Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Vincenzo Aprile, senior social media manager at Oceans Apart:

Carlota Pico 0:14
Hi everyone, I’m Carlota Pico from The Content Mix, and I’m excited to be here today with Vincenzo Aprile, who is Oceans Apart’s senior social media and campaign manager and has over nine years of experience in marketing and communications. Vincenzo, welcome to The Content Mix, and thank you so much for joining us today.

Vincenzo Aprile 0:36
Thank you, Carlota and welcome also to you, to my bedroom, to my house. We are all at home.

Carlota Pico 0:44
Yes, corona time.

Vincenzo Aprile 0:47
Corona time, exactly. Thank you so much for the invite.

Carlota Pico 0:51
The pleasure is ours. Vincenzo, to start off the interview today, I’d like to learn a little bit about your background, how you got to where you are today, and what you’re currently doing.

Vincenzo Aprile 1:01
Okay, first of all, I’m not in Italy now, I’m in Berlin. But I’m Italian and Sicilian, specifically from Syracuse. And I moved basically to Rome and Milan to basically proceed with my studies in brand management and marketing. And then I’ve been like, for five years around agencies working with huge brands as Sky TV all over Europe, I guess is known, Swatch and so on. And then I decided to move to Berlin for a huge opportunity in the sport and fitness area that is a brand known all over Europe, that is foodspring. And right now, as you mentioned, I’m a senior social media and campaign manager for Oceans Apart, a sportswear company just for women.

Carlota Pico 1:55
What makes Oceans Apart particularly interesting? For example, is it attached to a certain label, or brand, or type of lifestyle?

Vincenzo Aprile 2:06
I think it’s a mix of everything, you know. First of all, I believe that Oceans Apart is very good at creating a huge community all over Europe. Right now we are, like, focusing the marketing in France, Germany and Italy, but we basically deliver worldwide. And I think that the most amazing stuff on Oceans Apart is the community. Because our manifesto is basically to say, even though we are oceans apart, we are one. And I think that most of all, it’s, I mean, in this period, it’s amazing to say something like that as a brand and communicate it, because it’s what basically helps you to connect to the other people, and create a huge community. So the community is basically, also for me, like is the first step as a social media manager, no?

Carlota Pico 2:57
I was about to say that, that of course it makes perfect sense that you would be extremely excited about joining a company that cares so much about its community, because you are a social media expert. I will be talking a little bit about your experience in social media across the past nine years. But before we get into that, I still want to learn a little bit more about Oceans Apart. It’s a vegan-friendly company, right?

Vincenzo Aprile 3:21
Yes, basically, our clothes are totally vegan. You might say okay, but what’s wrong with not-vegan clothes? How’s it possible? Well, I mean, right now maybe in 2020, it’s quite easy to be vegan as a clothes company, but there’s still a lot of usage like leather or other kind of fabric, textile, that might be not that vegan. We are basically 100% vegan, and we are proud of it of course, and we express to our customers, and it’s something that basically they appreciate it. And mostly when we approach also to some influencers, they are very excited to say, “Oh my god finally, someone who is really vegan.” So yeah, it’s basically one of our values that we live, because our values is basically a conscious lifestyle, you know, we want to express this also in our community. And this is something that we started to do with the product, and then we also try to implement in our communication. But there are people that for sure, they will say community first, but community first thanks to product first, and that’s something that we basically tend to focus a lot.

Carlota Pico 4:36
What makes you passionate about social media, and what advice would you give to inspiring community managers?

Vincenzo Aprile 4:44
Okay, so I guess I need to come back like 10 years ago, when basically social media was starting to be something. Because I mean, it’s been more than 10 years that we are like in the social media era. And I would say that I’ve been always curious about what’s going on with this kind of new connection with other people. So also when I was basically moving to another city when I was studying, it was a way actually, social media, to get to know the culture where I was basically living. And this curiosity spark in me, basically it’s something that now I deliver in my job, everyday job. So what I would say for sure, just be curious, but like in a real way—not like yeah, I’m curious about it, I read some blogs. No, no, no, get dirty, like your hands must be dirty, and you need to test a lot and be curious. See what the others are doing, replicate but gets better. I think it’s something that I always do in every job, and when they see, how do you see our brand? When they ask me, how do you see our brand? Okay, but what do you want to be? And say, you know, we don’t know, it passes like that. They ask me, we don’t know what to do on social media, but we know that you are expert, so maybe you can test it. Okay, let’s do it. Like, I was basically spending night and day looking what the other company were doing, but also what we were doing. It was working, because only when you do like a proper analysis, I know that maybe it sounds very common to say starting from analysis. But when you start to study marketing, the first lesson at the university is like analysis first. And if you don’t know what’s going on around there, you can’t understand how to upgrade and become the number one. So that’s where you have to aim to be the number one of course—even if you’re not gonna reach because there’s a lot of huge company over there. And just be curious.

Carlota Pico 7:00
Definitely. That’s incredible advice to give inspiring community managers. You were talking about always trying to be number one, and trying to be number one goes hand in hand with KPIs, right key performance indicators. How are you measuring your KPIs on social media?

Vincenzo Aprile 7:21
I think it’s like a matter of a huge cooperation with the other department. Because for sure, we all know that our company is made of revenue. In order to achieve those revenue, you need to understand what brings you revenue. So you need to understand how your community react in order to have that revenue. It might be just engagement rate, remember, on reach and not on followers. And for sure, it might be also a single swipe up to the stories or more links into Facebook link or, I don’t know, it can be also like a voucher code that you put inside your podcast. Just imagine that there are so many trackable KPIs that you can put inside your ordinary content, that makes you understand if something is working on. You just need to understand how your community react. If your community react with new launches, so you understand that you need to produce a lot of products. So you go to research and development, then you say, you know, our community wants this, wants this, they react more on this, and we just understand that during a new release, there’s a huge revenue peak. So maybe we can go for releasing a lot of new products. Or maybe we just understand that there’s a lot of reaction with voucher code, because I mean, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to have voucher code in order to save money and have more? So it’s okay to do voucher code. You just need to understand how you can make it, you know that it’s profitable for you and for your community. So that’s basically what I would suggest. So I mean, there’s a lot of KPIs over there; it might be the reach, it might be the engagement rate, it might be the swipe up to link—just listen to your community. It’s the first thing that you need to know in order to understand how you can achieve those goals that in any case will be revenues. But how to achieve that? There are like single, simple steps, you know, the funnel: awareness, engagement and purchase. But how do you get awareness and engagement to reach the purchase? So you can have in a single step. It can be also with different platforms. I mentioned the podcast, we can mention TikTok, that is now spreading all over the world, but I mean, it’s been there for a while. So yeah, there are like, for sure, so many KPIs that you can take control. And for sure, there are not just one unique KPI, and this KPI is not gonna work in all company. Every company has different KPIs in a way they approach to marketing.

Carlota Pico 10:07
Excellent advice. I would like to focus on your company right now, Oceans Apart, you recently joined the social media team. And I want to talk about how you’re communicating to your audience. Oceans Apart is an e-commerce website that offers 100% sustainable and vegan-friendly activewear, as we touched upon at the beginning of our interview. From a social media point of view, how are you differentiating your brand from other brands out there that also offer eco-friendly sportswear? Because according to my research, in 2018, one out of every six products launched in the UK—although I know that you’re in Germany—but in the UK, carried a vegan claim. So that’s quite a lot of competition out there that are also fighting for a space in the eco- friendly atmosphere, environment, communities.

Vincenzo Aprile 10:58
As you say, there are some trends that I’m not covering in all the markets. And there are also a lot of niches. We just know that we should focus more on niches and not on mass media, in mass audiences. So what I will say is just to, as I said, listening a lot what they say—even though going through the DM (direct messages), they usually we just give to customer service, and doing customer service, trying to understand what’s the approach that the customer has with your product. It might be that it’s more into details. It might be that it’s more into voucher code. It might be that it’s more into the quality, the ingredient, or just, they love us because we are fun. So from this kind of listening approach that you have to your community, then you can understand what kind of content you’re going to produce. So what I’m saying again, is that analysis is also just staying on social media and commenting every single comment to your posts, to your ads, to your direct messages, and try to understand what people are looking for. Once you get to know each other, then you can create content. Until you’re not listening them, you’re just someone who’s just posting beautiful pictures on Instagram. In my work maybe, in a way I’ll have engagement rate, but remember that our goal is not engagement, right? It’s purchase. So I want an engagement rate that gives me like, that basically try to make a broad road towards the purchase. And this engagement rate can be created at the beginning, it’s not going to work for sure, so don’t get stressed. If… just imagine, let’s give some proper example. When I arrived in Oceans Apart, I was working, I was looking that there is a lot going on in the feed, like we are not posting them much details on the product. But people are looking to know how this fabric is made of. Or we just post three times per week. Why? Why don’t we post more? Why don’t we post less? What’s the process? So in the first time, I mean, I’ve been here for one month and I’m doing a lot of texts, test and text, different texts. So I just engage people, I just engage people with products and just express and go for educational posts, and I want to see how my community is reacting. Just understand where these community is coming from. Because then you need also to understand how you approach this community. In Oceans Apart, for example, it’s made basically from influencer marketing manager. So here it’s quite important to understand the scouting of the influencers, that brings me community. Because, just an example, in Facebook, sorry, in foodspring, when I was working in foodspring, it was made basically for performance marketing, and for other kind of tools—also influencers. But you know, when you have a different kind of touch point with the new customers, you need to understand how to approach them. So, if you have a lot of performance as there are basically into food, you can’t not have in your feed food content. Otherwise, I mean, I guess everyone just touch on the ads and say, who are they? I go in there, and I see totally different product, totally different approach and say, there’s something wrong here. I mean, it looks like a scam. So you don’t want that people think that of your content. So try to create, as I say, the funnel: awareness, engagement, purchase. Awareness is also our performance ads, because it’s how you get to know each other. Engagement is something related to awareness, but for sure you need to engage and give more and more info regarding your product or your service. And then of course, try to achieve the purchase, that is basically what we want to have.

Carlota Pico 15:27
Throughout our interview, you’ve been speaking a lot about how important it is to listen to your customers, to listen to your community, to engage with your community, because certainly one size doesn’t fit all. And from my research, you’re currently present in Italy, France and Germany. Does that mean that you’re also engaging with your community according to local cultures, according to local interests, or you doing it all one-size-fits-all type of strategy.

Vincenzo Aprile 15:57
You can’t. There’s for sure this, not acronym, but say the glocal, no? You go global, but you have the local, and in some way I might say that the 80% is for sure global, but then you need to adapt. I mean lately in Italy, there was like a huge topic about this coronavirus, and for sure also the lockdown that was very strict. You can’t expect that people react in the same way of Germany, where the lockdown was there, but not that strict, to allow them to go outside and training at the park. Just to let you know, in Italy, we weren’t able to go outside, not at all. So you need to show in your feed the situation that are basically homemade, so you create the home workout. But if in Germany, you are able to go outside, you can also say “Go to the park and do this workout.” So for sure the idea, it’s similar, so workout life. But the way it was basically prepared, it was adapted to the market. So I will say that, I mean, it’s Europe, it’s not like Germany, China, Argentina or Canada. Europe in some way we are similar. So you can understand that there’s a similar pattern that you can adapt from the global strategy. It’s not, I mean, it’s not, also UK is quite different from Europe, continental Europe. But when it comes from Germany, France, Spain, you know better than me, and Italy are very similar. And it’s also Western countries, so it’s very similar to adapt. For sure you can adapt in a different way.

Carlota Pico 17:53
Right, definitely. Does that mean, in terms of putting this into action, do you have different fan pages per market? Or how are you engaging with local audiences?

Vincenzo Aprile 18:07
Yes, we have different pages for market. And that’s something that helps basically because, it depends what kind of audience you want to approach, but I will say that at least Italy and Spain, you might say, and France are not very English friendly, like Germany. So I would say that a German copy, in English, sometimes I can see that as like some English texts. In Italy, it’s okay but not okay. So I will say that it’s much better always to adapt your communication any time.

Carlota Pico 18:47
Okay, so to translate for each occasion to Italian or to other local languages.

Vincenzo Aprile 18:52
Totally. First of all, performance ads. Performance ads definitely in the mother tongue, because you don’t know what is gonna happen. You know, it’s the first approach. So you want to be sure that people understand what you’re saying. And if you go for English, I would say that yes, you approach some people that can understand, but maybe they are not that interested into something just for Italian market.

Carlota Pico 19:23
Okay, that makes complete sense. I do want to talk about how you are marketing a vegan-friendly product. So what makes it unique or challenging to market vegan-friendly products compared to marketing other types of products, which are much easier to understand or have a larger user base?

Vincenzo Aprile 19:48
I don’t believe that having a larger user base is something good.

Carlota Pico 19:54

Vincenzo Aprile 19:54
Just to be sure. I believe, and this is something that I test in the past where I was basically managing the Facebook chat bot, with an amazing tool that I suggest: ManyChat. When I was working on niches, it was very, very easy to get what I want. When I was going on the mass, I’m just anyone else. And if I were, like, a brand born in the 70s, in the 60s, it’s okay to be mass. But when you’re like a brand that just born, like Oceans Apart, that was basically founded two years ago, I would say that going on a niche is something very, very helpful and a win-win.

Carlota Pico 20:42
Okay. So it’s valuable. So you suggest that even for large companies, zoom into your audience, target that audience and create a small community, rather than trying to target everybody at the same time and through the same way.

Vincenzo Aprile 20:58
It’s not gonna work. I’m sorry to say, but it’s not going to work. Just don’t think that everyone have the same needs, every one of us have different needs.

Carlota Pico 21:09

Vincenzo Aprile 21:10
It’s on us to understand what kind of needs. And just believe me that also, even inside the vegan niche, there is a lot of differences. So, just to let you know, there must be also some allergies, because for sure, there are people that have allergy to some kind of textile or some food, or whatever. Or it can be also that they are more into, I don’t know, the color, in the case of Oceans Apart; it can be all black, or it can be all pastel, it can be floral. So you can create those kind of niches also inside the niche. And it’s also like a more winning strategy, because then it’s basically you understand that I made this product just for you. Just believe me, I’m one of them that always wear black. If you create just a basic black, I say, okay, we just want to get the black niches. But then if you make something black with some details that emphasize more and more and more what I want to have when I have this product, no? I want to feel when I have this product. Then I just understand that it’s something made just for me, that I want that kind of details. And I’m not just a basic, standard user with a flat black, I don’t know leggings, or top, or bra in this case.

Carlota Pico 22:43
So interesting. I could go on and on about this all day, but unfortunately, our time is limited during this interview. Perhaps we’ll have the opportunity to have a follow-up interview in the near future, about how your social media strategy is performing and doing after more time at Oceans Apart, once you’re able to analyze that data. But before we finish up the interview, I do want to ask you one last question about social networks, and then we’ll move into a set of rapid-fire questions as well. What do you think is missing in the world of social networks?

Vincenzo Aprile 23:21
I think that as a social media manager, I might say that also sometimes we need a break. That means that we need some tool that can be basically open to do everything at once. I’m just saying about the schedule. I’m just saying about the analysis. There are some tools, are quite expensive. But they don’t do them all. Just imagine, just to schedule stories I always have a intern and people saying, you know, we want to publish these stories is on Sunday. But according to everyone, Sunday is Sunday, no? So sometimes it would be also nice to understand how you can approach this kind of topic, because it looks all machine, it looks like all well done. But if we want to go, and I don’t know also by later evening, nine o’clock, 7 am, 6am, because we want to approach people that are basically waking up earlier. So we need more tools that allows us to schedule and analyze how these things are going.

Carlota Pico 24:34
Right. Absolutely. Okay, well we are moving into our set of rapid-fire questions. The next three questions we’ll be asking about your recommendations. So it is in line with our previous question. I would like to talk about an app or tool that you can’t work without or that you can’t live without. Meditation tools are perfectly fine as well—whatever helps you create that life and work balance, or whatever helps you to do your job even better.

Vincenzo Aprile 25:04
More than an app actually, yeah, it’s an app. It’s named Drops. And it doesn’t have anything with social media. But since I’m living in Germany, and I still can’t speak German, it’s basically an app that allows you to learn a language or more words in just 15 minutes, and it’s working. But I do not in German, I do with a language that I will never, never basically, I think learn, that is Hebrew. So in some way, it helps me basically to memorize stuff that is very, very difficult to memorize. So different alphabet, different sounds from my typical sound. And this helps me to basically train my memory.

Carlota Pico 25:49
Oh interesting, how original! What an original response. What about a marketing influencer in Europe that you follow and that inspires you?

Vincenzo Aprile 26:00
In Italy, I love Giulia Calcaterra. It happened that I started to work with her. I met her for work. And I can say that sometimes I also write her like privately, and say that we are like social friends. I love her because she’s very constant in what she does. She does something that is very unique in Italy, and I might say also all over the world. So I say follow Giulia Calcaterra. I’m not paid for that. It’s not a deal. But really, I love her, the way she basically communicate a new kind of way, female and the sport fitness, very empowerment, I love her.

Carlota Pico 26:45
Wonderful. And the last question of today’s interview will be a hashtag that you’re constantly referring back to for inspiration, or that you just find very valuable information from.

Vincenzo Aprile 27:02
It’s not an hashtag, what I will say. But since I want to approach also to community manager, I will say that a very basic tip is to follow @creators by Instagram.

Carlota Pico 27:18

Vincenzo Aprile 27:19
It’s a valid profile, that even though it looks sometimes there are very standard tips, these standard tips sometimes we just miss, as social media manager, because we say “yeah, yeah, we can do it, yeah, I know that.” But do you do? Do you do properly? And sometimes it’s very helpful. So I will say to follow @creators on Instagram, that it’s very valuable as… I wouldn’t say, like, you know, hasthag is very volatile, it changes a lot, and it depends also from the period, so I wouldn’t stick to the hashtags, but to a profile that it’s always ready to rearrange the communication we do.

Carlota Pico 28:03
Okay, wonderful. Well those are wonderful tips, Vincenzo. Thank you so much for joining us today on The Content Mix, and for sharing your insights with our audience. It was a pleasure to have you here.

Vincenzo Aprile 28:14
Same here. Thank you so much, and I hope to be helpful for the next community manager, future of community manager, but for sure also for my colleagues, and for sure, we’ll keep in touch.

Carlota Pico 28:26
Absolutely. And to everybody listening in today, thank you so much for joining us on For more perspectives on content marketing industry in Europe, check out, and keep on tuning in, because we will be releasing interviews just like this one every week. So see you next time, and stay tuned for more. Bye!

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