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10 Top Social Media Marketing Influencers of 2016

Top 10 Social Media Marketing Influencers
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Tips From This Years Hottest Influencers In Social Media

Social media marketing is, by its nature, social.

This is an area where the best in the business don’t get by on secrets; they thrive by sharing what it is they do.

Looking for new experts to follow? Start with these guys and gals. Our picks of the top 10 social media marketers to follow this year:

1. Melonie Dodaro

melonie-dodaro-social-media-marketing

This longtime LinkedIn guru has helped thousands improve their profiles on the networking site with her free LinkedIn checklist. She writes extensively about personal branding and promotion on her blog and Twitter.

In a recent post about personal branding, she counsels:

Just like brands, you as an individual need to share who you are, what matters to you and your vision for the future in a clear and cohesive way.” 

2. Pat Flynn

pat-flynn-social-media-marketing

As the force behind the popular Smart Passive Income website and podcast, Flynn has given away reams of valuable information about promoting yourself online. He updates Twitter frequently to share links to blog posts and infographics he’s created, as well as personal tidbits about the value of balancing work and play.

His generous style has worked well for him: earlier this year, his entrepreneurship book Will It Fly? made the Wall Street Journal best seller list. He recently shared an inspiring tip on Twitter with a link to a longer podcast on the subject:

You CAN build a meaningful legacy & improve your well-being.”

3. Mari Smith

mari-smith-social-media-marketing

Mari Smith has been deemed the “Queen of Facebook” for her mastery in marketing on this platform.

She offers a number of free and paid training opportunities to help entrepreneurs and brands become better social media marketers. Her Twitter feed is a valuable resource, featuring not just Smith’s advice but a round up of the best social media marketing advice.

In a recent Social Media Examiner post about increasing Facebook engagement, Smith says,

Create videos, graphics, and posts that are relevant, stand out in the news feed, and make people want to share. The content doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should look good and be of value to your loyal following.”

4. Candace Payne (aka Chewbacca Mom)

Candace-Payne-Social-Media-Marketing

Before her joyful Chewbacca mask video went viral, Payne used her Facebook page and other social media outlets to market t-shirts and her journaling class.

However, after the release of the popular video, her number of Facebook followers has increased to over 800,000. The most important lesson of Payne’s rise to fame lies in the power of advocates.

Companies that included Kohl’s, Hasbro and Disney capitalized on Payne’s enthusiasm, gaining hundreds of thousands of shares on their Candace Payne posts.

Convince and Convert recently observed,

What makes this video so amazing—besides Candace’s fantastic laugh—is how genuine it is. When a customer genuinely loves and recommends something, their enthusiasm shines through.”

Payne continues to promote Star Wars products, including the new Kylo Ren Lego ship. 

5. Pam Moore

pam-moore-social-media-marketing

Author, consultant and speaker Pam Moore is a top social media influencer who focuses on social branding and conversion optimization.

In a recent post on her website titled “Social & Digital Body Language,” she says,

You must not only know the tools but most importantly you must know how to leverage the tools to drive results. You must know your audience and how you can inspire them.”

6. Peter Shankman

peter-shankman-social-media-marketing

This innovative digital marketing and social media expert first gained note as the founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a service that connects journalists with brands to tell their stories.

He’s written extensively about the changing nature of customer service in a social-enabled world, and how you can please customers to make them into advocates.

In a recent post about customer engagement, he talks about how important it is for customers to be invested in your business. He says,

Give your customers a reason to feel invested, to feel like they have a voice, to feel like they matter. It could be something as simple as retweeting a tweet, or even sharing a photo they took involving your business. Whatever it is, you’re going for that personal investment.”

7. Leo Widrich

leo-widrich-social-media-marketing

As the CEO of Buffer, Leo Widrich helped social media marketers publish more easily and get the necessary analytics to improve engagement and reach.

He frequently showcases other influencers on his Twitter feed, including a recent Quora Q&A with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Buffer is currently collecting data for its State of Social Media 2016 report. When writing about his growing and changing role at Buffer recently, he made this observation:

I’m not here to do. I’m here to listen.”

8. Beth Kanter

beth-kanter-social-media-marketing

More of a visual learner?

Beth Kanter’s highly popular Social Media Research, Data and Stats board in Pinterest curates some of the best charts, graphs, infographics and articles available.

As the author of The Networked Nonprofit, she outlined the best strategies for nonprofits to build their followings online. Her recent work focuses on how nonprofit leaders can avoid burnout. Her advice is as applicable to social media marketers:

Stay connected to the source of your work.”

When things get difficult, focusing on what you want to accomplish is what will get you to the finish line.

9. Alex Losung

alexandra-losung-social-media-marketing

As the social media director of WeWork, she has earned distinctions that include Hubspot’s Number 1 slot for Best Brand on Instagram.

Under her guidance, WeWork stays on 40% growth on LinkedIn and 30% growth on Instagram over a 4 month period. One successful campaign was the #DogsOfWeWork hashtag.

Hubspot loved the tag, saying:

Not only is it awesome because, well, dogs, but it’s also a great way for the company to promote their laid-back culture while also inviting customers to interact with their brand on social.”

By promoting with customer tags of a happy environment, Losung made her brand friendly and approachable. 

10. Adrian Fusiarski

adrian-fusiarski-social-media-marketing

As the voice behind BuzzSonic and Bzzzsocial, Adrian Fusiarski’s blog posts on music, social media and disruptive technology get over 50,000 views a month. Much of the traffic is driven by his highly active Twitter and Pinterest pages.

On the topic of building authority, Fusiarski says,

You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none.”

By focusing on what you know, you can become the go-to expert.

Final Thoughts

These guys and gals are on top of their game and worth a huge shout out and round of applause. 

While we pride ourselves of being able to share our knowledge of social media here on this blog, we know we can’t do it all.

If you’re looking for more advice, I’m positive you will be overwhelmed by the plethora of knowledge these influencers have to offer.

So tell me. Who are some of your recent favorites? Is there someone not on this list that you think should have made it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Sian Lloyd
Marketing Specialist at Rebrandly. A marketer with a strong creative and branding background. With a passion for healthy branding, she focuses on creating useful and memorable experiences for customers.
  • Emma Dowey

    Really enjoyed reading this : ) the power of social media ! thanks for sharing.

  • mohammad umair

    I’m surprised that Ian Cleary’s name is missing.

    • I know. He should be in there!

      • Supreme Landscaping

        Where’s Sam Hurley?? (This could become a bigger list, right?)

  • I am using the buffer but never thought of knowing the man (Leo Widrich) behind it. It is always good to sneak peak what Industry leaders are doing. This list is a real worth, I have started following all these social media influencers.

  • Grete informative information presentation on Influences Marketing lists. Look forward to implementing more of your suggestions in our business.

  • Supreme Landscaping

    Great to see Leo from Buffer here! I remember when Buffer was in beta and I interviewed Leo and Joel for my blog back ion early 2011. I knew Buffer would take off, it was such a good idea. The guys were just students then here in the UK and look how far they’ve gone! Amazing, right?

    A very good article, thanks and I’m loving Rebrandly by the way! Getting great results on the Supreme Landscaping Products blog, our Landscaping Awards link has had 619 clicks in 7 days, not too bad!

    Thanks guys, keep up the good work!

    Best regards, Peter

    • Glad to hear Peter! Yeah, Buffer is quite amazing.

  • sjors

    Great article. Do you already have a list for 2017? We started an influencer marketing group on Linkedin and we are growing fast. If you would like to join here is the link -> https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13511056

    • List not ready ATM but we’ll work on that at the end of the year 🙂
      Just sent you the request to join your group: