2010’s Top 12 Social Media Experts

5 Social Media Up and Comers to Watch

Social media is a multi-directional conversation with millions of participants talking and sharing information. As with any social dialog, there are always some voices that are particularly worth listening to, whose contribution is especially valuable, and who set the conversation’s tone.  Here’s my list of social media experts, whose contributions I found invaluable during 2010.

2010’s Top 12 Social Media Experts

While this list could be much longer, here’s my list of the who’s who of social media and why I found their insights during 2010.

  1. Peter Shankman. This long time friend and social media trailblazer should be at the top of everyone’s list for teaching us to be fearless in social media and more importantly in life. Peter, who jumps out of planes for relaxation, takes risks that most of us don’t even dream about. His latest entrepreneurial venture HARO (aka Help A Reporter Out) should be part of your daily reading list if you want to gain broader media coverage. Recently, Peter tested Klout as a way to determine a party list to create a useful sponsorship venue. Peter is author of Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World.
  2. Chris Brogan. As the writer of on AdAge’s number two ranked Marketing Blog, Chris makes the hard work behind social media marketing and marketing in general look easy. While it helps he’s a facile writer, Chris, author of Trust Agents, was an engaged social media participant long before the term was coined. Along with Christopher Penn, he helped found Podcamp. Chris continually looks for ways to collaborate with others and expand his reach. I recommend following his blog and/or email newsletter for useful social insights that you can use in your business.
  3. Lee Odden. Another long time friend who’s been at the forefront of online marketing and social media, Lee, unlike the others on this list, got into social media for its search optimization value. He’s a top rated, regular speaker at major search and blogging events where he consistently delivers new, insightful content. His blog, which just celebrated its seventh anniversary, makes the case for why your corporate blog must be a group effort to continually deliver value for your readers while aiding search optimization. If nothing else, check out his Big List of Blogs for inspiration.
  4. Brian Solis. A PR practioner, Brian provides great thought leadership in the social media space. Brian’s strength is his ability to concisely convey difficult concepts to a broad audience. His infographics have become the basis for much discussion and set a new standard. Earlier this year, he published Engage, an important book for your ever-expanding social media bookshelf.  His blog is a must read and should be in every social media, marketer and PR professional’s RSS reader.
  5. David Meerman Scott. A writer turned marketer, David’s been leading the way in ising social media to expand your reach, regardless of whether you call it marketing or PR. He built the base for his first best selling book with a free, viral e-book. A prolific writer and speaker, David is now teaching us how to be prepared for unexpected events and business issues  and how to use real time news to our advantage.
  6. Trey Pennington. While you can’t detect his southern accent on social media platforms, Trey taught me the importance of stories to marketing. As a #MMChat guest, Trey outlined how stories are critical to the marketing mix. Follow him on Twitter, his blog or check him out at the many conferences he attends.
  7. B.L. Ochman. Stretching new marketing technologies boundaries for years, B.L.’s a true New Yorker who’s not afraid to state her mind. In addition to her pet-related social media start up, PawFun, B.L. blogs at What’s Next Blog and writes for notable business publications including AdAge. In 2010 B.L. joined Bursten-Marsteller’s Proof Integrated Communications as Managing Director of Emerging Media to change social media marketing from the agency side. Stay tuned, she’s still writing this episode!
  8. David Berkowitz. With Harry Potter like magic, David is on top of all of the latest technologies. He teaches us how to use social media’s tools to achieve marketing ends. As Senior Director of Emerging Media for 360i, David’s a social media whiz as well as a really sweet guy who’s always happy to help. He blogs at Inside The Marketer’s Studio.
  9. Carrie Kerpen and hubby Dave Kerpen. A pair of born, bred New Yorkers, Carrie and Dave Kerpen are the likeable brains behind Likeable Media. The Kerpens changed the firm’s name from K-buzz to take advantage of Facebook’s use of “likes”. Don’t let their unchic heart of Queens location fool you, this is one social media savvy couple. They’re so creative that they got their wedding sponsored (a move rivaled Peter Shankman’s thirtieth birthday sponsorship bonanza!)
  10. Dave Fleet. On his blog, Dave provides useful insights focused on reputation monitoring, crisis management and company guidelines.  Whether your firm is involved in social media or not, his blog is a must read for every senior executive, marketer, PR professional and human resources leader. In today’s social media landscape, it’s critical to be prepared should your firm be the center of attention, good or bad.
  11. Danny Brown. If you want the company line, don’t read Danny Brown’s blog. Danny provides useful, often contrarian insights that make readers think. Also, he’s one of the first to use the top-level domain .ME for his blog ‘s web address.
  12. Christopher S. Penn. One of Chris Brogan’s early partners on Podcamp, Chris Penn’s blog, Awaken Your Super Hero, is worth reading and following for his intelligent, actionable insights. He always makes useful contributions to the social media conversation.

5 Social Media Up and Comers

In addition to my top twelve social media influencers, here are five people to whom you should pay attention. While not yet on everyone’s radar, each in his own way is making a mark on how we use and think about social media. Since they are below most people’s radar, they can test and do things that they might not do if they were higher profile.

  1. #UsGuys. At a minimum, lurk on this 24/7 Twitter Chat group to learn how to push the boundaries of social media. It’s the brain child of five founding members, Cristian Gonzales (@galactic), Tom Moradpour (@TomMoradpour), Jason Mikula (@mikulaja), Patrick Prothe (pprothe) and Chase Adams (@RealChaseAdams), who felt too constrained by Twitter’s 140 character boundaries. In my opinion, this group is what the future of social media will look like.
  2. Margie Clayman. Despite changing identities multiple times (@RLMadMan, @MarjorieClayman and @MargieClayman) during the past year, Margie has kicked the tires of social media (and she is based in Akron, Ohio where there are a lot of tires to kick).  As a traditional, third generation real life Mad Man, Margie provides great prose in her blog and tweets. Where Margie shines is her ability to connect and help those new to social media. Among Margie’s crusades is her concern for social media safety. Join her #SMSafety chat on Wednesday evenings at 9.00pm EST to she what she is up to next.
  3. Sanford Smith. Better known by his Twitter handle, Pushing Social, Sanford helps others new to social media get their sea legs. Sanford’s posts make readers think about social media from a new perspective. With Margie Clayman, he hosts the 9.00PM Saturday evening, #TweetDiner, where interesting conversation is always served. If you’re around, it’s well worth stopping by.
  4. Lisa Petrilli. Something of an accidental social media pathfinder, Lisa found a social media tribe for herself and MENG, the Marketing Executives Networking Group. With support from social media experts like Mack Collier, Lisa’s bog is a shinning example of why it pays to have a social media tribe; her blog attracted over 250 comments in the first three days. Lisa’s post, What I Learned About Networking When I Asked a Stranger for a Kidney, is a must read.
  5. Sue Young. Her professionalism and voice of reason make Sue’s Get In Front of Communications blog worth reading.  Sue is another helpful member of the social media ecosystem. You can find her on several Twitter chats, most notably #BlogChat.

Congrats to those who’re on these lists. You’ve added to my knowledge and provided great value to the social media ecosystem. More importantly, you’ve helped all of us grow and challenge our thinking about how we market and communicate in today’s social media connected world.

What do you think of this list? Is there anyone that you think would be on your personal list who isn’t here? If so, who and why should they be on the list? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

A tip of my hat to the broad circle of colleagues, friends, students, readers and social media participants who I’ve met online on social media networks and in real life at conferences and in classrooms.

For additional related reading, please check out these resources:

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18 Responses to 2010’s Top 12 Social Media Experts

  1. Ryan Pratt says:

    Great list! And even better comments. Thanks!

  2. B.L. Ochman says:

    Thanks for including me in such stellar company Heidi!
    I learn a lot from these people too.
    I’d definitely add Jay Baer http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ to the list.

  3. Great lists… everyone who’s familiar to me deserves to be on an “experts” list and those names who aren’t familiar I’m going to check out. If they’re included in such excellent company, I need to know about them.

    I joined Twitter and took up blogging in August, and it has been my great good fortune to become involved with #UsGuys, #TweetDiner and #BlogChat. Somewhere along the way I met Margie Clayman and Stanford Smith and a host of other terrific, informative people.

    It was at a #TweetDiner or #BlogChat that I was “adopted” by #UsGuys. Chase Adams added me to the list before I knew what it was. Once I figured out it isn’t only guys and you don’t actually need to be a social media expert to participate (but it is important to have an open mind and willingness to learn), I dived in and never looked back. If I’d read a stack of books on social media I couldn’t have learned as much as #UsGuys have taught me. And it’s not over by a long shot!

  4. Susan Young says:


    Many thanks for including me on your esteemed list! It’s truly an honor to be mentioned with the others you have recommended. And I offer you much appreciation for the content and insights that YOU provide to so many of us! Cheers and success in 2011.


  5. Aaron says:

    Thanks for the list Heidi, just subscribe to all of them.

  6. Heidi,

    Great list! I’m glad #USguys made it on your radar. I just found the group last month and have been amazed at the caliber of people involved and their insights. Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, et al continue to lead the pack and build up our body of knowledge. As to the others on your list, now I know who else to check out. Thanks!


  7. Dave Kerpen says:

    Thanks so much for including my better half
    Carrie and me, Heidi. Deeply honored and humbled to be in such great company. A few names I’d add to the list in a heartbeat are Mari Smith, Scott Monty, Erik Qualman, Amber Naslund and Jay Baer.
    Look forward to connecting with your up and comers!
    Have a likeable New Year!

  8. Dave Fleet says:

    Thank you for the kind mention, Heidi! I’m flattered to be in such great company.

    If you’re looking for another name to add to the list, I’d look no further than Amber Naslund (co-author of The NOW Revolution) who has been making me smarter ever since I met her a few years ago.

    Happy holidays,


  9. Humbled and honored at the mention.

    Thank you Heidi.

  10. Great lists, Heidi.

    I would also include Mike Stelzner of SocialMediaExaminer.com and Jeff Bullas of JeffBullas.com.

  11. Lee Odden says:

    Thank you for including me on such an esteemed list Heidi! I really appreciate the up and coming list – more social smarties to connect with. 🙂

  12. Wes Wyatt says:

    Is Gary Vaynerchuk / http://www.GaryVaynerchuk.com anywhere on your radar? I find him to a great source of Social Media info as well.

    Happy Holidays – and have a DYNAMITE day and week!

  13. Thank you, Heidi! I’m flattered and honored to have made your list! Happy holidays! 🙂

  14. Petri Darby says:

    I echo Amy’s suggestion to add Jay Baer (@jaybaer) to the list. I have known him for almost 15 years and he is always the first person I turn to for web/social marketing counsel. His content (www.convinceandconvert.com) is approachable and actionable for novices and experts alike.

  15. Amy Howell says:

    Great post! I agree! I’d add Mark Schaefer and Jay Baer to the list too! I have had the pleasure of meeting Trey P. & Chris B. In real life;))

  16. Heidi,

    I can’t tell you how honored I am to be included in this list and to know how much my Networking post affected you. And I genuinely appreciate your comments about how we’re challenging others’ thinking. I certainly receive that from the Top 12 you mentioned and absolutely try to do that through my own blog.

    You asked who we’d add to this list and in a heart beat I’d add Mack Collier and Steve Woodruff, two of the most insightful, generous and “big thinking” gentlemen I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with in the social media realm.

    With my most sincere thanks, Heidi,

  17. Oh Heidi, thank you so much for the mention. I am so glad I’ve gotten to know you over the last several months that I have been in Social Media. This is a great honor from someone I respect a great deal!!

  18. Michelle C says:

    Glad to see Trey was included ; if you ask me, he should be #1 😉

    Happy holidays,