How Latino Audiences Can Save Your Facebook Page

May 25, 2018

Article ImageWe’ve all seen the changes in our Facebook newsfeeds recently— more stories and posts from our friends and fewer from brands. This year, Facebook has had to adjust to pressure from all sides—audiences who are losing interest, advertisers concerned about costs and quality, and government questions about fake news. Many of the changes that platforms like Facebook are making are focused on the original intent of the medium: helping people connect and simply be social. This is evident in last year’s promotion of Facebook groups and this year’s emphasis on “meaningful interactions.” The reality is that these changes are fundamental to how social media works for brands and will impact not only what creative works but also who brands need to hire for social media management and the value of pursuing particular audiences. Mark Zuckerberg has clearly stated that the changes are necessary to improve overall user experience, something which sits at the core of Facebook’s identity.

Highly-engaged fans--meaning the people who post, comment, share, and reply--are the people brands need to cultivate. Previously, a post that drew lots of likes or lots of comments was deemed a success. Today, actions in isolation (a.k.a. one person liking a post or giving it a thumbs up) is not enough. Posts need to act as the seeds for conversations between people. A brand post that asks if you like a product or idea will no longer be rewarded if people simply comment back to the brand, without their friends joining in on the conversation. Posts designed as comment bait—the type that require you to comment to enter, or as a simple one-way question—are now highly discouraged in favor of posts that create genuine discussions. This seemingly small change is a fundamental shift that most social media departments have, admittedly, not yet fully adjusted too. The simplest way to make these changes real throughout an organization is to pick a very specific, highly-engaged audience, and ignoring all others, create posts that work for them. I’d argue that this audience should be Latinos.

Latinos represent the ideal audience Facebook needs to energize the platform because of their existing social media behavior. The fastest way brands can adapt is to focus on this Latino audience, and taking steps to build a core fan base that can impact their platform’s performance and the approach of their social media management teams.

So, why are Latinos more engaged than any other audience? For starters, they’re unique for a few reasons. Latinos tend to be more open to brand content and are frequently willing to engage with brands the way many would as friends. But most importantly, they converse often. As a Hispanic-focused multicultural agency, we have always known that our Latino followers love to comment. Our social posts on brands’ Latino pages routinely drive an exceptionally high engagement rate. The difference is in the quality of the engagements which tend to spawn ongoing conversations, either started by a comment on a brand’s post or via a share to a friend. Simple comments are rarely left unanswered, particularly if it’s from a mom or an aunt.

But beyond the volume of the activity, the tone is equally important. A key difference we frequently have to explain to clients is that Latinos (whether speaking in English or Spanish) tend to be more positive with brands. Fear of negative comments and risks in social media from trolls have kept many brands from focusing on community conversations. But our experience has shown that not only are Latinos significantly less likely to post angry comments about a brand, they also tend to self-police the community, keeping the conversation on track and not allowing for ongoing bad behavior. These traits make Latinos an ideal audience to start with when looking to build robust brand communities. Keep in mind that social media communities thrive when they have a highly active core audience that is both inclusive and inviting.

The act of focusing on this sharing, friendly core audience will also help change the culture of a brand’s social media team. For too long community management has been a secondary task left to interns or junior staff. But a thriving brand community requires an active, creative presence. When social algorithms favor posts with active comment sections, more and more of the most valuable brand visibility will no longer be in the initial post developed by the creative team, but in the comments—which remains almost uncharted territory for branding, a vast area of social real estate that has been mostly ignored by creative teams. Yet this is where personality and relationships can shine through. Having a Latino core audience can help unlock this friendliness as managers can partner with them in natural, ongoing conversations that often shift seamlessly between English and Spanish demonstrating a level of inclusiveness which is valuable to any brand.  

Shifting to a community management-centric social approach will alter social creative development, reporting, and brand sentiment. By placing Latinos in the center of social community strategy, brands can leverage a tendency toward well mannered yet lively conversations that will move the eyes of users, marketers, and brand managers down the page from single posts to lively comment sections where audiences have the most fun.

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