The subject of social media influencers is a tricky one for me. If you've read anything I've written on our blog previously, you know that social media is kinda my thang. I’m a huge proponent of using social media to support marketing efforts and create buzz around brands and events.
The problem I have with many so-called “influencers” is that 75% of them do not practice what they preach. Most don't interact with their communities at all, which I believe is the most important part of being an influencer.
An influencer should be someone you can model your own social media habits on, because they're always at the cutting edge of what's happening, helping direct change themselves. Isn't that what "influencer" means?
By my definition, a great influencer is someone who embraces the inbound approach to social (is never "salesy"), engages with their community, and shares great content. Don’t get me wrong; there are tons of great content curators out there, but right now I’m focusing on influencers who are the total social media package.
For this post, I'm focusing on Twitter as my guide. Let’s face it, other platforms just aren’t as flexible for engagement or content sharing. They can, however, play really good backup for an amazing Twitter presence.
1. Gary Vaynerchuk
It’s a well-known fact that I am a Vaniac, a loyal member of the Vayner-Nation. Gary has over a million followers on Twitter, but the similarities with other “top influencers” stop there. He, like me, is a huge advocate of practicing what you preach.
A true businessman, Gary has built two multi-million-dollar companies, has written 3 books, and is an investor in many current and up-and-coming tech companies. He's an ideal person to follow, not only for his social media prowess, but for his business knowledge as well. Join the #VaynerNation!
2. Dan Zarrella
You may have heard of Dan Zarrella before, and with good reason. He's HubSpot's "Social Media Scientist," but he has also penned four books and is a frequent speaker and guest blogger in marketing circles.
Dan's research on the psychology of social media has been referenced in hundreds of articles, and has even been featured on Entertainment Tonight. To really dig into some nitty-gritty social media knowledge, Dan is a great mind to follow.
3. Diana Urban
A former HubSpot employee, Diana is an inbound marketer and author. I have been following her for a few months, and her combination of personal tweets and informative content is juuust riiight.
Diana is a great follow due to her ability to mix personal and professional posts into her feed. She curates great marketing content to share with her followers, all while injecting her own unique personality into her tweets. This creates a strong relationship with her followers, a trait most companies and people could learn from.
4. Erik Qualman
Erik first caught my eye years ago. He produced (and wrote) a video that went on to be the most watched video about social media ever (here's an updated version).
This video gave the world a glance at the importance of social media with mind-blowing stats, like the fact that if Facebook were a country it would be the 2nd largest country in the world. Erik works with over 44 top-level companies (Starbucks, Google, Facebook, IBM, etc.) and is a Top 50 MBA Professor. He shares relevant business information and mixes in some community chatter and personal posts.
5. Scott Monty
From 2008-2014 Scott served as Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager for Ford. His expertise brought Ford to the forefront of companies using social media to execute a customer-driven company ecology.
In the early days of Twitter, Scott was one of my first follows. He was able to get Ford on board with the Twittersphere fairly early. Fun fact - Scott coined the term “Tweetup,” which is now in the Oxford dictionary.
Whether you follow one of these folks or the entire list, I hope you find a great social media mentor!
Until you do, just keep in mind that the keys to a great social media presence (for both business and personal accounts) are community engagement, sharing great content, and showing your personality.
Did I miss someone you love? Let me know and I can add them into my list, and give them a follow as well. Also, don’t forget to follow me @DrifterMama!
As long as you're polishing your social media skills...