There was once a day when the only way to communicate was to write a real letter, physically talk to a person or dial a telephone. When you got on the bus in the morning, commuters were catching up on current affairs by reading articles in a newspaper rather than articles on their phone. The use of the internet used to be a privilege; today – with smartphones, tablets, laptops and their multiple device variants – we find ourselves constantly submerged in the world of technology without even trying.
The evolution of technology has allowed social media to evolve in parallel. What were once standalone websites and online chat services; are now advertising spaces and business opportunities.
In 2003, social networking website MySpace was launched. During its popularity peak MySpace prided itself on being particularly music orientated, specifically allowing bands and artists to create accounts to publish and share their work. The ability to find like-minded people within MySpace groups and communities allowed lesser known artists to reach out to individuals in an attempt to build their fan base. Thus were born bands and artists who gained fame solely due to MySpace marketing (Arctic Monkeys, Drop, Dead, Gorgeous and Jeferee Star, for example).
Facebook, originally created for a group of individuals at Harvard University, quickly became a worldwide phenomenon and 100,000 companies had set up a group on the site by 2007– three years after its launch – to promote their business and attract new customers. There are now 40 million small businesses using Facebook ‘pages’ and it is riddled with adverts and promotional links smartly catered for each individual. Facebook is currently the most used social media networking website in the world, with 1.5 billion active users, and 700 million using the Facebook mobile messaging app alone.
Twitter was launched in 2006; it rapidly gained popularity amongst organisations and celebrities and, by 2013, was one of the ten most-visited websites in the world. The option to follow other users (rather than befriend them) and ability to search for topics/conversation makes constructing lists of people with similar interests easy. Companies can search, via Twitter or with the help of many outside tools, for specific demographics or potential customers and directly engage with them. Theoretically, rather than wait for the customer to walk through the door, the company can go straight to those who have already implied an interest.
Thus, has begun the development of so many other social networking platforms, all with influencer potential and agendas. MySpace, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, Vine, LinkedIn – to name a few – each trying to do something different, each attracting particular audiences but ultimately, all with the possibility of being marketing tool. These platforms have become international address books of possible clients to win over and in turn, we have seen the rise of social media ‘gurus’ and major individual influencers who are experts in doing just this. Social media marketing is the process of using various social media platforms to generate interest and eventually turn this interest into a customer base.
Amongst the social media connoisseurs, there are countless theories on how to run a successful campaign or upload effective content. Many of these individuals have been able to produce full entrepreneurial businesses, and thousands of analytical and marketing jobs have been created as a consequence of the social media revolution – illustrating just how important social media in marketing is. At Onalytica, we use our unique Influencer Relationship Management software to monitor and analyse online trends in order to help brands realise a social media marketing and engagement strategy.
WHAT ARE THE EXPERTS SAYING?
From our Top 100 Social Media Marketing Individuals Influencer List, we managed to get in touch with a few of the top influencers; here’s what they said when we asked their thoughts on the future of social media marketing:
Jeff Bullas #2
Forbes Top 10 Social Media Influencer
“The social media landscape is moving from a free model to a mix of free and paid. It is also become more mobile centric with the sharing and content being driven more by smartphones. A third factor to consider is that managing this complexity will require the increasing use of digital marketing automation software to handle the complexity, capture the data and to do it at scale.
Brands will need to learn the art and science of this rapidly evolving eco-system. Marketing is no longer just a creative pursuit but driven by technology and big data. The modern marketer needs to be a marketing ninja geek.”
Michael Koehler #3
Founder of Xtreme Social, Online Entrepreneur
“I think the way we communicate with our followers will change a lot and have to a lot with video and especially live streaming. This is allowing you to create a whole new level of engagement between you and your followers.
Platforms and services like Periscope or Facebook allow people and brands to live stream their daily activities and show live scenes out of their work space. Twitter Video allows you to reply to a tweet with a short video clip which is a huge game changer.
When it comes to big brands they probably are a little bit behind when it comes to social media. You wouldn’t believe how many CEOs of big companies still have no clue about the effectiveness of it and so they don’t use it to its full potential.
One thing I always say is: Social Media is not the Future, it’s the present.”
Jan Gordon #6
CEO of Curatti
“Turning followers into advocates and building community is key. Using technology like Periscope, Meerkat and Blab to communicate in real time is a becoming a very powerful means of engaging beyond your blog. I think marketers should become familiar with and utilise these channels in the future as part of their social media marketing strategy. Providing moments rather than memories consistently will help you to stay relevant and top of mind in your niche. ”
Andrew Hutchinson #7
“The future of social media marketing is the same as the past – engagement. Our means of gaining insight and understanding of our audiences are growing, and we’re not even anywhere near fully realising what this new world of social data might mean. But that’s exactly where we need to be looking. The strength of social media is that it gives everyone a voice – the way brands capitalise on this is by hearing it.
The next level of social media marketing will be about finding the best ways to translate and rationalise the rising flood of data. Having access to billions of tweets and posts and engagements is meaningless if you can’t rationalise it and find the message amidst the noise. To do that, you have to know what you’re looking for, you have to take the time to understand your buyer journeys and work out where the key thresholds in that path occur. Understanding this will inform every element of your overall strategy, and you have more means of establishing this than any time in history.
It’s a new world, a new way of looking at things. Broadcasting to many is losing its allure as the best way to generate interest. Reaching out to your most-likely few, then working to have your brand message spread from those advocates, is the way to build a sustainable and relevant social brand.”
MAPPING THE SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING COMMUNITY
We were very interested in seeing which social media marketing professionals and brands were leading the online discussion, so we analysed over 1.2M tweets matching the following query: “social media marketing” OR socialmediamarketing OR #SMM OR ((#socialmedia OR “social media”) AND (marketing OR #marketing)) and identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
What we discovered was a very engaged community between both individuals and brands discussing best social media marketing practises. Below you can see a network map of the online conversation created with our Influencer Relationship Management software IRM. This map shows the number 1 brand Social Media Today at the centre and the conversations to and from all the influencers. Be sure to click on the map to enjoy the full size network diagram in greater detail.
Below you can see another network map created in IRM showing the number 1 individual Michael A. Stelzner at the centre, and the conversations to and from the different influencers. The thicker the lines the more engagements, as in the case of Jeffrey Bradbury and Sam Peterson.
If you are interested in learning more about our IRM software click here!
TOP 100 INDIVIDUALS
We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top 100 most influential individuals in Social Media Marketing.
Be sure to hit the download button below to grab the full report and see who ranks beyond the top 50.
|Rank||Twitter Handle||Name||Page Rank|
|1||@Mike_Stelzner||Michael A. Stelzner||100.00|
|27||@GlenGilmore||Glen Gilmore #SocBiz||55.62|
|31||@MikeSchiemer||Michael J. Schiemer||52.37|
|40||@MarjiJSherman||Marji J. Sherman||42.82|
TOP 100 BRANDS
With all the discussion and resources available online, our analysis produced a great set of independent information resources and communities. Influential brands such as Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner and Crowdfire are leading the debate.
|Rank||Twitter Handle||Name||Page Rank|
|1||@socialmedia2day||Social Media Today||100.00|
|5||@convince||Convince & Convert||95.97|
|8||@TheSocialMs||The Social Marketers||93.66|
|9||@LiveandSocial||Live And Social||92.26|
|13||@Red_Web_Design||Red Website Design||89.64|
|20||@TweakYourBiz||Tweak Your Biz||83.54|
|21||@MediaMktgIT||Social Media Mktg IT||82.35|
|33||@ARCH_Digital||ARCH Digital Agency||67.45|
|48||@sbizhour||Social Business Hour||56.89|
|50||@huxodm||Huxo Digital Media||54.84|
Influencer Marketing campaigns generate impressive results, the average earned media value (EMV) from US influencer marketing programs was 1.4 times higher in H1 2015 than the overall average in full-year 2014. At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Machine to Machine, Wearable Tech, Internet of Things) be sure to have a gander on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on twitter? We also build some very cool software to manage all of these influencers. Get a free demo today by clicking the button below!
Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking is by no means a definitive measurement of influence, as there is no such thing. The brands and individuals listed are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around social media marketing. The PageRank based methodology we use to extract influencers on a particular topic takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives. These calculations are independent of a user’s number of followers, but we do filter our lists based on how much a user is engaged in the conversation and the influence they drive through their networks.