Welcome back to this week’s 12 Questions interview and podcast! This week we are back in London with the Head of Social Media for music streaming platform Deezer – Bianca Spada!
To kick things off let’s get a bit of background on Bianca, and how she ended up in the music industry side of social media! But prepare yourself… it’s a funny story!
Bianca moved to the UK to study Politics, but later found out that she hated it right from the start! Instead, she dreamt of going into fashion. But first, she had to finish her course. So, graduation came and went, and she found herself at what she thought was her dream job, optimising content and website traffic for a fashion magazine! As it turns out, she loves the bubbles and goodies, and HATED the pay – so naturally, she ventured off into the world of technology!
She joined mobile phone and technology company HTC, and jumped into social media with them! Then it was off to Huawei, where she’d dive even deeper into social media through various Chinese social platforms. And finally, although not her initial passion, music now consumes her, as she heads up social media with her ex-boss (now VP of comms) at Deezer.
Quite a ride huh? Now, let’s see what else we can dig up! Listen to the podcast, or read along below.
About Social Media In General
1. Which is your favourite social media platform?
I am a very visual person. I’m also dyslexic, so I don’t really like reading. If you combine the two, you get Instagram! I love Instagram. I love the way that we use hashtags and discover all the other accounts and other pictures. It feels a bit like a rabbit hole! You start clicking on different hashtags, and different usernames, and you end up in a completely different place from where you started. I could spend hours doing it! There’s so much there that you would never have thought you’d be interested in.
Find out about Bianca’s favourite Instagram account at 4:05.
2. What social media platform used most by your brand/agency?
We have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. And we have a different content strategy for each of them because they are different platforms for a reason. Therefore, you need to play with their strengths and weaknesses. For example, when I joined Deezer around 10 months ago, Facebook was a complete mess! Our reach was very low, and we didn’t know what to do with it! So I started looking up big accounts with massive organic reach, like BuzzFeed, BT, Insider, etc. I noticed that their content was the key to their success! It was content people wanted to see. Our content was too boring. So we completely changed the way we created content. Now, Facebook is one of our best-performing accounts. We get thousands of likes every day… we used to be happy with 10!
Facebook targeting is amazing! You can get really granular. And we need to play that to our advantage because all the other platforms aren’t quite on that level yet.
3. In your opinion, what is the future of social media and what platforms will lead the way?
This is like the “million-dollar question.” There are always signs. One thing I find interesting is the most downloaded apps. Although a lot of them will be games, when you start to see a social media platform climbing week after week, that’s one you need to watch out for. That’s how it happened to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Many people are talking about Musical.ly at the moment; especially in the music industry. It’s something that we’re looking at very closely. The target audience is good, because it’s quite young, and fills a void in the industry. So it’s something we should be looking to take more advantage of. We’re just currently trying to figure out our angle. We are still figuring out Snapchat, to be completely honest. It takes some time. You need approvals, resources, etc. It’s always a risk! Even if you see the signs that it’s going to be big.
About Great Social Media Campaigns
4. Tell us about one social media campaign you liked most this year.
I have to say the Taco Bell campaign was good. It smashed any standards Snapchat had before. It was it was fun. It was something that people wanted to test. It was also very personal. You could share it very easily, and it was branded. It was so simple, but so well done. They understood perfectly what the audience wanted from that platform, and gave it to them. It’s as simple as that. We tend to over-complicate things, which can often lead to the demise of a campaign.
The other campaign that I really enjoyed, was the #EndangeredEmoji Twitter campaign from WWF. They realised many of the emojis we have in the animals section are in danger of extinction. So, it was all about tweeting your favourite animal. But it also raised awareness to the fact that in a couple of years, these emojis will disappear if we don’t do something about it. It was great, and I really admired the way they did it. They tapped into the massive trend of emojis!
We're using #EndangeredEmoji to save real animals from extinction. Please retweet to sign up and help. pic.twitter.com/hX1p1GEDZ9
— WWF (@WWF) May 12, 2015
5. What about the latest campaign your brand or agency was involved in?
So there’s one I love – maybe because it came from the comms team – my team! It’s called ‘Dare to Discover‘ and it’s based on people that push the limits – who also have a unique take on music. We only have two episodes at the moment and they stem from conversations in the team about how we do many ads and strategically place them before videos, or in places where usually people are. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, we wanted to create branded content that people would want to watch.
So, we went on the hunt for “people stories” and we found this woman called Harnaam Kaur. She is the world-record holder as the youngest bearded lady. She has an illness that many people apparently suffer from. It causes women to grow facial hair. She was bullied. She wanted to commit suicide. Her story is really really deep. She found she could love herself through music. She is really into Grime and has many friends in the music industry. And now, she’s a human rights activist.
She talks at many events about self-love and being able to accept yourself, no matter how you look. Her story was fantastic. We realised many people identify with her because they too face the same illness. She took us to different places where she introduced us to her friends who are into the Grime scene. Grime is massive in the UK, and at Deezer.
Check out another episode, with Atlanta-based, white Jewish Rapper Sammy K, here. Learn more about Deezer’s support program for upcoming artists and genres at 11:09.
6. What is the most important thing brands and agencies need to keep in mind, in order to build a successful social media campaign?
Well, it’s content. I think ‘content is king’. But there are two other elements that I feel are growing in importance. One is influencers. So, find the right person to be featured in your campaign, who can also showcase your message. It has to be authentic. There’s nothing worse than a fake influencer. There are examples everywhere, unfortunately. Kendall Jenner with Pepsi is one of them. It’s just an example of “you didn’t really think through it.”
You have to like try to find people who love your product. There are amazing campaigns out there – i.e this one with David Beckham and Belstaff. Belstaff picked up on the fact that the star is a huge fan, and made him the face of the campaign. Since then, he’s even designed a collection for them.
It’s also important to find the right channels. We do a lot of work on Facebook pages that have massive reach. And we talk a lot about content with them because at the end of the day content is key to their success. So I think those are the three most important things.
7. In your opinion, what is the most important KPI to watch during a social media campaign?
I usually focus on two – one of which is the average watch time for video. The other is shares. The only reason I do these two is because when it comes to content it requires a certain level of commitment from the user.
Watch time requires their time. And time is GOLD at the moment. There are so many things trying to get your attention, that if you can capture your audience’s attention you know the content is good. The other thing is that shows their needs. If they are opening up to their personal circle, you know that content has touched them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it.
About The Future Of Social Media Marketing
8. What will be the role of social media in the marketing mix of the future?
It’s a very interesting question, and to be honest, it’s a difficult one to respond to. But what I can tell you, is that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg!
When I spent time in Asia, I realised they are definitely ahead of the curve. Platforms like WeChat enable you not only to talk to your friends, but view content from brands, have personal conversations with them, pay in store, order a cup of coffee, or buy your music. So it’s the daily integration with services that we are slowly starting to see Facebook bring together with the purchase of WhatsApp or Oculus. They have already taken a couple steps in that direction.
I think social will be at the centre of everything we do.
Find out how Bianca feels about TV ads at 16:14.
9. What would you say the biggest obstacle is in the field of social media marketing?
Old school thinking. I think many people still think we are in the Mad Men era. That it’s all about advertising. Ads, ads, ads… Ads belong on TV, not social media. People don’t consume that kind of content and don’t actually like it. But you can say the same about the whole digital ecosystem really.
10. If you had to give one piece of advice to someone has just started in the industry, what would it be?
I would say, observe, test, and optimise. It’s so important to look at people who do content well, have a good tone of voice, and are really good in terms of interacting with people. Test it see if it works for you and if you can replicate it. Get bits and bobs that you like from different people, and optimise it. When you work for brands you also need to keep in mind that they have certain ways of doing things, and that’s completely fine. But there are best practices that you can improve – i.e. their social footprint. And that ‘s because platforms change all the time. Five years ago images were super hot. Now, you post an image and it doesn’t get as much organic reach. Today is all about video, 360 videos, and very soon augmented reality.
11. In your opinion, what is the ad format of the future?
The future of ads is not an ad. We’ve spoken before about the fact that ads are not something that people across social platforms take very well.
However, if you have an influencer who has taken a beautiful picture of the Maldives, and there is a coke in the middle, people accept that. But, the moment it becomes all about your product, you’re stealing time. That’s when it gets… bad!
12. Finally, tell us one thing someone would NOT be able to find out about you from looking at your social media profiles?
It’s not really difficult for me because there’s one thing that I never share with people apart from my team. But I have an Instagram and Twitter account called @foodwithlegs. It’s all about food! I’m obsessed with food! Basically, it started as a joke, and people really started enjoying the pictures. And now, I feel the pressure to continue building it. I take random pictures of people with food all over them in some way or another. Whenever I travel, that’s what I do!
People seem to like it, so… a website is next!
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