When you are on social media, who are the people who you choose to follow and engage with?
You’re probably connecting with people who you find relatable, who could represent your brand well, and who have a similar philosophy and outlook as you.
What it really boils down to is who you admire and who you can learn from – at least, this is the case on a personal level. This will all depend on your age, interests, business goals, digital marketing specialty, and overall preferences.
But for those who love following people in the digital marketing sphere, there are a lot of great influencers to choose from.
Influencer marketing is about using personal “brand power” to market a good or service. It has seen an explosion in the past few years, specifically on social media. Sometimes people get to be influencers by creating and marketing their own brand, and sometimes companies will use other influential people to market their products.
When you follow influencers, you actually end up joining a community of like-minded people to have conversations with – so it’s not just about following “one” person or seeing them as your guru. You’ll see other people following and engaging, and will most likely be able to connect with them, too.
These extraordinary people (and others like them) have a few things in common. First, they’re all outspoken risk takers. They know they have a lot to say and write, and they’re not afraid to get out there and speak their truth.
They’re also willing (and able) to step outside the box and do something new. Even though it may seem like they’re all doing similar things, each one has a different slant to their personal story or branding.
And speaking of personal story, these people aren’t afraid to mix their personal brand with their business goals. They also have a clear understanding of not only how, but why, it's important to pivot and leverage different skill sets, such as tech into entrepreneurship or marketing into blogging and PR.
A few of them of them have at least a medium-level background in technology, which helped them to launch their first companies at early ages.
More than 30,000 followers can’t be wrong about marketing strategist and entrepreneur Perry Marshall, who is very generous about providing plenty of content about all things digital marketing and particularly paid advertising. He’s the author of ‘Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords’, and ‘Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising’. Perry is considered the go-to person for Google AdWords.
Follow him if: You’re looking to learn about pay per click (PPC) from one of the world’s top experts.
Heidi Cohen is one of the few (highly recognized) female leaders out there who’s leading the pack when it comes to marketing. She’s excellent at content creation, but what she really does is tell you how to sell it. She’s also got plenty of excellent advice on how to up your social strategy.
Follow her if: You’re looking for a Twitter feed that matters, and you’re looking for information that actually focuses on sales and engagement via content.
Ann currently works as the chief content officer (CCO) of the education company MarketingProfs, which has well over 600,000 subscribers and has a huge social following (400,000 + people on Twitter alone). Her regular blogs are quirky and useful for bloggers, and she’s an expert at teaching people how to write and market not only in the business sphere but through various disciplines. Check out her book, ‘Everybody Writes’.
Follow her if: You are a copywriter, content marketer, or anyone interested in honing the craft of writing.
Rand is the founder of MOZ, an extremely popular software as service (Saas) company that specializes in marketing and analytics. He now runs SparkToro, which helps people to find their audiences. On his departure from MOZ, Rand published his first book, ‘Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World’ (2018). He’s not only a well-known force in the market, but also a frequent keynote speaker.
Follow him if: You’re keen on learning more about entrepreneurship, start-ups, and all things digital marketing.
If you follow digital marketing at all, you’ve no doubt come across a blog or two by Neil Patel. However, you may not have realized just how huge his name continues to be, even years after he first started becoming popular.
Neil is a prolific blogger, speaker, and digital marketing guru. He’s the founder of Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, and started his first company when he was 15. He is a frequent keynote speaker at major conferences.
Follow him if: You’re an entrepreneur or digital marketer at any level of the field and you’re looking for deeply researched how-to posts on pretty much anything.
Jay is a 24-year-old entrepreneur who excels not only at social media and content marketing, but also does so with a particular focus on amplification, customer experience, and customer service. He’s the founder of Convince & Convert (C & C) and is the author of five books, including ‘Hug Your Haters’ and ‘The NOW Revolution’.
If you want some amazing content and digital marketing information, hop on the C & C email list and check out Jay’s blog posts to get ahead of the curve.
Follow him if: You’re looking for a Millennial with a fresh perspective on customer service and collaboration.
Jeff Bullas began his career as he knows it now around 2008 when he wasn’t working. He was observing social media and essentially noticed a certain gap – he wondered why there were so many more people on Facebook than on Twitter.
Jeff is annually named a top influencer and marketer in various well-known lists and circles, and has been named one of Forbes’ top 20 influencers of chief marketing officers.
Follow him if: You’re looking to grow as an entrepreneur and as a person, and you want to do things differently.
Scott is a marketing professor, a prolific content writer, and the author of New York Times bestseller ‘The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’. To get an idea of just how outspoken he is and gain some insight into some of the material in his book, check out his TED Talk.
Follow him if: You’re looking for advice from an academically trained marketing professor who also happens to be extremely funny.
We follow experts in our fields of interest because we want to learn about the topics that they discuss. But you can also learn a lot about their own personalized branding and marketing strategies!
When you add a personal touch to everything you do, you are no longer just a face on the screen – you are a human. That’s exactly what builds trust and respect in a brand, and it’s what all these people are really good at.
Another thing that many of them do is focus on collaborating with other influencers. Because the internet is pretty much a free-for-all, there’s not a lot of room for competition, but there’s plenty of room for collaboration.
Of course, they’re all great at creating content that’s useful for people at pretty much any phase of their career. If you sign up for any of their blogs or email lists, you’re sure to find something of value in what they have to say. And you probably won’t have to spend a cent in the process!
These people all understand how to engage – both onstage and via their writing – with an audience in a genuine way, and they offer just enough information to be interesting but without giving it all away.
People love them because they “sell” without selling. They really are mostly just going about their own thing, but because they’re self-taught (at least partly) and have driven themselves via hard work and focus. In the process, they’ve become really great at what they do.
They do this all on their own terms – and what could be more inspiring than that?
The above is just a guide, of course. On a professional or personal level, it’s important that you find some influencers who you feel offer valuable insights, information, and content on a regular basis and that really push you forward on your own career path or business.
To this end, a key question to ask might be: How exciting would it be to sit down and have coffee with this person? What would I ask them if I were to ask for an informational interview?