard for Latino community members. Are we considering foul language and hate speech in Spanish, LAM, Portuguese? Can we help reduce their negative experiences?
- Ask questions. Like any other consumer poll, remember to ask the community what they’d like to see more of, and what can be left on the editing floor. Then – LISTEN to your Latin X community, and take action. What is their experience with your brand like for them? What do they want? What makes them excited to share information about your brand with their friends and family?
- Communicate with understanding. How much are you engaging the LatinX communities, in their language? What about regional slang? Remember – the Spanish language is used across a myriad of cultures, countries and regions. Each one will have its own localised phraseology. It reminds me of when I started moderating in Queen’s English vs the US. Some innocuous words in the US are quite offensive in the UK and the same is true throughout the Spanish countries! This article helps explain the differences between Localisation, Translation and Transcreation.
- Make use of Spanish response templates If you’re unsure about your messaging, include Spanish templated responses to begin – showing that you’re at least willing to start the conversation!
Being inclusive doesn’t mean throwing out a message and expecting a new, massive, vibrant set of cultures to immediately come running and staying. To truly embrace diversity it’s vital to listen to the needs of these cultures, respond and act with their communities in mind, and grow online relationships through ongoing engagement in a manner that respects their specific moderation needs.
For more information about how StrawberrySocial can help you bridge the gap between your brand and global, culturally diverse communities (in many languages!), contact:
US – firstname.lastname@example.org
UK – email@example.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org