THE ENSIGN DISCUSSES CELEBRITY, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND NEW YORK WITH
MIKE TOMMASIELLO, AKA @NYDOORMAN
Mike is wearing the AGOLDE PRESTON JEAN JACKET
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY & WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I’m from New York! Technically Great Neck on Long Island but I spent most of my childhood at my parents restaurant on the UWS, so I feel some pretty strong ties to this city. My mom is Mexican and my dad is Argentine/Italian.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO NEW YORK CITY?
Like I mentioned, I’ve lived here my entire life and I only left the state during college to study at GW in DC. I couldn’t picture myself living in another place at this point in my life. It’s cliche but New York City really is the melting pot of every culture and country, and I wanted to learn and immerse myself in as much of it as I could, so moving back was a no brainer. Not to mention my job is very New York centric.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT?
Absolute accident. My friend and I were hungover one morning after a particularly rough night at PHD (shout out to their OG doorman Alex Julian) and my friend hadn’t been allowed in. The next day I started an anonymous twitter account talking about nightlife and parties from the perspective of a doorman. It was pretty unfiltered and honest, which spoke more to the culture we were living in than the way I was saying it. I was working as a digital analyst at the time for a large digital media agency and I basically took the analysis and data that I was using to put together campaign optimizations and applied them to my own social media. This is before companies invested heavily in social listening and audience analysis. None of this existed before. I started managing my own social presence and grew it to a point that I then used it as a case study for brands and celebrities, found an agency to hire me and boom - what you currently now see was born.
IN ADDITION TO BEING A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE, YOU ALSO MANAGE BRANDING AND VOICE FOR SEVERAL CELEBRITIES AND BRANDS.
HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
The more I went out and got to know people, the more my work started to get known. A lot of the clients I have come via word of mouth from other clients. As the landscape for influencer marketing grew, I was able to grow my social media offerings with it. Celebrities started to see the value in investing in a social media strategist for their team since so much of their revenue was now being tied back to their social presence and given their busy schedules, they needed the help.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST GOAL YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR SOCIAL PRESENCE?
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
It sounds rather trite but at this age and with my background, my goal is to use my own social presence for social good and activism. Whether it be taking a stance on immigration rights, gender equality, poverty, etc - I think it's important that both myself (and everyone) use whatever influence they have to champion causes they truly believe in. My definition of success is constantly changing given the rate at which the landscape continues to change but eventually, I would like to lead my own agency that has clients that span the globe. This has been such a crazy experience and has afforded me so many opportunities that I would have never dreamed that it’s hard to not define it as already being successful.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH SUCH HUGE PERSONALITIES IN A DIGITAL SPACE?
It’s exciting! You never know what you’re going to get and the stakes are incredibly high. When you’re dealing with a celebrity with 5 million IG followers and 20 million twitter followers and 55 million FB followers, there is no room for error. One false step and their typo or post will get picked up by every outlet on earth and your relationship with that person will be irrevocably changed. At the same time, it’s great because you know you can help someone really put together a message that's going to impact millions of people all over the world and really change the course of their lives. It’s also a lot of sleepless nights, especially when your client is abroad in a different time zone and content needs to be approved and posted.
WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN FASHION RIGHT NOW?
Sustainability and heritage. I like that people are forcing brands to really examine what they’re about and why they create something. In a world where a brand’s rise and fall is tied directly to their hype, it’s great to see that people are looking inwards before they create. People are demanding more from the brands they purchase from and I think that's an important step in the right direction. The genesis of the garment is finally as important as the piece itself.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY BUMPING?
Rufus du sol! To me they represent a sort of endless summer. It’s great to just sit at home, spark a j, and blast it while I’m unwinding from a long day.
YOU’RE ALWAYS JUGGLING SEVERAL PROJECTS AND BRAND IDENTITIES.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF ORGANIZED & GROUNDED?
I have an amazing team that I rely on. I learned the hard way that I can’t do everything myself so I have a team of ninjas that I work with around the clock that allow me to look at the bigger picture for all of our clients and make sure we’re constantly growing and adapting to trends. We have a pretty streamlined process for onboarding brands and celebrities and we always make sure that we have a connection with the celebrity before we take them on. Like for example I won’t represent you if I can’t sit with you for a drink and have a conversation about life. If we can’t make it through a simple drink how are we expected to create something great? Having the luxury to pick and choose our clients helps A LOT because we can make sure that we’re personally vested and interested in the work we’re doing, almost to the point that the check becomes an afterthought. I worked too hard throughout my life to wind up doing something I hate.
Mike Tommasiello is a New York native and social media strategist. You can check out more of his work online on IG and Twitter: @nydoorman
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