10 Globally Renowned Digital and Social Media Experts to Follow

Digital Marketing and Social Media are fast evolving topics. It’s hard to keep track of things for many people, so we always look up to some kind of an ‘expert’ or a ‘go to person’ to get the latest knowledge we need.

The question most Sri Lankan marketers face is that they don’t have too many trusted ‘go to people’ in Sri Lanka to learn what they want. When you are totally clueless about whom to follow to get latest knowledge about Digital Marketing and Social Media , you can easily get misguided by some self-proclaimed “world-class expert” who have no much of recognition even in their own home country. 

Let me make your job easy. I am going to list 10 truly globally renowned Digital Marketing and Social Media experts who pioneered this field. They have proven their expertise in the field over many years by helping brands all over the world succeed in the digital age. They have written books with substance (anybody can write a book without substance and claim to be a published author), and sold millions of copies of their books. They have spoken at big global events like SXSWTEDSMMW, and many more. Above all, you can find enough knowledge about Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and about converging digital tools with traditional marketing by only reading the freely available blogs written by these people or by watching some of the videos of speeches they have delivered. Best thing is, you can learn all of these things without having to pay a cent. They write blogs, and they do podcasts!

Here’s the trick. Appoint a junior executive (or a management trainee) from your marketing team and assign them the responsibility of following these 10 people on a weekly basis. And then ask them to circulate a summary of what they have learned. Maybe they can do one hour training session every month, to pass the knowledge he gathered to rest of your team. This way, you can save hundreds of thousands of money you would otherwise waste on workshops and training programs which covers nothing more than what is available free of charge on the internet.

Here goes the list in no particular order.

I first started following Rohit’s ‘Influential Marketing Blog’ back in 2006 during my early career. For last 10 years, Rohit had been really consistent with his blog, and has published a large number of valuable articles about ‘digital influence’ and social media. He has written many books about digital influence and social economy, including bestsellers like Personality Not Included and Likeonomics. For anyone interested in hearing the latest digital trends from a person who had been truly consistent in predicting future digital trends, Rohit surely is the go to person. Read his blog here.

Ann is another digital age marketer I followed for nearly 10 years. I first discovered Ann’s writings through MarketingProfs.com, a community website for marketing professionals around the world. Today, Anne is one of the most influential authority figures in the field of Content Marketing. If you need to learn more about what’s the big buzz about Content Marketing, then Ann is the person you need to follow closely.

Mari is one of the best go to persons on everything about Facebook pages. For tips of getting more organic likes for your fan page, to get your fans deeply engaged with your content, Mari will teach you a great deal of social media engagement strategies for Facebook. Of course her expertise doesn’t limit to Facebook, but I have bookmarked Mari as my number 1 source of knowledge about Facebook fan pages.

He sounds a little drunk in his podcast (err… pubcast!) but that doesn’t hinder the quality of content he has to share with you about anything related to Facebook ads. Just as I look up to Mari Smith for Facebook pages related knowledge, I totally rely on Jon for everything about Facebook ads. Jon Loomer is a true master of the Facebook ads platform!

“After mediating a crocodile family dispute, look at what Micheal Stelzner has found!”. That’s one of my favorite lines from his Social Media Podcast onSocialMediaExaminer.com. Micheal is the best resource composer I’ve seen in the field of Social Media Marketing. His podcasts features the best minds in the world of Social Media and Digital Marketing. In my bucket list, I hope to attend his Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego someday (let’s hope the long distance air travel costs will come down very soon).

Author of the books ‘Engage’ and ‘Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy’, Brian Solis is a Social Media professional having roots in traditional PR. If you are someone who ended up in Social Media from a marketing background, here is a person who will bring a totally different perspective to your worldview about Social Media. I highly recommend you to check out Brian’s personal website and read some of his books.

The man who inspired millions of digital marketers around the world! I first started following Seth in 2005, and his book ‘Permission Marketing’ is the first ever book I’ve ordered on Amazon.com. As a young marketer 11 years ago, I was fascinated by his philosophy of ‘Permission Marketing’. I remember I was talking about Permission Marketing with some Sri Lankan marketers in 2008/9, and most of them said “that will never happen in Sri Lanka!”. 10 years since I read his book, I teach the concept of Permission Marketing in every Digital Marketing class I teach at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura.

Think Analytics, think Kaushik. He is the #1 Analytics guru on the internet (at least according to my ratings). I am someone who started following Avinash from his very first blog post on Occam's Razor, a long time before he became an ambassador for Google Analytics. Today, Avinash has evolved into a Data marketer; an evolution of being an analytics guy for a very long time period I guess. So, if you need to be in touch with what’s happening in topics such as big data driven programmatic marketing etc., here is the guy to follow!

OMG! How can I ever forget the friendly Australian who helps hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of bloggers around the world to do ProBlogging! When I started my blog amisampath.com nearly 8 years ago, I followed Darren closely to learn tips on how make a successful blog. Well, my blog never made a global list of top 10 of something but I have had some remarkable achievements in my life thanks to the blog I started using Darren’s tips. Darren still is one of the most influential authority figures on the internet about Blogging, and content marketing.

All the 9 other people I’ve listed up to now are practical experts of Social Media and Digital Marketing. But Dr. Dave Chaffey is one great academic you should not miss to follow. The author if the book ‘Digital Marketing’, a recommended reading by CIM for all their student members, Dr. Chaffey is someone who made significant contributions the knowledge body on digital marketing.

 Now, these are truly globally renowned Social Media and Digital Marketing professionals to follow. If you get a chance to attend a conference or a workshop where these people are speaking at, never hesitate to throw your money and book a ticket. You can expect a lot more than a 5 star lunch such a conference or a workshop.

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