As Global Social Media Manager for one of the largest retailers in the world, Mario Moreno knows what it takes to get things done – at the gym, in the kitchen, at the office, and especially on the social web. When he’s not flipping through the pages of Details and GQ (inspiration, he says) or hunting for the next big industry tool, you can find him teaching social media to a room full of burgeoning business marketers at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A. We were lucky enough to chat with Mario recently, so he could teach us a thing or two about what it takes to be social.

1. Alarm rings. What’s the first thing that goes through your mind before your toes touch the floor?

I always worry about how our Instagram posts did overnight, so I immediately reach for my phone and go on Instagram. I then check my calendar for the day to make sure I know exactly what commitments I have.

2. In what ways does your day start before you get to the office?

social media inspiration

From the second I wake up. I think of some of my best social media ideas on the car ride into work, listening to music as I get ready or watching the news in the morning.

You have to stay inspired and moving.

3. How do you fuel your morning?

The early bird catches the worm, so I opt for the activity that will boost my mental state – most of the times that is usually working out.

4. Do you have a social content calendar? How do you keep your content organized from day to day?

The social media world moves very fast, and things are constantly changing. Most companies are able to create a content calendar and are able to plan with their team months out; we’re not like that. We plan about one to two weeks in advance in terms of exact content. Generally, we have our moments, themes, etc. all planned out three months in advance, but we like to stay flexible and open to change – so we can insert newness as it happens.

5. Which departments do you regularly communicate with throughout the day to make sure your content is both awesome but also timely and relevant?

I have a very small team with stellar execution skills. They are equally creative, cross-functional and results-oriented. It is important you have people on your team who treat this like it is their own business. I am very fortunate in that regard. In addition, we work very closely with the Marketing, Global Creative, International, Buying and Ecommerce teams.

6. What’s your creative process like? How do you decide what types of images to create – and which channel to share them on?

social media alignment

To answer the question on the creative process, I love having conversations with my team. They are so smart and in-tune with how social media is actually used. I constantly clip images out of Details or GQ, and am constantly saving posts from other brands for inspiration. We also get a ton of UGC, so I love filtering through and seeing how our customers wear our clothes.

I am always so impressed by our customers; they inspire us and are very vocal as to what they want and expect from us as a brand.

In terms of how we share content across platforms, we definitely do not have a copy and paste mentality. High level, Instagram is about the lifestyle of the brand; Twitter is about relevant, pop-culture moments, promotions and conversations with our customers; Facebook is about new arrivals and new store openings; and Pinterest is about mood boards and wish lists.

7. Social media doesn’t sleep – especially when you represent a major retail brand. How do you balance work and play, all while ensuring you get shut-eye too?

I genuinely love social media. I love it so much, I even teach Social Media for Business Marketing as a professor at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles on the weekend part-time. However, I balance my life out by disconnecting whenever possible. I spend a lot of time working out or hanging out with my best friends. Aside from school, my weekends are mine. I don’t feel guilty if I cheat on my diet or stay out too late. You have to have some fun!

8. Name 3 aspects of your job that you absolutely love.

The creative freedom, the relevancy and newness of social media, and my team.

9. And, on that note, what are the 3 aspects you could probably live without?

Aggressive vendor follow-ups, last-minute changes and bandwidth limitations.

10. What are your favorite social tools of right now?

Curalate is by far my favorite – and I am not just saying that. It is such an easy, beautiful tool that allows us to gather the insight we need and also to schedule and publish without any hiccups. Curalate’s Like2Buy tool helped us make Instagram, a visual based app with no outbound links, into a revenue driver in a matter of seconds.

11. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a budding social/digital manager – or to someone who’s looking to break into the industry altogether?

forever 21 social media manager

Always do your research, and focus on optimizing performance. There are three areas of social media that will contribute to your success at any organization:

1. Revenue

Whether you use Omniture or Google Analytics or whatever, make sure you are tracking and aware of how much money you are driving through social media.

2. Visuals

Instagram is a huge focus for most brands right now, however, you always want to be proud of what you are posting, whether as an individual post or a collective piece of work. Your posts are your art and a visual representation of the brand.

3. Customers

You have to listen to your customers and understand what they want and like. There is no good in developing a strategy that your customers won’t react to. You need to really understand and become who they are.

Diligence, Dedication and a Demand for Excellence

If you’ve ever thought about what it takes to excel as a social strategist, wonder no more. Here, Mario takes us through a typical day at the office, and then some.

a day in the life of a social media manager

Tools for Social Success

With Mario’s insight, you too can master the job of Social Media Manager. If you’re interested in learning more about Like2Buy (mentioned earlier), and how this simple tool can turn your Instagram channel into a driver of traffic and revenue, you can find our full case study below.