Looking for some social media marketing inspiration? This list of social media experts to follow covers a range of industries, expertise, and platforms.

This isn’t about ‘monkey see, monkey do.’ That is, following social media experts isn’t about learning a process without understanding how it works. There are no shortcuts in good marketing: you can’t copy-paste the work or words of any of these experts and expect results. But they form a solid foundation for you to see how things work in practice and stay up-to-date with the industry.

Sounds like work, right? It is. But these experts are all good at one thing: being effective, so you can work smarter.

What Makes a Social Media Expert?

The second best way to understand successful social media marketing, after experimenting yourself, is by observing and learning from others. Self-proclaimed social media “experts” aren’t necessarily the best teachers, or even the best at social media. Many people on our list would not refer to themselves as experts, but we consider them such.

To find people and brands you want to emulate, you should look at how well they’re doing on social media themselves. This isn’t just about follower count. We’ve talked about the social media metrics that matter, and they matter when it comes to judging professionals, too. Are they having conversations? Are people engaging with their content? Do you find their content interesting?

And, if you’re looking for inspiration for your business, you should try to find people who are successful with the same kind of audience you’re trying to reach, too. There’s no point learning, in detail, about how to reach the wrong audience.

But remember you can’t judge everything by its cover: a lot of effective social media activity happens behind the scenes. You won’t be able to see private conversations or know how many bookings someone has. But you can look at other things: testimonials, who they work with, what they talk about, and if (whether they have a lot of followers or not) other respected thought-leaders are part of their network.

Start With Marketing Experts

It’s important to remember that social media marketing is just one component of a successful marketing strategy. It’s an element that has to work in context with everything else. Before you niche down on social media experts to follow, make sure you follow a foundation of marketing experts. People like:

There’s a reason why we’re (mostly) linking you to websites, rather than profiles. Social media specialists also recognise social media is just a piece of the bigger whole.

Social Media Experts to Follow

Larry Kim 🔗

When it comes to using tech to make social media work harder, Larry is an expert. If you read about social media marketing on any major columns, you’ll probably come across his writing. As well as founding WordStream (which sold for $150 million) he’s now CEO of MobileMonkey and talks a lot about using chatbots to make social media scale with your audience, exponentially.

Guy Kawasaki 🔗

Have you heard of evangelism marketing? It’s a word-of-mouth strategy that is about building a base of customers who become advocates for your business, committed to spreading the word about your products or service. Guy is the man who popularised it, with – and you might have guessed – his work through Apple. His LinkedIn feed is one to follow.

Goldie Chan 🔗

As well as a social media strategy thought leader, Goldie is a LinkedIn video genius. Her videos are considered the longest original video ‘channel’ on LinkedIn.

Neil Patel 🔗

Neil Patel is far from limited to social media marketing, but as a marketer he specialises in driving traffic to businesses. And he knows how to use EVERY possible platform for it: including the tactics of individual social media platforms. Which is why he works with brands as big as Google and Yahoo!.

Gary V 🔗

Gary Vaynerchuck is a bit like marmite: you love him or, well, you don’t. Marketing is his day job: Gary V and his brother started VaynerMedia, and Gary’s own personal brand is all about that online (and offline) hustle to grow your business. His LinkedIn page is a particularly inspiring example of using LinkedIn well.

Sunny Lenarduzzi 🔗

Want to make it big on YouTube? Sunny has worked with massive global brands like Applebee’s to help them with their YouTube strategy. She’s got a ton of guides, resources, and content (like a podcast) to help smaller businesses take advantage of her expertise, too.

Pat Flynn 🔗

Known for Smart Passive Income, Pat’s business and social media strategy is a brilliant example of building community with your business. His Facebook group is incredibly engaged and shows what a thriving community looks like in action. Plus he shares lots of actionable advice on marketing in general, too.

Ryan Wallman 🔗

Ryan knows how to use words well, and his Twitter account (unlike those of ‘experts’ with 10x the amount of followers) is highly engaging with lots of good conversation. Plus, he calls it as he sees it.

Tom Goodwin 🔗

In Tom’s own words: “I’m not leading anyone or being a Guru. … I’m not an influencer, a thought leader or a “brand”. I’m just lucky to have a platform to be an enabler of debates about the future.” Sorry Tom, but we’re still including you on this list.

Holly Brockwell 🔗

If you read about tech, you’ve probably read something Holly has written. She’s also a prolific Tweeter and is another example of an engaged Twitter profile in action – but you can find her across social media as a brilliant example of self-promotion done well. Plus, she even has her own Wikipedia page.

Mark Ritson 🔗

Mark doesn’t talk about the details like what the best tools are for live streaming or other technical aspects, but he talks about the deeper concepts and principles that should guide your social media choices.

Companies that Know Their Stuff

HubSpot 🔗

Heard of inbound marketing? HubSpot coined the term, which covers marketing activities such as content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and other methods to ‘draw in’ customers/clients. As you can guess, they are experts on all things inbound.

Content Marketing Institute 🔗

As overall content marketing experts, CMI is a fantastic resource for understanding how social media marketing plays into the bigger picture.

Hootsuite 🔗

Hootsuite is a major social media marketing tool, but that makes them more informed as social media experts. They have unprecedented access to the raw data of good social media marketing, and can conduct huge surveys on the state of the marketplace. Their reports and guides are a great starting point for learning about how to use social media and the latest trends.

Don’t Forget to Take Action

There’s a lot to keep up with when it comes to social media marketing. And social media is an essential part of growing a successful business online. In reality, that means growing a successful business at all, as even brick-and-mortar shops should be online to get the best results. However, social media is a part of your marketing, not your actual business. So don’t neglect your business by studying too much for too long: take action. Commit to an idea, and experiment with it.

And if you realise you don’t have the resources – whether it’s time, technical ability, team capacity, or otherwise – to get it done yourself, consider a social media marketing agency. That’s what we’re here for. We help our clients get back to the real work of their business, while helping them grow their business.

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Anna Simmonds
Anna Simmonds

Anna, Head of Social, knows her beans when it comes to social media. She keeps her finger on the social pulse, funnelling her knowledge and experience into creating engaging social media campaigns. She’s also pretty decent with a camera and Photoshop.