As the leading Hispanic media company in the U.S., Univision Communications Inc. entertains, informs and empowers U.S. Hispanics with news, sports and entertainment content across broadcast and cable television, audio and digital platforms.
Se Habla USA launched in 2018 as a 360 campaign to celebrate Latino contributions in the U.S. By 2019, the campaign evolved into a brand and digital-first platform focused on engaging the often elusive young, bilingual, and bicultural Latino audience— a priority given that U.S. Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group in the U.S., with a median age of 29.
While most young Latinos grew up watching Univision and have nostalgia and affinity for the brand, an increasingly fragmented media landscape has contributed to significant drift among these viewers. Se Habla USA seized the opportunity to re-introduce Univision to the young Latinx market in the hopes of communicating to them that Univision understands them and their uniquely layered lived experience. To do this, the brand launched on Instagram, a place where millennials already spend significant time.
A play on the Spanish phrase “se habla español” which means “Spanish spoken here,” Se Habla USA speaks the nuanced Spanglish that is second nature to Millennial and Gen-Z Latinos growing up in the U.S. The brand creates playful and authentic content that resonates with the duality of feeling fully Hispanic and fully American—while working hard to acknowledge and celebrate nuances based on country of origin and different U.S. regions.
To bring authenticity across content and community management, the internal team and agency that manage the brand wholeheartedly represent the target audience, offering an innate understanding of the U.S. Hispanic experience.
With the goal of posting at least once daily, the team brainstorms and ideates concepts one month in advance and executes and schedules the illustrations in weekly batches, allowing the account to be nimble enough to pivot and respond in real time to current conversations. Concepts and illustrations are representative of the breadth of the U.S. Hispanic community – inclusive of skin tone, sexuality, gender, legal status, country of origin, and region of the U.S. This brand’s firm policy of inclusion since its inception has generated significant engagement and follower growth, simply because finding a Latino cultural space that is truly inclusive to all is rare, given how complex it is to execute authentically.
In its inaugural year, the account’s engagement rate was 1.98% compared to the competitive benchmark of .95%. In November 2019, an illustration for Latina Equal Pay Day that highlighted the pay gap marked the account’s early testing of socially conscious content. The post performed 9x better than average, becoming the first “viral” post. Further content testing and audience insights showed why: the majority of the account’s followers are college-educated Latinas, encouraging the development of an educational and social content pillar which was strengthened by the social and historical events of 2020.
As COVID-19 hit, the account began sharing government and business resources and uplifting content. From March to May, the account’s engagement rate was 3.05%. In June 2020, an official statement in response to the country’s social unrest became the second-most successful post at 7.8%. Even still, nostalgic content continued to generate the most comments, leading to the launch of the blockbuster series, “Latino truths.” With a 16.5% organic engagement rate, the first Latino truths post of the series shattered the .95% benchmark, proving the hypothesis that followers craved more of this simple yet relatable content.
While the account is aimed at Latinos living in the U.S., it is important to recognize the distinctions between countries of origin as this is still a central point of pride for Latinos. For example, the “Spanish variations” series is one of the most consistently engaging. With illustrations of household items and various ways to call the item in Spanish, the comments section ignites because followers want to weigh in on the word their country uses, indicated by the flag emojis in comments. Engagement rate is 3.19% for this series.
Additionally, to assure inclusion of all Latino nationalities, the account partnered with Univision’s Uforia music brand to create country-specific music playlists for each Independence Day in Latin America. With songs in both English and Spanish, the response from the audience was overwhelmingly positive. The account received encouraging comments of people feeling “seen” and messages of gratitude, especially from those hailing from smaller countries, not usually highlighted in mainstream media. Quantitatively, the best performing playlist reached an engagement rate of 8.84%.
Se Habla USA is one of the only digital spaces where young Latinos have their culture, humor, experience, and identity represented in one place. The brand’s Instagram exceeded the set goal of reaching 10k Instagram followers within a year of launch. Within six months, the account surpassed 6,500 followers (gaining a monthly average of 1,150) and hit 10k around the 10-month mark – mostly organically. In this time, the team tested and finessed content pillars, identified and engaged brand ambassadors, and launched an online shop, selling over $25,000 in merchandise promoted via social. The account also developed a method for promoting priority Univision programs in a way that is natural and has been well-received by an otherwise untapped audience.
Primed to hit 20k before the end of the year while maintaining a 3.8% engagement rate, Se Habla USA’s followers are loyal: engaging with polls and contests, sharing the account with their followers, and even holding the brand accountable. The account receives an incredible level of love, support, and daily engagement from followers and the quality engagement and mostly organic growth shows that followers are real people, not bots, truly excited to be part of the Se Habla USA community.
Simply put, the secret to success has been to listen to what the community needs Se Habla USA to be and fully lean into that. The account has been flooded with comments and DMs with gratitude for being both comfortingly relatable and enabling historically taboo conversations that move the Latino community forward.