Univision explains how to use 'cultural intelligence' to power social media strategy

Univision's Stephanie Ramirez talks about how a nuanced understanding of their target demographic shapes everything they do in social media.

social media strategies summit
Image: Erin Carson/TechRepublic

"Just because they're hispanic, doesn't mean they eat tacos," said Stephanie Ramirez, social media manager at Univision's online network for Hispanic millennials, Flama. Ramirez was the opening keynote speaker at the Social Media Strategies Summit in New York City.

It's a point that speaks to the importance of cultural intelligence, a concept Ramirez and Univision leaned on heavily when creating a social media strategy to support their new product.

In short, Flama, is an online destination for hispanic millennials comprised of short-form videos housed on YouTube, which launched in April. When targeting this particular demographic, Ramirez said the key was keeping in mind that their ideal audience is not just an ethnic group - they're young people, many of whom grew up bilingual and bi-cultural.

Ramirez also said that this particular demographic spends more than 8 hours per month watching online videos, which is about 100 more minutes a month that the average American customer. Basing Flama around short online videos made sense for the demographic.

Another way that thinking of bilingual and bi-cultural hispanic millennials influenced Flama was the decision to produce all the content in English. For example, one of Flama's short shows features Abuelita (grandmother), a little old lady who reviews products. One recent Abuelita video racked up 20,000 shares, Ramirez said.

Flama's social media posts are also in English as well, and they cover anything from a recent Puerto Rican pride day in New York, to funny graphics, like the "Hangover Taco," a video Ramirez said appeals to the age range, while not making any generalizations about the culture.

With regard to where those posts go, she said they consider the audience that comes with each platform, and then make choices about where to post what. The big goal is not to bombard their followers. And just because a new social platform is gaining steam, doesn't mean they feel the need to jump on board with it.

"Not every trend needs to be touched upon," she said.

One trend that Flama is keeping an eye on, is one specific to millennials- it's the pushback against the all-consuming nature of social media. The New York Times, for example, wrote about a game millennials are playing where they put their cell phones facedown on the dinner table, and the first person to check theirs pays for everyone's dinner.

In essence, millennials are looking for ways to unplug. "We want to be a little rebellious and not connect as much," she said. For Flama, she sees it as worth keeping in mind for their future strategy as a piece of cultural insight for this generation.

And building an engaged, loyal following could prove smart over the long term. Ramirez said that by 2050, 1 in 3 Americans will be hispanic, and with that comes spending power of about $1.3 trillion dollars.

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