As a social media specialist at MomsRising.org and a Latina who has published a blog for seven years, has two Facebook pages, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page and now a newly opened Pinterest account, easily the biggest misconception I have encountered is that Latinos are not online.
We, too, are online, but the fiesta is at Twitter. As of August 2011, an astounding 8.1 million Latinos, or 21% of the U.S. Latino population, were on Twitter. This is twice the rate of Caucasians and even within the tweeting Latino community there is a breadth of diversity in terms of race, socioeconomic background, immigration status and English-language capabilities. This is all made possible by the fact that anyone can easily and affordably tap into a Twitter account through a cell phone.
Most recently, I was reminded of this as I live-tweeted an event for MomsRising put on by Latino civil rights organization the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). MomsRising is an online and on-the-ground organization with over a million members, many of whom are Latinas. MomsRising also has a social media reach of 3.5 million readers on the blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Earlier this month, MomsRising tested a strategy to reach Latinos with information on the Affordable Care Act (or health care reform) by tweeting about a range of issues including ACA during a Latino State of the Union event hosted by MALDEF.
We used this opportunity to support the work of MALDEF and reach Latinos with information about the ACA by tweeting out questions — in English — and links to our member stories related to our platform of issues, including the economy, early childhood education and health care, specifically the Affordable Care Act. What struck us about this conversation was that a MomsRising story on how ACA would help Latinos was the No. 1 re-tweeted item of the 19 items we mentioned in that hour.
We were also very excited that these efforts resulted in two popular social media newsletters among Latinos picking up the story. Our ACA story headlined Las Blogueras (hashtag #lasblogueras), a largely Spanish-language Twitter newsletter with 15,000 readers. It was also highlighted in a newsletter by Latinos in Social Media (hashtag #latism) easily the largest online Latino community with 140,000+ Latinos. Both these newsletters are also viewed by hundreds of Latinos on LinkedIn, and for me personally, I was alerted of the mentions via e-mail.
Again, out of everything we tweeted during this conversation, it was exciting how much interest there was in ACA among both bilingual and Spanish-speaking Latinos (even though we tweeted in English). We view this as evidence that using social media is an effective way to reach Latinos with information about ACA – and I would add, any issue of importance to the U.S. Latino community.
To tap into this community, follow Twitter conversations at #latism, #latinabloggers, #lasblogueras and #hispz. Other popular hashtags with Latino youth and immigrants are #dreamact and #immyouth. I am happy to report that at least on Twitter, we are certainly not invisible. ¡Nos veremos pronto por Twitter!
What social media strategies have you used to reach Latinos?
Elisa Batista is a campaign specialist at MomsRising.org, a million-member organization advocating for policies related to family economic security, child health and ending discrimination against mothers. She collaborates with the organization’s campaign directors in reaching out to mothers through social media campaigns on the blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
She is also a bilingual journalist and award-winning blogger. She is the co-publisher of the popular parenting website, MotherTalkers.com, which was named a “favorite mom blogger” by Ms. Magazine. In addition, her writing has appeared at the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, FOX News Latino and Wired News. She has also won an award by Latinos in Social Media, an online organization of 140,000+ Latinos, for her use of social media tools to promote causes.
When Batista is not on her computer, she is shuttling her children or training for races. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, son and daughter.