US Hispanics have the power to determine the success or failure of political initiatives. Many times we hear the comment that “Hispanics don’t vote” without considering that politicians have the responsibility to motivate Hispanics to vote and become involved in local issues. According to a 2014 Nielsen Report, 77% of Hispanics have access to a Smartphone, which opens the door for institutions and politicians to connect directly through different digital platforms. That’s why, in order to engage this population, campaigns must gear up for Hispanics in the Digital Age by implementing the following strategies.
Tell your story or someone else will
Google search and Social Media are important digital platforms to monitor the reputation of a politician or institution. There must be a fast-response team ready to anticipate any negative comments or articles, and to position the campaign’s message. For Google, the campaign must earn a spot (or advertise) on search results that constituents are looking for. Meanwhile, social media platforms allow campaigns to build an electorate profile and it’s a great way to reach this audience.
Hispanic-Friendly Digital Footprint
Politicians must embrace Hispanic culture through their language. Google reports that almost half of Spanish-language searches are done on mobile devices, and there has been a 45% growth in government search queries in Spanish since 2011 (Google Internal Data). Consequently, providing Hispanic-Friendly digital media can help your initiatives to connect government with this audience. In many cases translation is thought to be the answer to create a connection, however Hispanic outreach is not as simplistic. As a community, Hispanics are interested in particular issues, and have different set of values and priorities in comparison to the general population. The way to go is to create a Content Strategy for Hispanics and avoid translation, that way you get it right from the start.
Become the Connection with the Community
This strategy is about nurturing relationships with the community by providing useful and relevant information, and bringing awareness about what is getting done by the candidate/government as well as what’s in the works.
The campaign must first determine what type of perception we want to create and which issues will resonate with specific voter groups. According to a Google report, U.S. Hispanics are increasingly going digital to get their information. When it comes to government, Hispanics are 16% more likely to visit government websites than the general population (Hitwise/Google Custom Research, October 2013). Therefore, on specific issues, a politician can become a trendsetter in the minds of the voters by providing relevant and valuable content while sending the right message to the right audiences.
Create Connections on a Regular Basis
The Hispanic community loves to be listened to but there are many politicians and institutions that do not use social media the way it was intended to. Hispanics on social media reply, criticize, support and ask for action through social media. There must be constant interactions, but many times Hispanics reach out to their representatives without getting any answers back. Social media is about creating a dialogue and politicians must provide information about what they are doing, while also guiding the community with next-steps so they may be part of the movement. Give them the tools, inspire them and Hispanics will respond. The community is eager to make a difference!
A Polític@ 2.0 must become the trendsetter and the source for community action. What’s the point of following a leader online if that leadership is not inspiring people to make a difference. It is time for government and politicians to win that trust and motivate Hispanics to take action for common goals.