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Posts Tagged ‘social media Latinos’


I knew the moment that I published a video challenging some in the Latino blogosphere to step up its game and be consistent in how we share and produce content when it comes to portrayals of Latinos on television, that I would catch some flak. I knew that my intentions and integrity would be questioned, and that some would see me as a divider and not as a uniter. I seriously thought this all out and the consequences it would bring, but in the end, I felt that I had to say something in public with the hope that we can all have a real dialogue about this.

I still stand by the fact that we do our community a disservice and mislead readers when we as bloggers participate in sponsored campaigns that speak to the “new, fresh” original programming for US Latinos when in fact we are just getting the same old, same old. (In this case, a cop show from Colombia, which leads into a show about a Colombian drug dealer. Five times a week. In primetime.) I also felt that we miss the point when we do solicited reviews that arise from a sponsored campaign and then all the reviews being published about MUNDO FOX’S “Corazones blindados” are highly positive. Who would have thought that every blog I have read from this sponsored campaign has been positive? I have yet to see one negative review. (If there is one, please post a link down here and let me know.)

What is interesting is that now I am getting criticisms for cutting down my colleagues and questioning their ethics. I have already been told that I  don’t have a clue because one blog in question has a clear disclosure policy and all their disclaimers are at the end of a post. I get told about FTC guidelines, not doing my research, and I also get called out for tearing the community down. I have also gotten a few private messages basically telling me that I was irresponsible and divisive. However, I am encouraged by the fact that I am getting more responses from people in private and some in public who have said that this issue should have been brought up. They key to all this is simple: agencies and bloggers can do all the sponsored campaigns they like, but please don’t rope along the community using a sponsored campaign that proudly proclaims that FINALLY something different is here on TV when in fact, it is just more of the same.

Yet, instead of having a real discussion about stereotypes in Latino media, I am now being called unprofessional for not telling the truth about the blogs and disclosure. I am now told that I messed up and that the sponsored posts are not compensated and that I missed the whole point about what a sponsored blog is.

Here is what is wrong about that specific criticism (and I am still waiting to hear about the bigger point being made about Latino stereotypes, which is the main point I made in the video): I still stand by the fact that many influential blogs in the Latino space are not being transparent enough about their disclosures. I also understand that people need to make a living by blogging. I am just suggesting that the disclosures need to go beyond a policy one someone’s page that quite frankly, no one reads anyway when they are reading a post.

Transparency starts with the blogger and the agency that promotes that blogger, and in the end, whenever I am in doubt, I alway ask myself: What would Chris Brogan do? Now, Chris is the first person to tell you that sponsored blogs and getting paid for your posts are good things. And he offers a great link for all bloggers to create their own disclosure policy (by the way, I don’t use a general disclosure policy on this personal blog because when I do, I try to disclose it up front on a post-by-post basis. The same goes for LatinoRebels.com)

However, because Chris is Chris and he always goes out his way to raise the bar, he is extremely clear when his posts are sponsored. For example, look at what he does in this case:

From this one example from Chris, what do we see?

  1. A clear “Sponsored Post” leading the blog title.
  2. A very strong and visible disclaimer that is in a larger font and clear. We know immediately, before we even begin to read the post, that is a post that a brand sponsored for Chris. He also says that his opinions are his own, 100%. In addition, the content of the post is his, original, and he is honest about the review. He also says that the brand suggested he write about certain features, but in the end, Chris just writes his own opinion and lets his review speak for himself.
  3. He goes beyond the FTC guidelines and doesn’t hide from the fact that he is doing a sponsored post.

What Chris does here is set a very simple and honest standard that all bloggers and agencies should aspire to. Instead of vague unclear statements at the end of a post (how many people read disclaimers at the end of a post anyway?), be up front and clear. Don’t assume that people will go click on another tab on your site and take the time to read your 300-word disclaimer policy. And also if you say you are part of a sponsored campaign, explain that before you get into writing your review, and be ready to answer the questions as to why most of the posts in the sponsored campaign are very similar in intent and scope. Learning about the fact after reading a sponsored post you didn’t know was sponsored to begin with only leads to disappointment for your readers and raises ethical issues that may or may not be accurate in your mind, but they still raise questions. Then explaining via comments and messages after the fact only begs the question: why weren’t you up front with it at the post level at the very beginning of the post and follow an example like the one Chris did?

Other questions I think that bloggers should consider regarding sponsored posts:

  • Is this something I really want to promote to my readers? If so, how do I find the right balance between writing for or about a brand and not sacrificing the relationship I have with my readers?
  • What is the intent of the brand or agency? Is their goal just to get the word out to take advantage of what you have worked so hard to build, or are they really sincere in promoting you as well? This relationship is a two-way street, and brands are no longer bigger or better than the blogosphere. They are equals, and will they treat you as such? The most successful campaigns I have been involved with have always allowed the blogger to be independent from what the brand would like you to write about, and yet these same brands have also promoted the blog posts on their own networks and pages. That type of arrangement becomes a true two-way relationship.
  • Do you want to monetize your blog and is working with a brand the best way to go? Have you thought of other ideas, like creating your own products (like t-shirts, books, etc.) or starting your own commerce site of your favorite things where you can become an affiliate and earn a commission? Why do you think you need brands? Seriously ask yourself that question, and be honest with your answer. If you want to write for brands on your personal blog and get compensated for it, then it leads to 100% transparency every time you write about a brand, even when you tweet or share your links to social networks.
  • Why is the benefit to you of establishing a sponsored relationship? Do you need brands to help your blog get more readers or do you want to make a living from blogging? If you do, ask yourself, “What would Chris Brogan do?” That is always a great place to start, because Chris is all about complete transparency.

So I hope this at least gets a real discussion going and allows for more opinions and thoughts to be shared. As for me, I can say the following without hesitation: I have no issue with sponsored posts or campaigns if they are done authentically and with the right intentions. For me, promoting a new Spanish-language channel whose primetime weekly lineup is all about cops, criminals, and drug lords and saying that it is programming worth watching for US Latinos is wrong. Influential blogs need to know that many people are watching and reading them, and this is still a very small and connected community. I know many others feel the same way as I do, and if my mistake was sharing my opinions about what I find to be a misleading practice and not good for the overall representation of the US Latino market, then I will make that same mistake again.

I really hope that we begin to discuss what I feel is a big issue in the Latino blogosphere about sponsored campaigns. As leaders who have been there from the very beginning, promoting a brand that has done little (so far) to advance the portrayal of US Latinos in mainstream media just doesn’t cut it for me. That is not being divisive. It’s just expressing my opinion and wishing that we as a community are more united in our demands for more quality content from mainstream networks.

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One of the most amazing facts about Facebook is that Latinos are everywhere. Our friend Gus Razzetti offers some serious analysis about why this demographic is so strong on social media’s top platform. He writes:

Not so long ago, recommending digital marketing to target Latinos was a very uncomfortable conversation to have with a client. Fortunately, those days seem to be over. Supported by strong research, clients are more familiar with the growing importance of digital among Hispanics (social media, mobile, etc). As part of that (now easier) conversation, Hispanics and social media is becoming one of the hottest topics.

And clients are right. In just one year, as the total Latinos online audience grew 16 percent, the number of Latinos on Facebook grew 2.8 times. In March 2011, the amount of Hispanic Facebook users reached almost 22 million. That is, 70.2 percent of all Latinos online are active Facebook users versus 29.1 percent one year before.

We are seeing not only reach but true engagement. Latinos spend more time on Facebook: 52 percent of Hispanics use Facebook at least weekly, spending an average of 29 minutes on social networking versus White Americans who spend 19 minutes.

While major brands like Univision (latest stats as of March 10, 2012: 316,187 likes with a 7% Facebook level of engagement), Telemundo (227, 351 likes with a 10% FLOE) and Mun2 (158,608 likes with a 3.2% FLOE) have strong and active Facebook communities, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of independent Latino Facebook Fan Pages that have achieved impressive results. Also, artists like Calle 13 are on another level in terms of likes, but their FLOE is still low (900,775 likes/3.5% FLOE).

Here are some of the pages we have seen in terms of raw fan numbers. (all stats taken on March 10, 2012). It is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and if you would like to have your page added to our next report, just comment on this post with your Facebook URL. However, what is interesting to note is that a key metric in all this now is FLOE. Raw numbers are good, yet any brand that is constantly engaging its community on a consistent level is creating more active and interested communities. Like we tell our clients all the time, you can have all the people in the world following you, but if you don’t have people talking about you, those numbers mean nothing.

A good Facebook page, in our opinion, should achieve a consistent 10% FLOE for over three months to really impact fans and increase brand loyalty. Facebook Fan Pages are a dime a dozen these days, and unless you aren’t engaging with your fans and they aren’t engaging (both in good ways and not so good ways), you are basically talking just to yourself and your inner circle. You don’t capitalize on how you can use social media and your investment in it to actually convert your strategy into business growth (if indeed that is your goal but in the end, we can all agree that everyone wants to be noticed as a group, brand, organization). How you make your audience get more engaged takes consistency, good content, true curation (it’s never about YOU, it is always about THEM), and just old-fashioned hard work. Anyone can get someone to like a page, it is what you do with it after that and how you support similar pages and communities that matter. Brands that are serious about engaging a very active Latino Facebook community need to understand that big numbers need to be tended to, like one tends to a garden. Patience, dedication, authenticity, and support. Then you get engaged loyal followers.

Here is an initial list of pages we have seen and either follow or are aware of. Again, if you would like to have your page added to our next study, post your like at the bottom of this post. Our goal is to eventually have a list of about 200 Latino Facebook Fan Pages that we will track FLOE every month. The reason we are doing this? To show our world a clearer real-time picture of where to find this coveted demographic on Facebook and who is engaging and interacting with brands, groups, and organizations at a given time.

Mexican Word of the Day:  1,222, 339 likes/2.4% FLOE

So Mexican:  561,107 likes/10.4% FLOE

Latinos in Social Media (LATISM):  135,360 likes/1.6% FLOE

Cuéntame: 74, 587 likes/2.2% FLOE

American Latino Museum: 69,981/3.9% FLOE

Being Latino: 68,336 likes/6.7% FLOE

Fox News Latino: 41,391 likes/3% FLOE

Other similar pages (one of which I founded last spring) continue to emerge and appear. It is clear that the Latino Facebook page is now getting traction. Here are some other pages:

Voto Latino: 13,107 likes/7.6% FLOE

Latino Rebels: 12,546 likes/25.7% FLOE (my group’s Facebook page)

Remezlca:  9,236 likes/7.6% FLOE

News Taco: 3,794 likes/10.8% FLOE

Gozamos: 3,445 likes/7.7% FLOE

Univision News: 2,918 likes/12.5% FLOE

NBC Latino: 1,514 likes/16.5% FLOE

Pocho.com: 1,056 likes/16.7% FLOE

Pa’lante Latino1,078 likes/10.5% FLOE

Tu Vez: 494 likes/22.4% FLOE

So, here is the list in terms of FLOE, to determine a real-time picture of who is engaging people on Facebook. The key is that if you keep staying engaged and keep your FLOE around 10% at all times, as you grow your fan base, you will grow your reach. Of course, once you get into the really big numbers, your FLOE loses its impact since then it truly becomes a numbers game. 60,000 engaged followers is still 60,000 engaged followers, no matter what your FLOE is. But even so, if you did achieve that number, wouldn’t it be cooler to get that number up to 120,000 with just a more consistent social media strategy?

  1. Latino Rebels: 25.7% FLOE
  2. Tu Vez: 22.4% FLOE
  3. Pocho.com: 16.7% FLOE
  4. NBC Latino: 16.5% FLOE
  5. Univision News: 12.5% FLOE
  6. News Taco: 10.8% FLOE
  7. Pa’lante Latino10.5% FLOE
  8. So Mexican:  10.4% FLOE
  9. Gozamos: 7.7% FLOE
  10. Remezlca:  7.6% FLOE
  11. Voto Latino: 7.6% FLOE
  12. Being Latino: 6.7% FLOE
  13. American Latino Museum: 3.9% FLOE
  14. Fox News Latino: 3% FLOE
  15. Mexican Word of the Day:  2.4% FLOE
  16. Cuéntame: 2.2% FLOE
  17. Latinos in Social Media (LATISM):  1.6% FLOE

That is the challenge Latino Facebook Pages face, and our hope is to have everyone we know accept that challenge and grow together. Let’s make 2012 and beyond the Year of True Engagement and Relationship Building.

Remember, add your Facebook URL page here if you want to be added to the next study.

NEXT WEEK: We will study Twitter and other newer cool social platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Storify, and others.

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