The Power of the Influencer

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Growing up, I remember sitting around with my family, on Saturday night, to watch Sabado Gigante, a 3-hour variety show on Univision, similar to The Price is Right.  Only difference was there were no commercials.   

The host, Don Francisco, born in Chile as Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, a larger than life charming, debonair, trusted man, would move from session to session, contests, games, talks, interviews and sponsored content.  He would walk on the stage with the models, carrying a bottle of Tide Detergent, for instance, looking earnestly at the camera, making serious eye contact with us at home, ensuring we knew he was addressing us, and only us. 

And he would say “I played soccer this weekend, my pants got dirty…I used Tide and now my pants are clean.”  Obviously in Spanish, but that was it.  Mic Drop.  That was the Tide Commercial. 

To this date, all I can buy is Tide because Don Francisco said so.  He was family and we trusted him. 

This is the Influencer Model, used across industries for sales, marketing and branding efforts.  Often, organizations leverage spokespeople, celebrities and influencers in order to build trust and expand their visibility.   

The Latino community prioritizes Family and Trust as key values when engaging with an organization.   Of course, an organization, whether it be a law firm, community center, hospital or automotive dealership can certainly cultivate a direct relationship with the Latino Consumer (student, voter, patient or volunteer) traditionally, through continual marketing efforts, media buys, outreach and events.  That takes time and mucho money! 

Or you can accelerate the engagement process by leveraging the Influencer Model. 

Every day buying decisions get made based on recommendation and referral – especially if you’re Hispanic.  Hispanics are 33% more likely to follow a Celebrity or Influencer, people they trust and have a connection to.   So, who is influencing the conversation? Are those influencers influencing on your behalf? How to find your influencers? They may be existing happy customers. They may be media, bloggers or experts. Or just everyday people who “discover” you and feel moved to share with their hundreds of friends.   

There is also the phenomenon of everyday influencers… that is non-celebrities … regular people who influence their friends to purchase or take action. This is important because people trust their friends and non-interested third parties, strangers, especially on social and digital channels more than you or your brand.  

For Latinos, these every-day celebrities are Church Pastors, Community Leaders and Media Folks, like the Radio DJ.  I recommend you tune into the morning show of the Spanish local radio stations, like El Zol or La Mera Mera and you will hear stories told about their weekend which emphasize the best meal, the best club or the best supermarket… Just as with Don Francisco, the listening audience receives this commentary as “input and feedback” and acts accordingly, now visiting and patronizing those businesses. 

How can you leverage this Influencer Model with your potential clients (again, you can substitute Voter, Student, Patient, or any group you are targeting, particularly within the Hispanic Segment)? 

  • Seek influencers that share your values- If you are a health & wellness organization, consider aligning with fitness leaders, like Gina Baez, the Zumba queen in Baltimore, who hosts zumbathons to encourage healthy living, and ties her events to other health screenings. 
  • Seek trusted influencers with exceptional integrity and reputation- just because the individual is Latino with some visibility, do your due diligence to vet their reputation and performance is well received within the community.  As your spokesperson and partner, their reputation should be an asset not a Public Relationship problem. 
  • Invest in a long-term relationship- as usual, I recommend that whichever Engagement Tactic you pursue, you consider it for the long term, to ensure the community (and this applies whether you black, white, or beige!) becomes familiar with your presence, and determines that it is authentic, genuine and committed and begins to build a loyal and productive relationship. 

Amigos- invest some time in uncovering who the influencers within your world are, who moves them? Who drives them? Look outside of the norm and invest the resources to engage them as vehicles to further engaging the Latino community…. Now, I’m off to YouTube to relive my youth with Don Francisco. 

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