Search What are you looking for?

50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2017

Posted on Mar 20th, 2017
Written by Lee Odden
In this article

    Ready to elevate your B2B brand?

    TopRank Marketing drives results with content, influencer, SEO & social media marketing.

    Social Media Marketing Influencers SMMW17

    The topic of Social Media Influence has really taken off since we first published this list.

    Many changes have happened in the social media marketing world ranging from the surprisingly close competition between SnapChat and Instagram stories to the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft to the explosive growth of “creators” and micro-influencers.

    On top of all that is the growth of the influencer marketing industry from platforms to brandividuals that use social media to create, publish, promote and engage communities.  Where is it all leading? Who is on the front lines and in the captain’s chair when it comes to making sense of social media marketing for brands big and small?

    To help point our readers, attendees of SMMW17 and the industry in the right direction, I’ve put together a list of 50 relevant voices in the social media marketing world for you to consider. These voices range from business leaders to real-time video experts to bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers. Putting this list together was a combination of art (experience + subjective bias) and science (big ass data).

    Allow me to explain the methodology:

    Art: Criteria for consideration in this list is having been named as a speaker for the SMMW17 conference. Therefore, this is NOT a comprehensive industry list – but a ranked collection of SMMW17 speakers. Mike Stelzner and Phil Mershon of Social Media Examiner do an amazing job of hand picking speakers for this conference and the human element to any such list of influencers is essential.

    Science: Ranking of the individuals in this list leverages data from our friends at the influencer relationship management platform, Traackr. I think it’s useful to point out that unlike the vast majority of lists like this that are published online, this list and Traackr consider many more data sources than just Twitter.

    Monitoring data sources: For each person in the database, there is potential for citations and links from data sources that include: blogs, publications, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

    Ranking data sources and scoring: For the ranking, Traackr leverages a combination of data points including

    • Relevance – A score that indicates how influential a person is to a specific topic based on the keywords you provide. Signals for relevance include keyword mentions, keyword diversity, content production rate, freshness of content and other contextual measures. In this case, it was “social media marketing” as well as 10+ derivative phrases.
    • Resonance – A score of how impactful the influencer is with their audience. Resonance measures engagement activity that occurs as a result of publishing (mostly social) content.
    • Reach – A score derived by the reach algorithm that takes into account followers, fans, subscribers, visitors and other audience metrics. Remember, this is more than just Twitter.
    • Audience – Overall social audience size.

    Social Media Marketing Influencers SMMW17

    Each of these signal sources are factored into the creation of a ranking for identified individuals. With any kind of social influencer list building, the key is to focus on relevance and resonance then factor in reach. The result is a combination of broad based influencers as well as individuals with a very specific focus and very high resonance and relevance scores.

    Below is the subsequent ranking for 50 of the industry experts speaking at Social Media Marketing World this week including their Twitter handles and their presentation title(s).  I encourage you to check them out as well as their presentations in San Diego this week.

    Kim Garst @kimgarst
    Social Selling Pro, Author, Keynote Speaker at Boom! Social
    Presenting: How to Promote and Sell Using Live Video

    Holly Homer @Texasholly
    Founder and Owner at Business 2 Blogger
    Presenting: How to Go From Blog to Successful Business and How Businesses Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic and Profits

    Darren Rowse @problogger
    Blogger, Speaker, Author, Podcaster and Online Entrepreneur – Owner and Editor at Problogger
    Presenting: The Changing Role of Blogs in a Social Media Age

    Brian Fanzo @isocialfanz
    Keynote Speaker and CEO at iSocialFanz LLC
    Presenting: How to Grow a Following and Stand Out With Live Video

    Jeff Sieh @jeffsieh
    Pinterest Manage at Social Media Examiner
    Presenting: Building Better Pinterest Pin Images: Tools, Tips and Hacks and How Businesses Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic and Profits

    Koka Sexton @kokasexton
    Global Industry Principal, Social Selling at Hootsuite
    Presenting: How to Turn LinkedIn Into a Funnel for New Leads

    Guy Kawasaki @guykawasaki
    Chief Evangelist at Canva
    Presenting: How to Become an Evangelist on Social Media and Beyond

    Donna Moritz @sociallysorted
    Social Media Strategist at Social Sorted
    Presenting: Six Hot Tools for Visual Storytelling on Facebook and Instagram

    Mari Smith @marismith
    Facebook Marketing Expert, Consultant, Speaker, Author
    Presenting: How To Improve Your Facebook Marketing ROI

    Neal Schaffer @NealSchaffer
    CEO and Principal Social Media Strategy Consultant at Maximize Your Social
    Presenting: Growth Hacking: How to Use Social Media to Rapidly Grow Your New Business or Product

    Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer
    Author, Speaker, Adjunct Marketing Professor and Executive Director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions
    Presenting: Becoming Known: How to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

    Shaun McBride @shonduras
    Owner at
    Presenting: How to Work With Snapchat Influencers

    Ian Anderson Gray @iagdotme 
    Co-founder, Social Tools Strategist & Web Developer at Select Performers Internet Solutions
    Presenting: Twitter Tools to Help Improve Your Marketing Success

    Jay Baer @jaybaer
    Author, Speaker and President at Convince & Convert
    Presenting: How to Use Customer Service to Turn People Into Brand Advocates and How to Staff Your Social Media Team in a Changing Marketplace

    Gini Dietrich @ginidietrich
    Chief Executive Officer at Arment Dietrich, Inc.
    Presenting: How to Manage Your Next Social Media Crisis and How to Use Data and Analytics to Prepare for Your Next Crisis

    Roberto Blake @robertoblake
    Owner and Creative Director at Creative Awesome Media
    Presenting: YouTube Video Production: From Idea to Execution

    Ann Handley @marketingprofs
    Author, Speaker and Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
    Presenting: How to Create Breakthrough Written Marketing Content

    Christopher Penn @cspenn
    Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications
    Presenting: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Future of Social Media Marketing and The Social Media Marketer’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence

    Gary Leland @garyleland
    Co-founder at Podcast Movement
    Presenting: How to Monetize Your Podcast

    Madalyn Sklar @madalynsklar
    Social Media Coach, Speaker and Consultant
    Presenting: How to Use Twitter Chats to Grow Your Business

    Ileane Smith @ileane
    Manager Member Promotion & Academic Outreach at ASTM International
    Presenting: How to Get Started With Live Video

    Ian Cleary @iancleary
    Founder at RazorSocial
    Presenting: How to Use Social Media Analytics Tools to Produce Better Results

    Peg Fitzpatrick @PegFitzpatrick
    Director of Content Strategy + Social Media at Tailwind
    Presenting: Top Tools to Improve Your Instagram Engagement and Growth and How Businesses Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic and Profits

    Rebekah Radice @rebekahradice
    Chief Marketing Officer at Post Planner
    Presenting: How to Create Highly Shareable Social Media Images

    Bryan Kramer @bryankramer
    Author, Speaker, President and CEO at PureMatter
    Presenting: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Future of Social Media Marketing, How to Create and Manage an Influencer Marketing Program and Why Stories Catch Fire and Become Sharable

    Shep Hyken @Hyken
    Chief Amazement Officer and Owner at Shepard Presentations
    Presenting: Customer Service is the New Marketing: How to Make Social Care Your Competitive Advantage

    Carlos Gil @CarlosGil83
    Global Head of Global Social Media at BMC Software
    Presenting: Snapchat Strategies for Marketing Your Business

    Jasmine Star @jasminestar
    Owner at Jasmine Star Photography
    Presenting: How to Improve Your Instagram Photos and Your Engagement

    Josh Elledge @joshelledge
    Chief Executive Angel at SavingsAngel
    Presenting: How to Get Traditional Media Exposure Using Social Media

    Heidi Cohen @heidicohen
    Chief Content Officer at Actionable Marketing Guide
    Presenting: How to Create Quality Blog Posts Consistently

    Chelsea Crockett @chelseacrockett
    Beauty and Fashion Blogger at BeautyLiciousInsider
    Presenting: How to Integrate Product Sales Into Your Videos

    Joel Comm @joelcomm
    Speaker, Author, Live Video Expert and CEO at Joel Comm Company
    Presenting: The Future of Live Video (and How You Can Prepare Today)

    Dan Gingiss @dgingiss
    Head of Digital Marketing at Humana
    Presenting: How to Identify the Customer Experiences That Will Get Amplified in Social Media and How Companies Become Best-in-Class at Social Customer Care: Panel Discussion

    Jenn Herman @jenns_trends
    Social Media Consultant & Trainer at Jenn’s Trends
    Presenting: How to Use a Business Profile to Get More Sales From Instagram

    Tim Schmoyer @timschmoyer
    YouTube Video Strategist at Video Creators
    Presenting: How to Develop a Loyal YouTube Audience and How to Integrate Product Sales Into Your Videos

    Steve Dotto @dottotech
    Host and Executive Producer at Dotto Tech
    Presenting: How to Grow Your First 100 YouTube Subscribers

    Sunny Lenarduzzi @sunnylenarduzzi
    Freelance Social Media Strategist and Consultant, Radio/TV Host/Reporter
    Presenting: How to Build a Business With YouTube

    Jon Loomer @jonloomer
    Owner at Jon Loomer Digital
    Presenting: Facebook Targeting Priorities: How to Reach Those Who Matter Most Using 6 Different Methods

    Cathy Hackl @cathyhackl
    Chief Communications & Content Officer at Future Lighthouse
    Presenting: Facebook Live for Brands

    Lee Odden @leeodden
    Author, Speaker and CEO at TopRank Marketing
    Presenting: Future of Influencer Marketing: Strategies and Trends

    Alex Khan @1alexkhan
    CEO at Attractive Media GmbH
    Presenting: How to Create Engaging Content With Live Video

    John Lee Dumas @johnleedumas
    Host of the EOFire Podcast
    Presenting: How to Monetize Your Podcast and How to Land Guest Appearances on Podcasts

    Adel De Meyer @adeldmeyer
    Digital Media Specialist and Author at
    Presenting: How Businesses Use Twitter to Promote Their Content

    Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi
    Founder at Content Marketing Institute
    Presenting: How to Generate Large Amounts of Revenue From the Content You Create

    Andy Crestodina @crestodina
    Author, Speaker, Co-Founder and Strategic Director at Orbit Media Studios
    Presenting: Google Analytics Fundamentals: How to Measure What Matters for Your Business

    Michael A. Stelzner @mike_stelzner
    CEO and Founder at Social Media Examiner
    Presenting: Social Media Marketing in 2017: What the Newest Research Reveal and How to Get Speaking Opportunities at Social Media Examiner Events

    Michael O’Neal @solohour
    Host, Solopreneur Podcast
    Presenting: Becoming an Interview Master and How it Can Massively Grow Your Podcast

    Sue B. Zimmerman @suebzimmerman
    Instagram Expert at Sue B Zimmerman Enterprise
    Presenting: How to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business and How Brands Use Instagram to Tell Visually Compelling Stories

    Larry Kim @larrykim
    Founder of WordStream
    Presenting: Hacking Facebook Ads: How 50 Dollars Can Drive Enormous Traffic to Your Best Content

    Andrea Vahl @andreavahl
    Author, Speaker and Social Media Strategist at
    Presenting: Facebook Advertising: Your Questions Answered by Top Experts and How to Build a Facebook Marketing Funnel With Ads and More

    If you want to follow all 50 of these fine folks, then check out the Twitter list.

    What’s interesting about this list is that it highlights a number of people who are known more broadly for their expertise as well as a number of new faces compared to last year’s list.

    A few thoughts about building influencer lists.

    What social influencer lists don’t account for is the cumulative effect of influence a person achieves over time and in the “real world”. Lists like this are a snapshot in time – they are temporal, just like any measure of influence is. No one has the same level of influence all the time. A list of influencers based only on social media data is useful for content and communications through those social channels. It’s not the same thing as saying “These people are universally influential about social media marketing for now and all time.” That’s just silly.

    Feeling left out? A list is inclusive so sometimes the criteria scores across a spectrum of the social web cause some filtering, especially when up and coming influencers have extremely high resonance and relevance scores. For example, Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan, John Jantsch, Beverly Jackson, Konnie Brown, Justin Levy, Scott Monty, Brian Clark, Viveka von Rosen and Sandy Carter are all pretty influential to me personally and to many other people. But they are not on this particular social influencer list of 50 for the topic “Social Media Marketing”. That doesn’t mean they are not influential on this topic.

    More considerations than you think. When building out an influencer list for a content marketing program, you have to consider relevance, resonance, reach and audience of the influencer specific to the industry as well as their channels and the prospect audience for the specific program. Also, you have to consider the current state of relationship with those influencers, if any. Romance for recruitment can take a long time – or it can be very expensive.

    Additionally, you need to consider the likelihood that any prominent influencer on your list will even be interested in the project. Is your project and invitation going to be useful to them? Will it be inspiring? All of that is considered in the identification and qualification phases so that when it comes time to recruit, everybody is on the same page and moving ahead.

    Topical and context disconnects are very bad for business in the influencer marketing game. Lists are just the first step to creating a mutually beneficial relationship, especially if it involves content and is maintained over time.

    Influencer 2.0 CoverLists based on data and strategy based on research. The whole influencer marketing topic has a lot of noise attracted to it and we recently partnered with Traackr and Altimeter to conduct research to answer some of the key questions about influencer marketing. We surveyed mid-market companies and many large enterprise organizations about trends, maturity of their work with influencers, budgets, areas of most impact, goals and even where influence impacts customer experience and digital transformation.

    The research report was written by my pal Brian Solis and you can get a copy of it here.

    At Social Media Marketing World, I’m going to be giving a presentation that includes many of the insights included in the report plus practical influencer engagement models, tactics and influencer marketing tools.

    The presentation is called, Future of Influencer Marketing: Strategies and Trends which you can see on Friday March 24th at 10:15am – 11:00am in the same room as the keynotes: 28ABCDE.

    I hope to see you there!