social-media-experts-twitter

My search for "Who should I follow on Twitter" produced 1,220,000,000 results in 0.52 seconds. Clearly, the Internet has a lot of advice on the topic. Every post had one thing in common - the featured influencers were selected by the number of followers. They use promotional style of posting since it would be nearly impossible to actually communicate with followers. They are more of content curators, who have staff to do curation for them.

I am not going to list people with the most followers. The experts on my list are influencers on Twitter and other Social Media channels because their followers find their expertise invaluable through communication and distributed content.

All featured experts manage their Twitter accounts themselves and respond to questions. Some frequently participate in Twitter chats. They are active on other Social Media channels. Several are very prominent conference speakers, bloggers, and authors. Some pioneered revolutionary thinking, created game-changing products.

By following them, you can be a better marketer and save time separating truth from fiction. They all have different level of authority, but one thing in common - they use Social Media correctly.

I asked each influencer to answer 3 questions:

  • What is the one thing marketers need to focus on for a successful Social Media strategy in 2015?
  • What is your favorite Social Media tool? Why?
  • Who are other Social Media experts you recommend?

I am completely confident that by the time you are done reading the article you will have followed several experts.

Tips from Social Media Experts

Ann Handley

Twitter: @annhandley or @marketingprofs

Ann is a veteran digital marketer. She builds relationships through creating and managing digital content while "waging a war on content mediocrity." Check out Ann's new WSJ bestseller book, "Everybody Writes", or catch her posts in Entrepreneur Magazine, LinkedIn Influencer program, MarketingProfs, Huffington Post, American Express OPEN Forum, or Mashable. She covers content marketing, writing, and tools.

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Focus in 2015: Your content tone of voice. Which extends to social but also has everything to do with you content strategy generally.

Favorite tool: Hmm. If by "tool" you mean "platform," I'd say Instagram, hands down. If by "tool" you mean social media management tool, I'd say Buffer. I'm allergic to automation tools, but I like the way Buffer helps me manage my Twitter feed, especially. It works because using it effectively requires putting your head and heart into it, still. "

People to follow: @mitchjoel, @cspenn, @markwschaeffer, @jaybaer, @avinash

Kristi Hines

Twitter - @kikolani

Kristi is a HubSpot and Copyblogger certified content marketer. She created Content Promotion Plan training course teaching how to bring more people to your content. You will see her in-depth post on content marketing, social media, SEO, blogging and tools in Social Media Examiner, KISSmetrics, Hubspot, Unbounce, iAcquire, Search Engine Watch, FreshBooks, and other publications. If you want to generate high quality web copy and blog content, following Kristi is a must.

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Focus in 2015: Finding a strategy that includes increasing your organic reach and getting key messages to target audiences with ads.

Favorite tool: Oktopost because it gives me insights into which groups on Facebook and LinkedIn engage the most with my content.

People to follow: Jon Loomer, Andrea Vahl, Hugh Briss, Mari Smith, Amy Porterfield, and several others I can't think of off the top of my head.

Ann Smarty

Twitter: @seosmarty

Ann is Founder of MyBlogU, blogger. She writes about startups, blogging, social media, SEO, and branding. You will find her posts on Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur, Moz, Mashable, Social Media Examiner, Search Marketing Standard magazine (print), and others. Ann is Brand manager @NinjasMarketing. Check out her presentations on Slideshare or see her speak at one of the conferences. You will walk away with many tips and tools you would want to try.

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Focus in 2015: Interactions: Many people are focused on building following. Others target only people with many followers (influencers) or get crazy about clicks. Interactions - that's what really matters in social media!

Favorite tool: ViralContentBuzz. It lets me put my content in front of social media users who will share it with their followers

[Disclaimer: I am co-founder but I am also its active user!]

People to follow: I'd recommend @TomPick, @amabaie, @BrianHughes116

Lisa Buyer

Twitter - @lisabuyer

Lisa is a speaker and the author of "Social PR Secrets", an expert on social media and PR. You can join her on Social #PR Chat, covering trends in Social PR, Mobile PR, Brand PR and SEO PR, or read her posts on Search Engine Watch. If you are going to PubCon or SES, look for her panels. Start with a question about yoga. Lisa is a yoga expert too.

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Focus in 2015: Using video storytelling as way to reach the mobile user

Favorite tool: Buffer and Canva - Buffer lets me cross promote, schedule, analyze content and curate content. Camva makes me look and feel like a visual super star. I am not a graphic artist, but Canva let's me create visuals that look professional standout in the newsfeed!

People to follow: @KristaNeher @MartyWeintraub @MannyRivas @JabezLebret

Brent Csutoras

Twitter - @brentcsutoras

When a friend introduced me to Brent years ago, she said, "He can see into the future. Everything he says comes true." I still find that her comment applies to Brent's incredible understanding of social media and trends. Brent is the Owner of @ Kairay Media, as well as the Chief Social Media Strategist at Pixel Road Designs and Alpha Brand Media. You can follow him on Google Plus and read his posts on Kairay Media Blog, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Brent Csutoras Blog.

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Focus in 2015: It might seem like a simple element to focus on, but you should really focus on Quality over Quantity in 2015. Across the board, from Google to Facebook to Pinterest, there has been a huge focus on reducing the amount of low quality content (and even just average quality content) that is being shown to users. Spend more time focused on making each article, Infographic, update, etc, as high quality as possible, as well as using all the existing features on each site to increase visibility (hashtags, mentions, paid promotions, etc).

Favorite tool: This is a very tough one, because we have a whole suite on social media tools we have built internally and share with only a handful of close friends and colleagues. That said, the one social media tool I do use and really like, is BufferApp, as its integration into my browsers and phone are seamless and it makes it really easy to schedule updates across multiple accounts.

People to follow: I really like Kristel Cuenta and not just because I hired her years back, but because she has blown me away day after day with her knowledge of Facebook and her ability to successfully market content on all the top social media sites. I also really like Ashley Welter, who is super smart, very good with content creation, especially Infographics, and content marketing, and who continues to impress me on a regular basis.

Matt Siltala

Twitter - @Matt_Siltala

Matt is President of Avalaunch Media. He is known for attention-grabbing infographics, social media tools and speaking. If you saw Matt speak at Pubcon, SMX, SES or Search Engine Strategies conference, you remember his engaging presentation style that carries through to his social channels (see all of them on his Google Plus profile). One thing for sure - you would have remembered his beard. He blogs for Search Engine Journal, Infographic Journal, Avalaunch Media Blog, and others about social media, tools, and winning strategies. Check out his Slideshare presentations.

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Focus in 2015: For us at Avalaunch Media it's all about creating the kind of content that people want. Is is shareable? Does it answer a question that people are asking? Does it solve a problem? Does it entertain? If you can create this type of content, you will build up a following.

Favorite tool: I love the monitoring tools. Anything that helps me keep an ear out for brand mentions & what people are saying. Tools like Trackur are great for this, but there are also tools out there for specific platforms. For example I love Pin Alerts for keeping an eye on Pinterest.

People to follow: One that I continue to love watching grow in her career is Akvile Harlow (@akvileharlow on Twitter) She did a fantastic job for the Third Door Media crew, and continues to grow on her own now.

Courtney Seiter

Twitter: @courtneyseiter

Courtney is Master and Commander of social media and content. She is Content Crafter @buffer; writes and shares about social media, writing, culture and productivity. Her Twitter style is engaging, conversational, and fun. She writes for many publications, including TIME, Fast Company, Inc., Lifehacker, Huffington Post, Social Media Today, to name a few (literally). You will find a full list on her Google Plus profile.

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Focus in 2015: We're working on doing a lot more video in 2015 - both short, quick hits and more substantial items like webinars. Though it can be a bit more labor intensive, the way video has taken over on Facebook has shown us it'll likely be a good bet for our social strategy!

Favorite tool: I use Buffer every day for social media scheduling and analytics (I loved it even before I worked there!), and we also rely on other great tools like Canva for creating images and ContentGems for finding great content to share.

People to follow: Peg Fitzpatrick, who is crazy smart and has such a great attitude; Mari Smith, whom I just interviewed and learned a MILLION new things; Ann Handley, who has awesome writing advice; Melonie Dodaro, whose blog is always super impressive; and Gini Dietrich, who is whip-smart and just the most fun to read.

Timothy Carter

Twitter: @TimothyCarter

Timothy is an incredible resource on travel, Hawaii, food, search engine optimization, social media, social and search marketing. Look for his posts on Search Engine Journal, Small Business Trends, AuthorityLabs, Business2Community.com, and other publications. He is utilizing social channels to the fullest.

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Focus in 2015: Getting to know who your business' idea customers are. Truly knowing your customers you will then know where to find them, how to connect with them, what to write to elicit a response from them, how to sell to them, etc. Knowing your customer is critical to your social media marketing/messaging.

Favorite tool: Buffer. Allows you to schedule and share posts to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and G+ throughout the day and at optimal times to be seen. Their analytic data is great to know what's working where, when and why. Added bonus is the Buffer browser extension which lets me share any photo, page and schedule it up.

People to follow: Some of my favorite social media experts would include: Joel Comm, Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, Ted Rubin, & Darren Rowse.

Tips from SEO Experts

Janet Driscoll Miller

Twitter: @janetdmiller

Janet is one of the top experts on demand generation through digital marketing, including SEO and PPC. Founder, president and CEO of @MarketingMojo, she is a frequent speaker at SMX conferences, Search Engine Strategies, MarketingProfs B2B and Pubcon (Slideshare presentations). You can find her posts on Search Engine Land and articles in B2B Magazine, Visibility Magazine and others. Janet has an amazing depth to her knowledge of digital marketing and shares insights that are always helpful and current.

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Focus in 2015: With recent announcements by Facebook that page fans will likely no longer see page updates, it's crucial for companies to rethink their Facebook strategies. Should you focus on attaining page likes? I would answer no, given that you'll still need to use advertising methods to promote posts to your fans. I think this is the year that companies need to refocus efforts on Facebook on conversion and ROI.

Favorite tool: I really love using Trackur. I tested many monitoring tools, free and paid, a few years back and I find that Trackur really gives me the information I need. I often use this listening tool to find out who is discussing a particular brand and capitalize on that where possible for social and search engine optimization.

Casie Gillette

Twitter - @casieg

Casie is Director of Online Marketing @Komarketing and one of my most favorite people in Digital Marketing. She has contagious positivity about her that shines through social media. Read her posts on KoMarketing Associates, iMedia Connection, Bruce Clay, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, SocialMedia.org, Isoosi, Salesforce, and other publications. Follow her on SlideShare, Google+, and Instagram. Casie is a frequent speaker at SearchLove Boston 2015 and SMX Conferences.

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Focus in 2015: Regardless of whether you are just getting started or are five years into your social media program, take a deep dive into your data to figure out what your audience is actually doing. What types of content are they sharing, clicking on, commenting on, etc. Between Google Analytics data and the individual social analytics data, there is a lot of information that can be found. Actually understanding what your audience is doing will help you create a better strategy and drive real results.

Favorite tool: Twitter is definitely my favorite tool both personally and for business. Personally it's allowed me to connect with my industry peers, generate visibility into both my personal brand and my company's brand, and it helps keep me updated on what's happening in the industry. Business wise, I love that it offers a direct connection between companies and customers and companies and the media. A lot of businesses, especially those in the B2B space, have this misconception that their customers aren't on Twitter and/or those in their industry aren't using Twitter. It's an opportunity many are missing out on. Twitter gives us a look into what's being shared, what people are looking for, what people are recommending, and so much more.

People to follow: A few that come to mind immediately include Brent Csutoras, Marty Weintraub, Amy Vernon, Annalise Kaylor, Ric Dragon, and I know I'm leaving out a ton of people.

Alan Bleiweiss

Twitter: @Alan Bleiweiss

Alan is the best Forensic SEO Consultant I know. He pulled many companies out of a sudden digital obscurity back into online significance. Author, trainer, and speaker, he is known on Twitter as "snarky rant specialist". Read his posts on Search Engine Journal and Moz. Follow him on Slideshare. Nobody will teach you more about SEO audits than Alan.

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Focus in 2015: Be unique, yet always be genuine and understand that you need to first and foremost be helpful, engaging and evoke emotion. Mix it up as well. For me it's an opportunity to express my personal brand, and it's not about the sell.

Favorite tool: Twitter's own statistics system. Helps me to know what's effective when I want to review my reach, my message and my impact.

People to follow: @JessicaGottlieb @GlenGilmore @ScottMonty @AdamSinger @Jennita ... Too many more to name...

Scott Cowley

Twitter - @scottcowley

I met Scott when he was working for ZAGG and later at SEO.com consulting about search engine optimization, social media, and business strategy. His in-depth and thorough approach always set him apart. He is now Marketing strategy instructor & PhD candidate at @ASU, focuses on research, and continues to share his insights with followers.

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Focus in 2015: Put the "strategy" back into social media strategy. Lately, I've been grounding myself in some of the classic management work by folks like Porter, Barney, and Drucker. While not completely fool-proof, they introduce disciplined ways of analyzing the market and identifying sources of competitive advantage. Companies have 2 options: (1) make social media a "me too" costs-of-being-digital function or (2) make social a real source of differentiation that generates measurable performance gains. The latter is much more fun, but companies need to make more of an effort to understand what they have and how to leverage it.

Favorite tool: My favorite tool is TweetDeck. Real-time streaming Twitter data is pretty fantastic with the right search parameters.

People to follow: @DrewConrad @coryedwards @newspapergrl @HBSmktg

Tips from Local SEO Experts

Darren Shaw

Twitter - @DarrenShaw_

Darren is Founder of @whitespark. He tweets local SEO content, participates in local forums. He writes for Whitespark. Darren speaks at many conferences sharing his experience and knowledge about local search (his presentations on Slideshare). If you work with local businesses and have not checked out Local Citation Finder or Local Rank Tracker, you are missing out.

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Focus in 2015: One thing? Provide value to your followers. While this seems pretty obvious, I'd say you need to make sure you're sharing content they'll be interested in. If I could add more than just one thing, I'd also recommend no auto-posting, make sure you're engaging with people, add images to your tweets, and try to mix in some fun here and there. Just be real and be responsive. These are all the same recommendations I would have made in 2008. Nothing really new for 2015. Sorry!

Favorite tool: Tweetdeck, because it lets me monitor my lists, notifications, hashtags, and searches all at the same time.

People to follow: @LarryKim has a valuable twitter feed, but it appears to be completely automated and likely run by someone other than him. @randfish has a great twitter account that's completely genuine.

Carrie Hill

Twitter - @CarrieHill

Carrie is Founder of IgnitorDigital.com. She writes for Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, The Hairpin, and other publications sharing her passion for search, social media, and Schema Markup. Check out her hobby blog LooksLikeHomemade.com. Look for Carrie at conferences where she speaks about many things, including Schema for Local businesses.

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Focus in 2015: Engagement - Spewing out information and not engaging with an audience seems to be pretty pointless these days - People are getting REALLY good at ignoring ads & promotional posts

Favorite tool: I tend to be a purist and spend a lot of time right in Twitter or Facebook - but for managing larger accounts my go-to is Hootsuite. I like that you can set up multiple tabs and clients and be sure what account you're posting to before you send.

People to follow: I'm a big Schema fan - so my favorites tend to be in the analytical realm. I love @AnnieCushing, Aaron Bradley (@aaranged), @AJKohn, @LarryKim, Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec) - and for pure Social Media smarts- @akvileharlow, @jennita, and @JenniferCario

Kevin Mullett

Twitter - @kmullett

Kevin works for Cirrus ABS and is widely known for his knowledge of tools. He specializes in digital marketing, local SEO, social media, design, UX/UI. He is also an expert on Twitter chats. He is one of the most responsive and helpful people in social media. Kevin frequently speaks at SMX and other conferences. Follow him on Slideshare.

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Focus in 2015: Focus on being useful to your audience because that isn't a trick, a trend, and it never stops working. Therefore your posts and interactions should: answer people's questions, solve their problems, evoke emotion, and entertain them. And finally, remember to H.E.L.P., Humanize your message, Encourage conversation, Listen first, Promote Less.

Favorite tool: It's hard for a tools guy to select just one, but that one is the Google Analytics URL Builder extension for Google Chrome. I selected this tool because everyone reading this can go install and start using it today, for free, and begin to better measure their offline and online social marketing efforts.

People to follow: I highly recommend following my fellow marketing tool junkies @douglaskarr and @IanCleary, @dennisyu and @jonloomer for everything that is Facebook, @anniecushing for analytics, and @aknecht because I said so.

Tips from Content Generation and Distribution Experts

Ian Lurie

Twitter - @portentint

Ian is CEO of Portent. He writes about SEO, social media, online copywriting, strategy and analytics. He is technical, methodical, and funny. You can find his posts on Moz, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land, AllThingsD, Forbes.com, and TechCrunch. He recorded training for Lynda.com. Check out his latest book "One Trick Ponies Get Shot." I highly recommend following Ian on Slideshare. His presentation style is both humorous and extremely well-organized. He is a speaker at many conferences, including SMX, Searchfest, and PubCon.

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Focus in 2015: Community. Management. So many people and organizations put a ton of effort into content, ads, etc. and then leave their potential customers/fans sitting out there. Answer a question and you don't just earn one person's trust - you earn the trust of every single person who sees you answer. And, someone needs to keep the community you've built on-mission. That's what a community manager does. Invest the time.

Favorite tool: Sprout Social and RivalIQ are in a tie. Sprout Social is a brilliant, affordable reporting and monitoring tool that I can quickly teach to clients and the team. It's versatile, and lets me go from basic messaging to fancier monitoring. RivalIQ makes competitive monitoring - one of the banes of my existence - really easy.

People to follow: Marty Weintraub, Sara Lingafelter

Arnie Kuenn

Twitter - @ArnieK

Arnie is the CEO of Vertical Measures, speaker, blogger, and one of the top experts in lead generation through content marketing. He is a frequent speaker and author of Content Marketing Works and Accelerate! He writes for Marketing Land, Pole Position Marketing, MarketingProfs, Vertical Measures, and many others. In 2014, Arnie was honored as the Interactive Person of the Year in Arizona. Arnie's presentations are incredibly actionable.

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Focus in 2015: Research and choose 10 new ""influencers"" on social media and engage with the throughout the year. Share their posts, ask them questions, etc.

Favorite tool: I would say Hootsuite as it allows me to very quickly post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I can schedule updates, I can review reports to see how well my updates are performing, and I can set up many different lists to track.

People to follow: I think Alan Bleiweiss does a great job on his social media channels, as well as Jay Baer and Tim Moore.

Melissa Fach

Twitter - @seoaware

Melissa is the Social Community Manager for Pubcon. She is an expert on copywriting, knows SEO and design. She writes for CopyPress, AuthorityLabs (editor and writer), SearchNewsCentral.com, SearchEngineJournal.com, Moz's YouMoz, the Search Engine People blog, Site Pro News, and more. She is a speaker at many conferences as well (Slideshare). Melissa is a fan of cats. Big ones. She volunteers at Big Cat Habitat and shares some incredible pictures and videos of big kittens.

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Focus in 2015: Well, if you are an individual make sure you are focusing on personal branding and making sure people understand you know your stuff. Please don't tweet unworthy items, because that makes people not take you seriously. Read articles and make sure they are valid and useful before you tweet. For businesses, make sure you are available, that you are sharing things that will interest different demographics of your audience and show some personality. Let people get to know you and what you stand for. Also, focus on only the best customer service. Tweeting the wrong thing can crush a business. For everyone, be real, be yourself. Don't fake anything, because fake isn't unique or memorable in a good way.

Favorite tool: I am a huge fan of Buffer. It allows me to schedule out shares for all social channels and control everything I need to control. Plus, I can manage multiple client accounts at the same time. It just saves me so much time, it is my favorite social tool.

People to follow: Neil Patel, Kristi Hines, Rand Fishkin, Lisa Buyer, Eric Enge, Mark Traphagan, Barry Schwartz

Gabriella Sannino

Twitter - @SEOcopy

Gabriella is a digital marketing veteran, Co-Founder of Level343, speaker. She is international SEO Consultant and Strategist focusing on copywriting and distribution. You can find Gabriella's posts on Level 343 blog, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine People, Social Media Examiner. She also participates in many on-line communities, many social channels, conversing in multiple languages.

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Focus in 2015: Brands and small business alike need great content that encourages engagement in 2015. For example is your content useful, is it approachable, can you strategically tell stories with different types of content? All boils down to Content domination. 🙂

Favorite tool: BuzzSumo. As I stated Content Domination is what I'm suggesting and I'm sticking to it! Therefore, what a better tool to analyze what content performs best?

People to follow: Shelly Kramer, Aaron Lee, Kristi Hines, Brian Solis, Brian Carter

Michelle Lowery

Twitter - @MichelleDLowery

Michelle is Co-Founder @PassionFruitCG and a freelance writer. Her articles were published on Search Engine Journal, Buffer, ISOOSI, Authority Labs, SEO Copywriting Blog, Bruce Clay, and others. She is a speaker at WordCamp, PubCon, State of Search, and other conferences.

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Focus in 2015: Being authentic. And that may mean, at times, being less active on social media. If you're sharing things just to share, and not because they're valuable, you're not doing anyone any good. Share information because you find it helpful or enjoyable in some way, not just to make sure you appear in your followers' feeds at regular intervals.

Favorite tool: TweetDeck, because it allows me to use multiple accounts at once (business and personal). I especially like it because it allows me to create columns to follow certain hashtags, which is helpful for Twitter chats or events like conferences. It also has a scheduling feature, which can be very helpful for sharing new blog posts or event information.

People to follow: If you're not following Kate Buck, Jr. (@katebuckjr), you need to fix that today. She knows her stuff, and she puts her own advice to excellent use. I've seen her speak at a couple of conferences, and the information she shares is invaluable. Plus, she brings a lot of fun to everything she does!

Laura Cairns-Crest

Twitter - @ljcrest

Laura is Content Strategist & Certified SEO Copywriter. She is an expert user of Social Media. She writes for Threadwatch, Top Shelf Copy, and other publications sharing tips on SEO content development and strategy, Content creation/editing/marketing, Social community management. She is one of the people who uses social media for communication, not promotion.

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Focus in 2015: I would focus on building communities around your brand -- not about your brand. The "healthy" social media communities I've noticed on Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook are well-managed pin that they keep a tight rein on spammers and promotional fire-hose posts that offer little to zero value to the community's discussions. They also tend to foster genuine conversations and encourage the sharing of others' content, recognizing that social media networking and sharing is not a zero-sum game.

Favorite tool: I tend to favor HootSuite for its dashboard: it shows real-time engagement and makes managing a social media community that much easier. It also has analytics capabilities for those of us without a ton of resources to devote to paid social media analyses.

People to follow: There are many that come to mind -- and I'm sure I've forgotten several -- but an abbreviated list would include Kristi Hines, Gini Dietrich, Shelly Kramer, Ann Smarty, Brian Solis, Ryan Hanley, Mark Traphagen, Mark Schaefer, Jay Baer and Martin Shervington.

Tips from Conversion Optimization Experts

Bryan Eisenberg

@TheGrok

Bryan is Founder and CMO of IdealSpot, Keynote speaker, best-selling author. Bryan is The Authority on persona modeling. If you have not read his latest book "Buyer Legends", you need to. The least you can do is follow BuyerLegends Blog. You will not find better insights into your customer's decision-making process than by reading Bryan's posts and books. Bryan has been a featured expert by The Wall Street Journal and the The New York Times and quoted in many international publications. Check out Bryan's Google Plus page and find more channels and blogs to follow.

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Focus in 2015: Create content like tapas; bite size but incredibly tasty.

Favorite tool: WordPress. You have to have a home base for all your outreach.

People to follow: Ted Rubin, Jason Miller

Tim Ash

Twitter - @tim_ash

Tim is CEO of SiteTuners, on-line behavior expert, author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization. Chairperson of Conversion Conference. You will find his posts and interviews on Search Engine Watch, ClickZ, Marketing Land, Webmaster Radio. However, if you have not seen Tim speak, you must seek out the opportunity. Every presentation I attended was standing room only and for a good reason - content and especially delivery are always outstanding. Look at Tim's Google Plus profile and find ways to connect and benefit from his incredible knowledge of usability, landing page optimization, and ways to reach your customer on a cognitive level.

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Focus in 2015: Focus on giving - expertise, connections, resources. Help people with their problems and you will be remembered and thought of in a better light. Don't try to push your agenda on others. Just think about building your karmic bank account, and have faith that it will come back to you in the future.

Favorite tool: Facebook. It allows for rich interactions, and sharing of content in a variety of formats.

People to follow: Joe Pulizzi is the content marketing guru and always has high quality stuff to share.

Tips from Analytics Experts

Annie Cushing

Twitter - @AnnieCushing

Annie is VP of Marketing for @YourTango and is widely known for making data sexy. She is The Expert on Dashboards in Excel, writes a one-of-a-kind Excel-focused column for Search Engine Land. You can see her posts on Annielytics blog, Moz and Marketing Land as well. It is a treat to see Annie speak - catch her panels at SEMpdx, SMX, SearchLove and other conferences. I share Annie's passion for shoes.

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Focus in 2015: Find a way to be useful. People will love your contributions if you help make their lives easier in some way.

Favorite tool: Buzzsumo. It shows you what's popular around topics.

People to follow: @jennita is both fun and responsive. So is @kristy.

Alan K'necht

Twitter - @aknecht

Alan is Public Speaker & Founding partner at Digital Always Media, co-host of #SocialChat, and Author of The Last Original Idea. He is a regular speaker at Internet conferences - Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, PubCon, eMetrics, Socialize, and others - sharing tips about SEO, SEM, and Web Analytics. Find a way to attend his panel at a conference. Alan is very effective at explaining how to measure the ROI of web marketing projects.

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Focus in 2015: Being yourself and truthful. It's surprising how many people try to be something they're not and then wonder why they fail at social.

Favorite tool: An extremely difficult question. I several different tools for different reasons. 1) Twitter for the immediacy of it and the ability to quickly start up public conversations that attract others. 2) Facebook, for keeping up with friends and family and sharing things with a greater sense of longevity. 3) LinkedIn, great way to keep tabs of business contacts and share with them industry news. 4) G+ primarily for the Hangouts on Air, but also another venue for finding great content by joining topical communities.

People to follow: I highly recommend following Mark Traphagen across all social and especially via G+

Tips from Data Scientists Experts

Dr. Pete Meyers

Twitter - @dr_pete

Dr. Pete is a cognitive psychologist and resident Marketing Scientist at Moz and Mad Hatter of MozCast. He hunts "the algorithm to find out what makes Google tick." Google Plus or Reddit, Dr. Pete connects data to trends. His presentations (find on Slideshare) always are informative, data-rich, and thought-provoking.

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Focus in 2015: Science Step back from audience metrics. Whether its followers or engagement or any v2.1 metric you can think of, we're all guilty of focusing on our audience as a whole. The most value I've found in social media over time has been in bridging connections to individuals. Think about who you really want to connect with and work on crossing those six (or often less) degrees of separation, one by one. The right relationship at the right time can be worth 10,000 followers.

Bill Slawski

Twitter - @bill_slawski

Bill is Director of Search at Go Fish Digital. SEO veteran, he is known for in-depth analyses of Google search patents. If anyone can make sense of where Google is going, it would be Bill. On his blog - SEO by the Sea - he writes about search, semantic web, patents, the environment, music, and life. You can also find his posts on Moz, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Watch. Speaker at PubCon and SMX, he shares his presentations on Slideshare.

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Focus in 2015: Capture the attention of people whom you consider to be your audience, with what you post Be a magnet for their interests.

Favorite tool: Twitter. You can capture and share a lot with very few words. Instead of the hours or days I might spend on writing a blog post, I expect to get my point across with only a sentence on Twitter.

Mark Traphagen

Twitter - @marktraphagen

Mark is a Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing, and Branding expert. He is Sr. Director of Online Marketing at Stone Temple Consulting. Aside from Twitter, follow Mark on Google Plus. He shares information based on Stone Temple case studies as well as very insightful observations. Mark is one of the top authorities on Google Plus business pages, social media, digital marketing, and paid search. He speaks at conferences and contributes to numerous blogs, some of them are Stone Temple Consulting Blog, Marketing Land Social Media Column, Search Engine Land, Moz.com, Maximize Social Business Blog, AuthorRank.org, Social Media Today.

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Focus in 2015: Don't "do" social media! That is, don't treat social media like some thing unto itself that you do just because everyone does. Instead, make sure your social media flows naturally out of your overall marketing plan, brand identity, and targeted content.

Favorite tool: The one that currently has my heart is Canva, because it makes it so ridiculously easy for a Photoshop-phobic like me to produce great images for my content and social posts.

People to follow: @jaybaer @stonetemple @chrisbrogan

Tips from PPC Experts

Akvile Harlow

Twitter - @AkvileHarlow

Akvile is one of the most recognized people in social media. Until recently, she was Marketing and Advertising Operations Manager at Third Door Media - a friend and a photographer at SMX conferences. She is now Digital Marketing & Advertising Consultant, focusing on PPC and Social Media. She writes for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, SEO.com, Crescent Interactive, speaks at conferences (Slideshare), and makes bucket lists. Follow her on Pinterest.

 

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Focus in 2015: Not long ago, Facebook and Twitter began rolling out call-to-action buttons to help drive conversions via social (ie: shop now, sign up, contact us). This year in particular, I think we'll start seeing an increase in socially driven commerce on other social platforms as well, as these two social giants carve a path for it. If you have flash sales or limited time deals to offer your audience, this would be an excellent avenue to explore as it has great potential to boost revenue directly from your social efforts. If you work in eCommerce and haven't done so already, have a plan in place and be ready to utilize these buttons as soon as they become available to your accounts this year.

Favorite tool: While there are a large variety of helpful tools out there for just about everything that you may need to improve efficiency or assist with social reporting, I'd have to say that by far, Buffer is my favorite. Whether it's for my personal or client accounts, it's a great and intuitive tool for scheduling posts on a variety of social channels and their detailed analytics help add valuable insights to reporting.

People to follow: The online marketing industry truly has some phenomenal and creative talent. Over the years, I've been mentored by, have looked up to, befriended, and collaborated with a number of really great social media marketers. To name a few, I'd highly recommend connecting with Lisa Buyer, Marty Weintraub, Matt Siltala, Merry Morud, Courtney Seiter, Jen Lopez, Mark Traphagan, Kristy Bolsinger, Monique Pouget, Travis Wright, and Manny Rivas.

Jenny Halasz

@jennyhalasz

Jenny is President of JLH Marketing. She is a veteran digital marketer, writes for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, SiteTuners, and others. She is a frequent speaker at SMX, SES, Pubcon, Conversion Conference, Internet Summit, AMA and other conferences on PPC.

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Focus in 2015: Focus on being present. Auto-tweets are great for being top of mind, but be sure to mix them at least 50/50 with actual interaction.

Favorite tool: I'm enjoying sumall. I was never a big fan of follow friday (mostly because it took extra time from me) so sumall sends out an announcement each week of who my top followers were that week. It's a simple way to say thanks. They have some cool analysis tools too, but I haven't really had time to look into them.

People to follow: @Cord, @jpsherman, @casieg are some of my personal favorites.

Beyond Twitter

I would like to add several people to the list who are active on other channels making significant contributions to digital marketing and social media.

Jennifer Cario - @JenniferCario - Jennifer is Founder and President of SugarSpun Marketing. She is one of the most knowledgeable and insightful Social Media experts I know. She is not as active on Twitter. Follow her on Pinterest. Find webinars (best bet: Market Motive webinars) and posts she writes. Check out her recent book: "Pinterest Marketing: An Hour a Day."

Marty Weintraub - @aimClear - Marty is Founder & Evangelist of aimClear. His digital marketing expertise is based on psychographic analysis, data, and science. If you get a chance to see Marty speak at a conference, you will never forget the experience. Every piece of content, every presentation is filled with unexpected conclusions and inspirational out-of-the box thinking. The least you can do is follow @aimClear blog.

Avinash Kaushik - @avinash - Avinash is an author, Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, and Co-Founder and Chief Education Officer for Market Motive. If you want to fall in love with Analytics, data, and digital marketing success, I highly recommend following Avinash's posts, presentations, and webinars on MarketMotive. He makes analytics and reporting useful, simple, and fun. Follow Avinash on Google Plus in addition to Twitter. Check out his books: Web Analytics, Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity

Jennifer Sable Lopez - @jennita - Jen is a Community Director at Moz. She has been managing communities since before the official communities were born. She knows all about community support and speaks about community management at many conferences. She is a blogger and a traveler.

Rhea Drysdale - @Rhea - Rhea is Chief Executive Officer of Outspoken Media. When your company's online reputation is hanging in the balance, you call Rhea. She is extremely knowledgeable about search, social media, technical SEO, and could save your business from digital crash and burn. Attend her presentations or read her blog posts for actionable tips on how to avoid social media disaster.

Traditional Social Media Influencers

When you search for "social media experts to follow on Twitter", you will get Twitter lists in Google results, thanks to the recent Google-Twitter partnership. Somewhat surprisingly, you will see some LinkedIn and Google Plus profiles that have the search string in them. You will also get posts listing Twitter personalities with most followers. Some of the links are below.

* Leader image with work by mkhmarketing