Business has been transformed by social media. In fact, it’s safe to say that thanks to social media, all business is marketing to some degree. Today’s business leaders (i.e., top business influencers) have many platforms from which to speak or to author significant narratives that speak to the importance of social media influencers in business. Top business influencers on Twitter seek to better inform the public and business sectors regarding business trends, or innovative solutions. The talents of the top social media voices create influencers in business that can affect change in small or start-up businesses, medium companies, and even large, multi-national corporations.
What Does Influencer Mean?
From a marketing perspective, an influencer is an individual/message that possesses the ability to affect another’s purchasing decisions. The influence generated is the result of an influencer’s education, experience, authority, and knowledge in the subject matter in question.
There are a lot of different kinds of Twitter influencers in business. Some are just blowhards who want to increase their followers. Some are riding on fumes after long since losing their relevance. Some can make the stock market rise or fall with a single dumb Tweet. But others are out there really reaching out to entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals who want good advice and inspiration. Those are the people we’re talking about at Business Pundit.
A note on verified accounts: For accounts that have a significant public interest (ie, people are inclined to want to trust them), Twitter has a verification system to make sure they really are who they claim to be. That differentiates them from satire or parody accounts (Darth Vader is not actually on Twitter; Chuck Norris is, but @chuck_facts is not him) or bogus hacker accounts (hi, all you Nigerian princes!). A little blue checkmark beside the name indicates that the account is verified. So if think you’re following, say, Gary Vaynerchuk, and he offers $1,000,000 to the first person to comment and retweet – look for that verified badge before you jump.
The Short List:
- 1. Gene Marks
- 2. Biz Stone
- 3. Gary Vaynerchuk
- 4. Ev
- 5. Tim Ferris
Influencers are ranked according to their reach in social media followers. Yes, some of the obvious heavy hitters have been left off, because you know who they are and honestly, a lot of them are on their own trip. These are the women and men who are actually worth listening to.
1. Gene Marks – @genemarks
Gene Marks is one of the top business influencers on Twitter, a business guru, and a featured Washington Post Columnist. Through Marks’ television appearances, books, and presentations as a keynote business expert speaker, Marks helps business professionals better manage their businesses in the ever-changing technological, economic, public policy, and political climates.
Gene Marks’ expertise and business acumen have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Inc., to name a few. Gene Marks is followed by more than 84,000 Twitter fans.
2. Biz Stone – @biz
Biz Stone is a San Francisco, California based business influencer with an impressive list of companies he co-founded. Biz’s unique perspective as a co-founder of Twitter, Jelly, and Medium, imparts honest confidence in business from his philanthropic philosophy regarding charitable matters. Biz Stone’s work, shared through Twitter (his current workplace), shows the importance of social media in business and entrepreneurship. Stone is a co-owner of the patent that led to the invention of Twitter as a social media platform.
Biz Stone is followed by approximately 2.8 million individuals on Twitter.
3. Gary Vaynerchuk – @garyvee
Gary Vaynerchuk is a business influencer, New York Times best-selling author (5 times over), brand definer, rabid New York Jets fan, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vaynerchuk Media, Empathy Wines, and Vayner Sports. Vayner Sports offers agency services to professional, modern-day athletes, while Empathy Wines offers direct delivery of wine to consumer’s doorstep. Gary operates several companies from New York City & California. Gary Vaynerchuk invests in companies like Uber and Twitter.
Gary Vaynerchuk is followed by more than 2.1 million people on Twitter.
4. Ev (Evan Williams) – @ev
Ev is the Twitter moniker of Evan Williams, one of the founders of Blogger and the media Giant Medium. Ev’s business influencer brand originates from both US coasts in San Francisco and New York City. Evan Williams’ perspective is unique but always offers valuable and insightful information or observations.
Evan Williams, as Ev, is followed by approximately 1.8 million individuals on Twitter.
5. Tim Ferriss – @tferriss
Tim Ferriss is a world-renowned New York Times best-selling author with five books that have reached the #1 spot on New York Times bestseller list. Books by this business influencer include Body Hacker and the Tools of the Titans. Tim Ferriss’s podcasts of the Tim Ferriss Show (recognized as one of the best Apple Podcasts) have been downloaded in excess of 400,000 times.
Approximately 1.6 million individuals follow Tim Ferriss on Twitter.
6. dick costolo – @dickc
Between 2010 and 2015, Dick Costolo was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Twitter. As one of the top business influencers on Twitter, Dick Costolo offers insightful commentary on the world of business, telecommunications, and the protection of global wildlife. Dick Costolo’s brand of influence is built upon his brief stint as an improvisational comedy team member.
Dick Costolo is followed by approximately 1.5 million individuals on Twitter.
7. Guy Kawasaki – @GuyKawasaki
Guy Kawaski is a well-known author and Venture Capitalist investing in Silicon Valley companies. Guy studied at Stanford and is a member of the TEDxBerkeley speakers. Guy Kawaski is a brilliant brand ambassador and a member of the original Apple marketing team for the original Macintosh computer (1984). While employed at Apple, he termed the phrase evangelism marketing; he became the Apple Evangelist.
Guy Kawaski is followed by approximately 1.4 million fans on Twitter.
8. Paul Graham – @paulg
Paul Graham’s father worked as a nuclear physicist, which impacted this English-born/Pittsburgh-raised computer scientist and programmer. Paul Graham is also a prolific author and expert regarding the set of programming languages known as Lisp – the second to the oldest group of coding languages in current use. Paul Graham’s insightful business/programming perspectives were first noticed in his self-published online essays – The Blub Paradox or the Hierarchy of Disagreement.
Paul Graham is followed by approximately 1.1 million individuals on Twitter.
9. Maria Popova – @brainpicker
Maria Popova is one of the largest female business influencers on Twitter and a resident of Brooklyn, New York. As a cultural critic and blogger, Maria’s brand of commentary is available on her popular blog, known as Brain Pickings. Maria Popova’s influence touches upon art, philosophy, and cultural phenomenon. Maria is a contributor to Wired UK and Atlantic Magazine.
Maria Popova is followed by more than 900,000 fans on Twitter.
10. Seth Godin – @ThisIsSethsBlog
Seth Godin began his illustrious career at Spinnaker. Seth Godin termed the concept known as permission marketing. Godin is a TEDx speaker and has written nearly 20 books, one of which was named the business book of 2004 by Forbes Magazine. Seth Godin’s marketing skills were forever enshrined in the American Marketing Associations Marketing Hall of Fame.
Seth Godin is followed by more than 700,000 fans on Twitter.
11. Fred Wilson – @fredwilson
Fred Wilson is a wildly successful American businessman, blogger, and venture capitalist. Wilson is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Wharton School of Business at UPenn. Wilson publishes his brand of business influencing through his blog entitled AVC – the musings of a VC in NYC. Fred Wilson also manages the NYC venture capitalist business – Union Square Ventures.
Fred Wilson is followed by more than 600,000 people on Twitter.
12. Kim Garst – @kimgarst
Kim Garst is a well-known professional cricket player from Ireland who holds many cricket records and has even been named an exceptional cricket all-around player by the ICC – the International Cricket Council. Garst shares here brand of business influencing in the areas of digital/online marketing and entrepreneurship. Kim Garst has been named as a top ten social influencers by Forbes Magazine.
Approximately 600,000 people on Twitter follow Kim Garst.
13. Tim Fargo – @tim_fargo
Tim Fargo has an interesting business perspective as the Chief Executive Officer of Social Jukebox – a management tool for automated social networks. Fargo is a well-known author having published two books, one that reveals his adventure from a 1991 bankruptcy to the success of Omega Insurance Services. He offers tips for better living and motivational quotes to find greater happiness in everyday life.
Tim Fargo has approximately 600,000 Twitter followers.
14. Mari Smith – @MariSmith
Mari Smith influences the world of business as a recognized expert on Facebook advertising. Smith, a San Diego-based business/marketing guru, offers her brand of marketing genius through published coursework (webinars and training videos), a though-leader, brand creator, and keynote speaker. Mari Smith has been called by many ‘The Queen of Facebook.’ Smith teaches her innovative marketing techniques on Twitter and through corporate consultations.
Mari Smith is followed by more than 575,000 fans on Twitter.
15. Jeff Bullas – @jeffbullas
Jeff Bullas is a public business influencer who educates professionals and inspires the creation of systems and daily life processes that offer peace, fulfillment, and happiness. Bullas is a digital marketer, writer, and publisher of global marketing content. Forbes recognized Jeff Bullas as one of the elite marketing influencers and one of the top business influencers on Twitter.
Jeff Bullas is followed by more than 550,000 individuals on Twitter.
16. Ben Horowitz – @bhorowitz
Ben Horowitz is an American educated, British born author of the Hard Thing About Hard Things – a book devoted to building a business against steep odds, i.e., the world of startups. He has spoken at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference and is the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in California.
Ben Horowitz is followed by approximately ½ of 1 million individuals on Twitter.
17. Ann Handley – @MarketingProfs
Ann Handley is a content manager at MarketingProfs.com – an education, training, and business influencing company that provides practical solutions for marketing issues and growth. Handley’s brand of marketing influence is available through her speaker engagements, company events, blogging as well as two Wall Street Journal best-selling books. Handley’s marketing approach is based on six elements – analysis, planning, creating, communication, strategy, and management.
Ann Handley has more than 450,000 followers on Twitter.
18. Chris Brogan – @chrisbrogan
Chris Brogan is an innovative business influencer with a New York Times bestseller (and eight other books) under his belt. Brogan’s influence is felt through his career as a business advisor and the creator of the StoryLeader System. Brogan’s brand influencing has consulted with Sony, Microsoft, Google, Disney, and Coke, to name a few.
Chris Brogan is followed by more than 310,000 fans on Twitter.
19. Eric Ries – @ericries
Eric Ries is a San Francisco based startup & Java guru, entrepreneurship expert, and the author of The Lean Startup – a methodology that outlines how to compete, and win, in the world of business startups. Ries is IMVU’s, Chief Technology Officer and a founder of the Lean Startup Conference that began in 2009, and currently runs on an annual basis. IMVU is a digital social media platform/gaming universe, where individuals create 3D avatars to meet others. IMVU currently has more than six million active players.
Eric Ries has more than 300,000 Twitter fans.
20. Pam Moore – @PamMktgNut
Pam Moore, based in Orlando, Florida, is a digital business influencer and marketing innovator. Her winning marketing philosophy is to base marketing efforts in a storytelling manner. Moore spends her professional time as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the marketingnutz.com and as a keynote speaker on the marketing strategy speaking circuit. Moor is recognized by Forbes among the top five social media and business influencers.
Pam Moore is followed by more than 300,000 individuals on Twitter.
21. Adam Grant – @AdamMGrant
Adam Grant is a world-known organizational behaviorist and psychologist who works from the Philadelphia, PA area. Grant offers his brand of business wisdom on the TEDTalks tour, his Podcast WorkLife, and as a Wharton School of Business professor. Adam Grant has written Give and Take, Option B, and Originals. Grant operates from the philosophy that success in life is created when helping others find success.
Adam Grant has nearly 300,000 fans on Twitter.
22. Jay Baer – @jaybaer
Jay Baer is a Bloomington, Indiana-based business growth guru and the founder of the company Convince and Convert. As a business influencing digital marketer that has reached the Hall of Fame as a keynote speaker, Baer has authored six books revealing his marketing influencing ideas. Baer is a lover of plaid and BBQ.
Jay Baer is followed by more than 275,000 fans on Twitter.
23. James Altucher – @jaltucher
James Altucher is a business influencer, entrepreneur, author, angel investor, and podcaster. Altucher’s podcast – the James Altucher Show’ – is recognized as a top ten podcast, and he has authored business influencing texts and books that have reached the Wall Street Journal’s best-seller list like the national bestseller ‘Choose Yourself’and ‘The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth.’
James Altucher is followed by more than 190,000 people on Twitter.
24. Bryan Kramer – @bryankramer
Bryan Kramer is recognized as an exceptional speaker on the TED Talks circuit, author, and a self-named coach of coaches. Bryan Karmer’s authored business innovative texts include ‘There is NO B2B or B2C’ – It is Human to Human. Kramer’s brand of business influence speaks to business executives, leaders, and decision-makers.
Bryan Kramer is followed by approximately 200,000 individuals on Twitter.
25. Mark Schaefer – @markwschaefer
Mark Schaefer is a Tennessee-based business influencer working from his website businessesGROW.com. Schaefer is a keynote business speaker, a recognized elite marketing strategist, brand master, podcaster, and author. Schaefer has written seven books, including The Tao of Twitter, Marketing Rebellion, The most Human Company Wins. Schaefer’s marketing strategy is to market to consumers using a human (rather than impersonal or digital) manner.
Mark Schaefer is followed by more than 175,000 fans on Twitter.
26. Joe Pulizzi – @JoePulizzi
Joe Pulizzi is a bestselling author, business influencer, marketing podcaster, and the founder of CM World and CMI Content. Pulizzi’s unique brand of business influencer has been seen at Disney, the Wall Street Journal, and IBM. Joe Pulizzi has authored several business marketing books entitle Epic Content Marketing and Killing Marketing Content. Pulizzi’s latest book is his inaugural novel entitled The Will to Die.
Joe Pulizzi has more than 150,000 fans on Twitter.
27. Sean Ellis – @SeanEllis
Sean Ellis is a Newport Beach-based business influencer and the author of Hacking Growth. He is credited with coining the phrase ‘growth hacking’ which was originally used in the marketing strategies of Lookout, LogMein, and Dropbox. Ellis produces business influencing videos and promotes how important it is to attend the ‘Growth Hacker’s Conference. For Sean Ellis, it is all about the growth of a business.
Sean Ellis is followed by more than 125,000 people on Twitter.
28. Michael Brenner – @BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner is a well-known business influencer, keynote business speaker, and the Chief Executive Officer for the Marketing Insider Group. Brenner is the author of Mean People Suckk, and a business guru with innovative solutions to modern business leadership issues and employee engagement problems. Brenner’s business philosophy speaks about the need to add marketing content that converts interested consumers into paying customers.
Michael Brenner is followed by approximately 100,00 fans on Twitter.
29. Lee Odden – @leeodden
Lee Odden is a Minnesota based marketing and business influencer, and the Chief Executive Officer of Top Rank Marketing – a digital marketing company. Odden’s brand of content building and brand ambassadorship reveals his SEO expertise for startups and classic branded products. Top Rank Marketing provides business consultation services, training services, and marketing strategy implementation services. Odden’s marketing style has been featured in the NY Times, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few.
Lee Odden is followed by more than 100,000 people on Twitter.
30. Neal Schaffer – @NealSchaffer
Neal Schaffer is a California business influencer, a keynote speaker for social media issues, and an educator. Schaffer is the author of the brand new marketing guide entitled Age of Influence, available March 2020. Schaffer’s social media philosophy and strategies are used throughout the world. He has been featured in the WSJ, US News, Forbes, and USA Today, to name a few. Schaffer’s social media expertise has been used by many national and international companies like ABC, Linked In, Adobe, Microsoft, and Oracle, among others.
Neal Schaffer is followed by more than 70,000 individuals on Twitter.