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5 Ways Brands Can Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Using Social Media The Hispanic community needs brands to serve as advocates during Hispanic Heritage Month and year-round. Here are five ways brands can celebrate using social media.

By Christine Alexis Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 is just around the corner, and this year's celebration carries much weight. It is a moment of reflection that allows us to honor a community that has profoundly impacted the United States. Despite enduring a rough couple of years due to Covid, the Hispanic community is experiencing tremendous economic growth this year and even saw a sharp decrease in the unemployment rate. In addition, under the Biden administration, nearly half of Latino student loan debt will be forgiven. This forgiveness, coupled with the unemployment rate and other economic factors, will help further the Hispanic community's buying power, making brand loyalty one of the most critical areas for Hispanic marketing. That's why now, more than ever, the Hispanic community needs brands to serve as advocates during Hispanic Heritage Month and year-round.

Before diving into the best ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from a business standpoint, it's critical to highlight the difference between Hispanic, Latino and Latinx. Hispanic describes a person that is from or has ancestors from a Spanish-speaking territory or country.

However, this term has come under scrutiny, as it assumes that every individual speaks Spanish when they may only speak their indigenous languages. Additionally, this definition includes Spain but excludes Brazil, because Portuguese is the country's primary language.

Latino (shortened from the Spanish phrase "Latinoamericano") is a geographic term that refers to a person from Latin America or of Latin American descent. This terminology has less to do with spoken language and more with the region of birth or lineage. The term includes Brazil but excludes Spain and Portugal. In addition, Latinx is the gender-neutral term for Latino. It's also important to note that people can be Hispanic and Latino/Latinx.

Additionally, Hispanics are not monolithic, making celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month a bit complex from a brand perspective. However, to prevent confusion, this article will only refer to Hispanics — the data associated with this community and their cultural nuances. Here are five ways brands can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month using social media:

Related: Marketing to Hispanics: Why It's Not Just About Speaking Spanish

1. Celebrate the community's diversity by representing all races

There are over 60 million Hispanics in the United States, and this group is rapidly growing. The Hispanic community has increased by 70% from 2000 to 2018, compared with only 9% growth for non-Hispanics. This community is highly diverse and takes great pride in its culture and traditions. According to Nielsen, "45% of Hispanics agree with the statement 'I feel really good about seeing celebrities in the media that share my ethnic background,' which surpasses the general population by 37%."

Highlighting the community's heritage can be easily done by leveraging user-generated content. For instance, the Miami Dolphins shared a video celebrating their Hispanic fans on their social media channels. The football team collected pictures of their fans and put them together to make a short video.

Similarly, the Tennessee Titans also made a video compilation of their fans. Both the Titans and Dolphins videos were part of the NFL's overarching Hispanic Heritage Month campaign.

2. Celebrate creators in the brand's industry

Representation is vital, and in the case of Hispanics, there are a variety of industries where they are underrepresented. A quick way to initiate change and focus on this disparity is to spotlight key creators in the brand's respective industry.

In 2020, Netflix did an excellent job of showcasing Hispanic leaders. They created a microsite that contained a variety of genres, including "Award-Winning Films en Espanol," "¡Fútbol!" that had soccer documentaries, and "Food and Culture Across the Americas," which featured reggaeton artists, the popular show Selena the Series and more.

Other brands also made it a point to highlight creators in their industries. Twitch, for example, spotlighted Hispanic creators with special front page streams and panel content. In addition, Billboard created a playlist honoring Hispanic women artists.

Related: U.S. Hispanic Consumers: A Demographic Revolution in the Corporate World

3. Spotlight the organization's employees

Another fantastic way to celebrate this month is by having companies spotlight their Hispanic employees. Some of the benefits of employee features include increased social media engagement and strengthened employee connections. These efforts can also result in higher recruitment and retention rates.

An excellent example of this is Microsoft. They celebrated their Hispanic employees by posting a heartfelt tweet that took the viewer to a blog post featuring a few Hispanic employees. Similar to Microsoft, WWE posted their Hispanic wrestlers as a way of honoring the Hispanic culture.

4. Connect through culture

Seventy-three percent of U.S. Hispanics agree that it's important that their children continue their family's cultural traditions and that their ethnic heritage is an essential part of who they are. In addition, 71% of all Hispanics speak Spanish at home, either primarily or in combination with English. While nearly three-fourths of consumers feel a deep affinity towards the Spanish language, many companies are not marketing in Spanish. If a company is not actively creating Spanish content, it should consider doing so in the future. However, since traditions and folklore are also important to this group, brands should also include cultural elements in their marketing efforts. A great way to forge this connection is through the art of storytelling.

Disney Parks did an excellent job at this by featuring the famous band, Mariachi Cobre. As a result, the viewer connected with the band personally and understood how they achieved such success.

Another excellent example of this was the New York Islanders' initiative. The team featured a first-generation little boy, Dario, who aspired to be an NHL player. The Islanders documented his meeting with first-generation Cuban-American Islanders alum, Al Montoya. Like the Disney Parks example, the viewer was able to connect with Dario on a deeper level and root for his success.

Related: 3 Strategic Pillars to Build Loyalty With a Hispanic Audience

5. Foster cross-cultural bonds

Finally, brands can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by creating a content pillar that fosters understanding. This pillar should educate the greater community. In fact, according to UNESCO, education is one of the "best ways to stop the proliferation of racist and discriminatory discourses."

The Dallas Cowboys' efforts are a great example of a company championing cross-cultural connections. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the team posted a video showing their players trying to read words in Spanish. It was a fun and easy way to develop a cross-cultural connection with the viewer and promoted community understanding.

Hispanic Heritage Month is an excellent time for a brand to kick off its Hispanic marketing efforts. However, these efforts should occur year-round and have a deep focus on connecting with the Hispanic community through language, culture and family. As the youngest ethnic group in the United States, Hispanics make up 23% of early tech adopters (greater than their share of the total population). That's why it's critical to form connections with them wherever they are — which in this case, is mainly on social media.

It's also important to note that Hispanic consumers are extremely brand loyal, and companies that publicly take a stand on issues plaguing their community will have lifelong customers. Finally, it is recommended that marketing departments take this period to immerse themselves in learning more about the Hispanic culture. This educational dive will make them stronger marketers and allow them to forge authentic connections with Hispanic consumers.

Christine Alexis

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Director of Marketing and Communications, Americas

Christine Alexis is a marketing executive known for creating programs that highlight multicultural and international markets, build brand awareness, and drive thought leadership. She is the Head of Marketing and Communications for DB Schenker’s Americas division.

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