Interview with @FollowMario
I was able to sit down with Mario Moreno, a social media genius, and learn about him, his blog, his style, and how social media has played a vital role in his life and career. He also gave some tips for those of you who are looking to enter the world of social media marketing.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background.
My name is Mario Moreno (@followmario) and I am the Global Social Media Manager for one of the world’s top fashion retailers. That’s my 9 - 5 (if you can even call it that). In addition to that, I also teach Social Media for Business Marketing as a professor at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles and run my own lifestyle / fashion blog, FollowMario.com. I previously worked for GUESS?, Inc. as their Global Social Media Manager for 6+ years. In a nutshell, I’m a social media nerd - but a stylish nerd.
What got you interested in social media marketing?
I really fell into it. We are such a digital savvy generation, I saw an opportunity to really build on and craft a skill set that was fairly new to the corporate world and just ran with it. I was a Communications Project Manager at GUESS and would often think of better, more efficient ways to get our marketing message out to employees and customers. It all made sense to me; use social media to market and brand your company. Not only did I start to think about that through the lens of my work, but also through my own personal branding. I started to post photos of my outfits, travels and my life and people reacted. From that moment on, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Why do you think you have had such great success?
I have common sense and I trust my gut all of the time. Someone once told me common sense isn’t so common and that’s true. People get in their own heads and doubt themselves too often and then they fail and ask why. I don’t do that. If I believe in something, I take a step back and make sure it all makes sense and then if my gut says do it, I do it. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older to stop holding myself back. I also collaborate a lot. I love learning new ideas and perspectives and techniques. I always ask people what filters they use, how they shoot, what they like, etc. I love to share what I know and I love when people want to share things with me - that’s what social media is about right? Being social?
What advice / tips can you give someone who is interested in social media marketing?
- Before you do social media for a business or brand, make sure your brand is on point. No one will believe you if you can’t brand yourself.
- Start a blog, it’s an outlet for you to be more expressive on a different, more intimate channel.
- Know what you are good at. Are you conversationally driven, image driven or data driven - social media isn’t just about posting pretty photos.
- Pay your dues, social media is very new - so don’t expect to be a manager or director right away.
- Start following people who inspire you and keep you motivated.
Now tell us a little bit about your blog…
I like to call my blog, a lifestyle or experiential blog. The whole concept behind the handle “Follow Mario” isn’t because I just wanted a lot of followers, it was created out of the idea of sharing. I travel a lot and I like to do a lot of really random and different things on my travels. I am driven by experiences. Therefore, I wanted an outlet that I could bring my friends and family along with me. This way I could potentially inspire someone to travel or create their own experiences by being encouraged from mine. It’s not just traveling, it’s fashion, it’s lifestyle choices. I wanted to create this feeling of being that attainable friend. People take social media way too seriously and appear standoffish, I never want my followers to feel like I am excluding them, so I overshare.
Describe your style.
70% black 15% white 10% navy blue, 5% other. I really like basic pieces. I would say I am a cross between athletic and grunge. I’ve grown out of prints and patterns and am way more interested in texture right now.
Who in fashion has been an influence on you? and why?
Kanye West. He’s crazy as all hell, but he gets branding. He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t and he stand by it. I’ve learned to be a lot more like that, I trust what I like and I stay away from what I don’t.
Tell us about the shoot you had and the style you went for during this shoot.
I shot in Venice Beach, California very early on a Saturday morning. I always like to shoot in a new location and typically try to make a whole day out of it. I really enjoy Venice Beach because I like how there is no place like it in Los Angeles. It’s a little dirty, but it’s care-free. There’s this vibe that everything is easy and I like escaping to that. I shot with my good friend and photographer, Jeremy Perkins (@jarelion) and had a blast. Most of the photos we selected for the shoot where candids. I think there is something very honest about shooting in the moment and being with really creative people that get your vision. I wore Port menswear during the shoot. It spoke to me because it pays homage to that old-school athletic period. The fabrics and textures of the clothes looked very vintage-like but were really good quality, which is important to me. I like my clothes to feel durable. Later that afternoon, we walked down Abbot Kinney and sipped on some amazing coffee from Alfred’s Coffee Shop and picked up a few items. It was a good time.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
My day is pretty jam-packed, but I make it all work. Let’s see…
- 6:00 AM: Wake up and check Instagram (personal and work). I am my most awake and creative first thing in the morning, so I usually post a photo and then look for new profiles to get inspired by or fresh bloggers to potentially work with.
- 6:30 AM: Coffee and breakfast, I usually eat a well balanced meal to keep me going. Avocado Toast and Fruit.
- 8:15 AM: I then drive to work and start my day (an hour before I am supposed to be there), I like to have a head start and tackle all of my e-mails before my meetings.
- 9:30 AM: It’s non-stop meetings, vendor calls, social campaign planning and more.
- 12:00 PM: Lunch at 12 in the Financial Arts District. I love this place called Zinc, it’s a vegetarian hipster spot and it’s delicious. I’ll also check Instagram and maybe post another pic…maybe.
- 12:45 PM: back in the office for part two.
- 6:00 PM: Head to the Gym for a two hour workout (do this three times a week)
- 8:30 PM: Eat dinner. Usually Chicken and Grilled Veggies.
- 9:30 PM: Grade papers for my Saturday Social Media Class.
- 11:30 PM: Check Instagram and then Bed.
Be sure to follow Mario on Instagram:
Wardrobe provided by: Port_LBC