The Power of the Latino Professional Network

  |  December 27, 2011   |  Comments

Aiming to do more networking in 2012? First, you should know the groups that have already done the work.

summit
White House Hispanic Action Summit, Denver, Colorado, October 29, 2011

Not too long ago, I was reminded of a truism in the marketing world that too often digital/social professionals forget: if you're trying to reach people socially, it helps to know the groups who are already organized.

The learning opportunity came at an event I produced in June for Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). It was our second event in California, but our first venture in Silicon Valley. As was typical of these regional events, we focused on recruiting local leaders to help us with registrations, and we learned along the way about the organizations that already had a huge presence in the region. At the close of the event, I tallied the numbers and was surprised: close to two-thirds of all attendees were referred by two national organizations with local chapters: the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Going in, we knew that groups like these could be helpful, but we had no idea just how much.

If you're a marketer with a product or service that truly serves the professional or pre-professional Latino population, it pays to look at groups that have already done the work of organizing. There are several reasons why.

Peers

First, as many digital marketers have learned, when social works it's because a large part of the communications effort happens among peers. If you're new to a market or a territory (like we were in Silicon Valley), it's a lot easier to connect with people through their peers. This is a simple principle that's been practiced since well before the social media era, but today it's seen as a must-do. Of course, this puts pressure on the marketer to understand (a) which groups have organized peers most effectively, and (b) which points of contact make sense to work with at the beginning stages before the marketers themselves have been acculturated into the group. Having a good sense of what values and goals bind you and will grant you permission to mix with the group is paramount. Gaining admission to a well-networked group is a privilege, and you'll need to earn it.

Platforms

An equally important principle in social media marketing - but perhaps less known, and certainly less practiced - is that it's sometimes better to be a platform than it is to be an "app." The metaphor, of course, comes from the world of technology, where the trend over the last 10 years has been for tech companies to look for ways to make something upon which others can build. You don't have to be a tech company to think this way (for an example of this principle at work in the political world, take a look at this). In the Latinosphere, no one has yet attempted to build a sustainable platform that brings together all the different groups that represent Latino professionals. In addition to NSHMBA and SHPE, there's ALPFA, a national association of Latino business professionals and students (I spoke recently at one of its events), and the National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC). And also for students, there's the Latino Business Student Association (LBSA). In human rights, there's the National Council of La Raza, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). There are also many others. While each of these groups serves a distinct community, their agendas overlap in a number of areas and there's an opportunity to make each stronger yet still autonomous by providing a common platform on which they can stand.

Professionals

And that's where it gets really interesting. For leaders in the education and jobs markets, a common platform for professionals is a tremendous opportunity. Latino professionals are a meta-constituency for meaningful work in these areas. For government at the national, regional, and local levels, job creation has been identified as the number-one priority for the foreseeable future. The ability of Latino professionals to come together - nationally, regionally, and locally - is an extraordinary untapped asset. We're beginning to see leaders in government avail themselves to this opportunity (see, for example, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, a project that I informally advise on behalf of LATISM). But as the power of Latino professional networks continues to assert itself - both in their individual missions and in the aggregate - expect leaders in business to show up to the party.

This column was first published Nov. 29, 2011.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Giovanni  Rodriguez

Giovanni Rodriguez is an author, consultant, and public speaker on organizational leadership and digital/social communications. The views expressed in this blog are entirely his own.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...