Latino population is a demographic that politicians cannot ignore. Latinos
are densely populated in some of the country's most politically
states and metropolitan areas, including almost 5 million in Los Angeles, CA, and roughly 1.5
million in both Harris County, TX and Miami-Dade County, FL.
Speaking at the Gov 2.0 Expo on Tuesday, Armando Rayo of Austin, TX,
vice president for engagement at Cultural Strategies, Inc., said that social
media is key to reaching Latinos, but that any social campaign needs to go beyond just the language and also address
Latinos hold dear is not their language," Rayo said of the expanding
ethnic group that currently makes up roughly 15% of the nation's
"but their culture, experience and traditions." Simply translating existing text into Spanish is not enough to connect with Latinos. Rayo
the importance of creating unique social media campaigns that will engage Latino
Among the character traits Rayo used to describe Latino
culture and how Latinos interact with one another are: respect
for authority and power, intimacy, social harmony and "recognition
of others as human beings" through small talk and strong eye
also outlined the predominance of female Latinos in business, or "mujer
power." By 2004, this segment of the population owned more than 500,000 companies in the United States, generating $44.4 billion, he cited.
Latinos often share their opinions with one another. Eighty-four percent
are likely to warn others about problems with services or products,
according to a 2008 Burson-Marsteller study. This presents a compelling
audience for social media networking, particularly when combined with
the increasing number of Latinos who have home broadband access --
76% in 2008 up from 63% two years prior.
media is a natural segue for Latinos," said Rayo, who himself is listed
in Austin Social Media's Top 100 list, adding that they are "social
creatures, and gregarious, and love being together."
social media campaign directed to the Latino community should
these cultural traits directly, Rayo said, but not necessarily in its
entirety. He referenced a Dr. Pepper commercial in English in which
the characters heard different types music when they opened a can of
the soda. One of the songs was Hispanic, which would instantly appeal
to a Latino audience, he said.
the essence of a message that captures the attention of Latinos,"
he offered. "A commercial can be in English, but with one person who
looks like them, or one word of phrase to catch their attention."
is important to consider Latino culture by creating new content for
a media message, not simply translating English text. Many English
can easily be lost in translation, Rayo said, such as the phrase
your ducks in a row," which would not make any sense in Spanish.
Latinos: 'They're here!'
social media must only be a part of an overarching campaign to reach
is not one specific place to start," Rayo told OhMyGov.com, stating
that it does not matter how one begins engaging Latino communities.
"But allow interaction to get offline."
politicians have faces, but no interaction," he added, emphasizing
the importance of a multi-layered campaign. "Provide acknowledgment
that you're in their sphere. . . . You
have to take steps towards engagement at the social media, traditional
media and grassroots methods."
From 2000-2007 Latino families
supplied more than half of the national population growth, according
to a 2008 Pew Hispanic Center study, with roughly 9.2 million births
in this decade -- the first time this number has surpassed the total
number of Hispanic immigrants.
2050, Latinos will comprise 30% of the U.S. population.
"Everyone talks about ‘the wave:' ‘the Latinos are coming!'"
Rayo said. "Well, they're here."