The digital marketing landscape changes fast. Just last month, Twitter introduced a new polls feature, Facebook unveiled a new slideshow ad format and Instagram unveiled a new looping video tool called Boomerang. If you can honestly say you were aware of all three, congratulations, you’re successfully keeping your eye on the rapidly moving social ball – and worth underlining, this was just one week.
In order to stay up with, and ideally ahead of, the game, you need to be tuned into to those who are, themselves, ahead of the game. The good thing is, due to the increased connectivity of social networks, you’re now able to do just that – to keep you up to speed, here are 20 digital marketing experts who you should be following in 2016, people who are playing their own, significant roles in the evolving social landscape, and can keep you informed and up to date on the latest trends and changes.
1. Jay Baer, President, Convince and Convert
Author of the much cited content marketing book ‘Youtility’, Baer is a great source of insights and strategic thinking – and he produces a heap of content so there’s plenty to take in.
Check out: Baer’s ‘Hug Your Haters’ keynote presentation, which will soon be accompanied by his new book of the same name.
2. Neil Patel, Founder at Quick Sprout
One of the best digital marketers – or at least, one of the best at explaining the concepts and principles of digital marketing in an understandable, actionable way. How does Patel know so much? He tries and tests pretty much everything.
Check out: How Patel grows his blog traffic by 20k per month in this post.
3. Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz
One of the top experts in SEO, and the best at explaining the more technical elements in a digestible, commonsense way. Fishkin can bring logic to the most complex of ideas, and is a great help in understanding how the system works.
Check out: One of Fishkin’s popular Whiteboard Friday posts – “Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die”.
4. Brian Fanzo, Millennial Speaker and Change Evangelist
One of the most enthusiastic, and infectious personalities in digital marketing. Fanzo comes at new platforms and developments with open arms and looks at ways to utilize them to best effect.
Check out: Fanzo’s list of top tools to boost Twitter engagement and grow your following.
5. Melonie Dodaro, Author and CEO of Top Dog Social Media
While Dodaro lists herself as a LinkedIn expert, her blog offers a lot more than that. Dodaro takes a straight-talking, common understanding approach to social platforms and examines how people can use them to maximise their results.
Check out: Dodaro’s tips on how to get more prospects to visit your LinkedIn profile.
6. Mike Allton, CMO at SiteSell and founder of The Social Media Hat
Allton’s blog ‘The Social Media Hat’ is a wealth of knowledge, and Allton regularly adds to it with the latest news, changes and updates, giving in-depth, actionable explanations of their impacts and effects.
Check out: Allton’s article on how to activate Facebook authorship, something most people don’t even know exists.
7. Gary Vaynerchuck, Founder and CEO of VaynerMedia
The fast-talking, all-hustling social media marketing superstar. Vaynerchuck could be one of the most magnetic and engaging personalities in the industry – and what’s more, he backs it up with solid working knowledge of how to make things happen and get results.
Check out: Vaynerchuck’s perspective on the hustler’s mentality, something he lives by.
8. Brian Solis, Principal are Altimeter Group
One of the most eloquent and knowledgeable speakers on the future of work and how digital is transforming… well, everything. Solis regularly posts content, but his books – of which he has a new one ‘X’ – are also well worth your time.
Check out: Solis’ now prophetic words in “25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015-2016”.
9. Nick Cicero, Founder and CEO of Delmondo
Cicero, and his agency Delmondo, are standing on the edge of the next evolution in digital marketing – that of utilising influencers, particularly on newer platforms like Snapchat, to understand audiences and maximize marketing impact. From that viewpoint, Cicero has a uniquely insightful perspective that’s worth tuning into.
Check out: Delmondo’s ‘State of Snapchat Analytics’ eBook – a must read for social media marketers.
10. Bryan Kramer, Author and CEO at Pure Matter
Kramer, author of the hugely popular book “There is no B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human #H2H” and the follow-up, “Shareology”, Kramer has positioned himself as one of the true thought leaders in the new social media marketing movement.
Check out: Kramer’s thoughts on why visual storytelling is taking over the world.
11. Ekaterina Walter, Author and Sprinklr Evangelist
Having worked in various roles and capacities within the digital marketing sphere, including stints with both Intel and Accenture, Walter knows a thing or two about how the industry works and what brands should be paying attention to. And as such, you should be paying attention to her.
Check out: Walter’s post on why companies need to invest in experience management.
12. Steve Rayson, Director at BuzzSumo
A lot of the content Rayson shares relates to his excellent app, BuzzSumo – which is actually great as BuzzSumo is by far one of the most useful and comprehensive tools available on the market. If you want to know about sharing behaviour and trends online, Rayson is your man.
Check out: What Rayson and Co learned when they teamed up wtih Moz to analyse more than a million online articles.
13. Ann Handley, Author and Head of Content at MarketingProfs
Handley is a content expert – she knows how to write and communicate well. So well, in fact, that Handley has written several books on better communication and writing methods, all of which tie into the current trends in content and content marketing.
Check out: Handley’s 12-step writing GPS in infographic form.
14. Tami Cannizzaro, Senior Director of Marketing at eBay
The head of marketing at eBay, Cannizzaro regularly shares her thoughts and opinions on digital transformation and the evolution of business – something she is deeply attuned to and aligned with.
Check out: Cannizzaro’s thoughts on how consumers in the modern age “align their egos and their personal belief system with the brands they choose to represent them”.
15. Chris Mikulin, Founder of Caribou Social
Mikulin holds (or has held) a few world records for yo-yo tricks and founded a yo-yo company called CLYW. So why is he on a list of top digital marketers? Well in the process of building his business, Mikulin became something of an expert in digital marketing, particularly in how to reach Millennials. Mikulin’s advice is no-nonsense, backed with research and always intelligent.
Check out: Mikulin’s thoughts on how social referrals affect organic traffic.
16. Brian Honigman, CEO of Honigman Media
Honigman is one of those rare digital marketing experts that can translate tech-speak and jargon into easy to understand, and actionable insight. His content is regularly of high quality, and always backed by research, data and evidence.
Check out: Honigman’s helpful guide to writing an effective social media policy.
17. Mari Smith, Social Media Consultant and Facebook Marketing Expert
Smith is one of the key experts in Facebook marketing. While there’s a great many claiming to know all about Facebook and Facebook ads, few are as well known or well respected as Smith. And what’s more, Smith is regularly one of the first to break news about Facebook changes or updates – a great resource.
Check out: Smith’s ‘8 Facebook Engagement Stats Every Marketer Needs to Know’
18. Darren Rowse, Founder of ProBlogger
One of the best known voices in blogging, and with good reason – Rowse has been making a full-time living as a blogger for more than a decade.
Check out: Rowse’s thought on utilising evergreen content.
19. Jason Calacanis, Angel Investor, Writer and founder of Launch Festival
Calacanis has been in the industry for a long time and he knows what to look for in terms of the latest trends and what’s coming next.
Check out: What Calacanis would do if he were Twitter CEO