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Digital Marketing: 33 Rising Stars on Social for 2017 Talkwalker

This is a guest blog written for Talkwalker by Martin Shervington, founder of PlusYourBusiness and Official Google Small Business Advisor. You can follow Martin on Twitter @MartinSherv

Myself and the Talkwalker crew thought it would be fun to put together a list of people who deserve your attention in 2017.

And what better way than to crowdsource people’s opinions as to the rising stars across the following categories:

Content Marketing     Social Media Marketing


Data and Analytics     Virtual Reality


Live Streaming    Tech and Innovation    

Some of the names here are very much established now, and others are still building their social presence. Using Talkwalker, we’ve also analysed their profiles and listed them in the order of ‘share of profile’ i.e. the share of conversation owned by the people on the list of people included. You'll also find a hashtag cloud of the top themes associated to each group of people at the start of each section.

And if you want to find the most influential people, publications and trends for your industry, why not give Talkwalker a try today.

2017 promises to be a fast moving year and it is our delight to give them a boost on their way.

Let’s start with the first category...

Content Marketing

content marketing influencers

Roberto Blake - Creative Entrepreneur, YouTuber, Marketer, Author & Speaker.

Twitter ID: @robertoblake
Twitter Followers - 13.2K
Speciality - Design & Visual Branding, Marketing & Social Media, Authorship, Speaking Engagements, Training and Education, Create Awesome

Bam! I’ve seen Roberto around for a few years, and he grabs attention in his personal style and engaging manner. Super active on Twitter, and I sense he is on the rise even more with Facebook looking like his digital home. Very real, and a decent public speaker too. Take a peek at this ‘collaboration style’ video to see what we are talking about:



Amy Schmittauer is Founder & Face of Savvy Sexy Social.

Twitter ID: @schmittastic

Twitter Followers: 21.3K

Specialty: Video creation, building communities and social media communications

I met Amy at a conference in 2016 and she kind of scares me. No nonsense, direct, yet really present in what she does. Actually, I’m messing with you - she is cool and funny, and her video content is super engaging. Now she’s teamed up with Vincenzo Landino as a partner in business and in life, it will be exciting to see how their joint creativity flows.

Andrew Pickering and Peter Gartland - Award Winning Marketing Duo

Twitter ID: @AndrewAndPete

Twitter Followers: 9,836

Specialty: Creative Content Marketing

‘Andrew and Pete’, are creative content marketers who I feel I’ve met, but may not have done. And I think this is their appeal - they are so approachable and warming in their style that you want to connect with them. Definitely two to watch in 2017. This video is a good example of what I mean - cheeky, funny, and certainly putting them on the map:



Chris Marr - The leading voice of the Content Marketing movement in the UK.

Twitter ID: @chrismarr101

Twitter Followers: 4,963

Specialty: Content Marketing

I met Chris in a hangout quite recently and really liked him. Straight talking, commercial and with enough warmth to make me feel I would want work with him in the future. With a Content Marketing conference planned for 2017, with some great names attending, he is one to watch rise this year.

Brian Carter - #1 Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant.

Twitter ID: @briancarter

Twitter Followers: 95K

Specialty: Digital/Social Marketing and Advertising

I met Brian Carter when we both performed comedy in San Francisco at the Purple Onion. He was funnier than me, and seeing as he is the #1 bestselling author of The Like Economy, LinkedIn for Business, Facebook Marketing, and The Cowbell Principle he is hardly a rising star anymore, but a confirmed star in the social hall of fame. But I like him, so when nominated by the Facebook community I could hardly ignore their cries. This video has a load of good tips, and enough comedy to keep you going until lunch:



Karen Staughton - Head of Marketing @ Spotify UK

Twitter ID: @KarenStaughton

Twitter Followers: 4,481

Specialty: Marketing, Digital

Karen Staughton was suggested, so I researched a little... As Head of Consumer Marketing UK at Spotify since September 2016 and with a really impressive resume of previous music industry gigs, she has a view of the world treasured by so many music fans. We want access to tunes, but we want the stories and the conversations around the classics through to the latest. Let’s see what she has in store, and for many Spotify subscribers we may well find her influence ‘just happens’, which is so often the best way.

Stu Heinecke - Author of "How to Get a Meeting with Anyone"

Twitter ID: @byStuHeinecke

Twitter Followers: 3093

Specialty: Cartoonist, Contact Marketing

I didn’t know, but have learned he is the host of Contact Marketing Radio, Founder and President of “Contact,” a Contact Marketing agency, and co-Founder of Cartoonists.org. Seeing as I love cartoons and he has a dog named Bo, I Googled him.
His style works great for business, and social media sharing too - original and entertaining, a sound mix.

stu heinecke cartoon

For deeper insight into your content marketing strategy try using Talkwalker social media analytics

Social Media Marketing

social media marketing influencers

Samantha Kelly - Leading social media strategist, speaker and trainer

Twitter ID: @Tweetinggoddess

Twitter Followers: 36.7K

Specialty: Social Media Strategy

Samantha gets social across many platforms as ‘Tweeting Goddess’. She will probably tell me we have spent hours together chatting but for now all I know is how she keeps cropping up in a positive light. A true community leader, member, and socially oriented marketer. If you are looking at who is on the rise that you don’t already know, start with her. I know you’ll warm to her when you hear her Ted Talk:



Melonie Dodaro - LinkedIn Expert

Twitter ID: @MelonieDodaro

Twitter Followers: 105K

Specialty: Linkedin, Digital Marketing

Melonie Dorado is super. She is truly well positioned in the LinkedIn marketing space, but present just about everywhere. 100K followers on Twitter, decent engagement, and someone whose face yields a positive emotional response when she pops up on the screen - positive, and authentic. If you are looking at LinkedIn then she may well be the one to help you crack the code with her book too.

Ian Anderson Gray - Digital Marketer, Web Developer & Co-founder of Select Performers Internet Solutions

Twitter ID: @iagdotme

Twitter Followers: 52.1k

Specialty: Social Media Management, Web development, Public speaking, Social Media & Marketing Strategy

Ian is a top chap and one of the leading voices in social media in the UK, and well beyond. He is a decent singer too. With his live streaming show grabbing a load of attention on Facebook you would have thought I would have included him there, but his partner in the farmyard (Julia Bramble) is included there instead. Ian is smart, and fun to be around too - I interviewed him back in 2014 and appreciate his positive vibes in my life. May he live long and prosper.



Chris 'Kubby' Kubbernus - Founder & CEO at Kubb&Co. | Forbes #1 Business Guru on Snapchat

Twitter ID: @ChrisKubby

Twitter Followers: 32.1K

Specialty: Digital Marketing

I didn’t know until know, but I already like him - he is bold, and forthright - and even a little sweary on his home page. Good stuff.

Expect him to be carving up some bacon in a social environment near you in 2017.

Alisa Meredith - Pinterest & Content Marketer Generating Leads with Visuals

Twitter ID: @alisammeredith

Twitter Followers: 4,837

Specialty: Blogging, Pinterest, content strategy, social media

As a visually oriented marketer, she is onto a good thing. Not only does she have a great eye for a good picture that will spread on social, but also has a truly cohesive brand style. Watch this space...

Jessika Phillips - Relationship Marketing Evangelist, Founder of NOW Marketing Group and Relationship Marketing System

Twitter ID: @jessikaphillips

Twitter Followers: 2,326

Specialty: Relationship Marketing, Social Media, Speaker, Hubspot

Jessica Phillips is wonderful. She is dynamic, relationship focused, and skilled at connecting a brand’s story to their audience. We’ve worked on several projects over the past 6 months, including saving my skin more than once on some Hubspot based work.
I’ve met her in real life too and she is just the same as online. Truly lovely to have her included in this list. Quality.

Amanda Robinson - Digital & Social Media Marketing Hero.

Twitter ID: @shewakeboards

Twitter Followers: 217

Specialty: Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing

I’ve worked with Amanda, and she is AWESOME.

We met in 2016 at the Social Media Marketing World conference, and quickly I could see she was a perfect mix of professional and friendly. Data geek, Google Analytics Pro, but now getting her own presence on social media moving. One to follow, and watch thrive. And she is Canadian, which is always a bonus. This is a fun 360 video interview we did last year:



Mattie Bennett

Twitter ID: @mattie_bennett

Twitter Followers: 1,066

Specialty: Music Marketing

Music. Marketing. Mod. Mirth? Maybe. One you may not know yet, but I met Mattie in Glastonbury about 8 years ago. He was young then. I was, well, clinging on. But we connected and on Social he is marking his mark in the music scene. Check him out for a fresh perspective.

Data and Analytics

data analytics influencers

Dennis Yu - Chief Technology Officer, BlitzMetrics

Twitter ID: @dennisyu

Twitter Followers: 79.6K

Specialty: Facebook Marketing, Facebook Advertising, Local search optimization, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Data warehousing and Analytics

Dennis is the first of two nominations in this category. I’ve seen his face around on social, but have only just explored his perspective - and I like it. Facebook ads are very much ‘his thing’, and he knows how to navigate through the data, but he also has ‘view’ which I appreciate. His own blog gives a new, fresh, and useful take on all things marketing - something that broadens his appeal and gives him life beyond the stats. He is a serious marketer, so make sure you explore what he offers as services too.

Sammy Andrews - Strategic Advisor, Manager & Director

Twitter ID: @sammyandrews

Twitter Followers: 2,679

Specialty: Digital Marketing, Digital Music Marketing

Sammy is cool, and feisty - go read her blog to see for yourself. And having got lost in music blogs for 30 mins, I can see she is a no-nonsense modern marketer who can see the future role of social and this industry. Whether she fits firmly in this category or the one before is up to debate, but she is here now, and the future sounds positive for her in 2017.

Build a more effective data and analytics strategy using our social data maturity scale

Virtual Reality

virtual reality influencers

Gary Vaynerchuk - CEO of VaynerMedia, Partner at Vayner Capital, 4-Time NYT Bestselling Author

Twitter ID: @garyvee

Twitter Followers: 1.38 M

Specialty: Social Media, Entrepreneurship, Social Media Marketing

Gary does not deserve to be on this list of ‘rising stars’, but he is.
Let me explain...CEO and founder of VaynerMedia you just cannot ignore how he approaches social media.

“But”, I hear you cry, “this is the VR section of the list?” Yes, I am featuring him here as a) he was nominated generally (and I am terrified of leaving him out as people love him), and b) his YouTube show gave me an idea for my own show as he lifted the level of animation with the show to a level of pro.
He is the Daddy on Twitter, but with his mind moving to Virtual Reality (he has just done the forward to Scoble’s latest book), I would bet he will WOW with some content in that space soon too, hence the slot here. If you want a taste of his style then this should help you see why he remains a powerful voice in social:



Ryan Anderson Bell - Head of Studio @VRScout Founder @SummitLive

Twitter ID: @ryan_a_bell

Twitter Followers: 32.4K

Specialty: Live Streaming, Virtual Reality

Ryan is well deserving of this position. As founder of Summit.Live (the world’s largest digital storytelling conference) he has grabbed a load of attention around how VR is going to help people spread the word. I have not connected with him properly yet, but have watched some of his interviews and know ‘he gets it’ and has a great boat ready for this rising tide.

Eva Hoerth - VR Evangelist

Twitter ID: @downtohoerth

Twitter Followers: 7,123

Specialty: Virtual Reality

Eva Hoerth is a VR geek, based on the research she is very keen to make sure the world gets decent content. If 2016 was about headsets, then Eva will help the world see fresh stories and experience them through new eyes. Check out this blog post US election to hear her voice, and see her community building focus.

Cathy Hackl - Chief Communications Officer @ Future Lighthouse. Augmented Reality & VR Speaker & Evangelist. VR Scout Contributor.

Twitter ID: @CathyHackl

Twitter Followers: 20.7K

Specialty: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality

Cathy is awesome. Fluent in Spanish and English, I get the feeling she is going to be in demand across both AR and VR. I interviewed her recently and have every certainty she will carve a strong brand presence in her new position at LighthouseVR. With a strong presence on Facebook, she is keeping the world informed with the latest in this space and experimenting with both content and coding too. A must watch for 2017. See Cathy discussing VR, as well as describing the AR experience whilst subtly donning a Microsoft Hololens:



Nick Haase - Tech Entrepreneur, Corporate Innovation & Technology Strategist

Twitter ID: @NickAtLoot

Twitter Followers: 4,694

Specialty: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality

I get the feeling Nick is a deep thinker. Going beyond VR/AR into AI and robotics too. To give you some idea, I’ve been geeking out on VR for a while now, and spinning through his Twitter profile I still got waylaid for about 45 minutes - and learned a load of new info. Well deserving of a place on this list.

Live Streaming

live streaming influencers

Joel Comm - Live Video Marketing Expert, Keynote Speaker, NY Times Best-Selling Author

Twitter ID: @joelcomm

Twitter Followers: 829K

Specialty: Live Video Marketing, Social Influencer, Public Speaker

Joel deserves to lead this list for one main reason - he adapts, quickly.
The live streaming space is moving fast and Joel dives in, builds a map, gains an audience and brings his own flair and style to the world across Snapchat, Periscope (Twitter Live) and Facebook (and beyond!). He is a brand building expert and knows how personable wins attention long term. You probably know him already, but if you don’t, he is very entertaining. You’ll see some of his good stuff, sprinkled with charm here:



Brian Fanzo - Professional Speaker - Podcast Host - Change Evangelist @iSocialFanz

Twitter ID: @iSocialFanz

Twitter Followers: 103K

Specialty: Live Streaming, Speaker

Brian is smart, and a great tech educator. But beyond that, he is someone with good judgement. I met him almost three years ago, just before he really found his groove in social - and that was in front of a camera. I’ve interviewed him since, learned a load and always find him warm and receptive to his audience. A sound fellow, worthy of even more love in 2017.

Vincenzo Landino - Creative Director, Aftermarq | Brand Boost Podcast Host | Speaker

Twitter ID: @vincenzolandino

Twitter Followers: 25.9K

Specialty: Social Media Marketing Strategy, Social Media Content Strategy, Social Media Marketing Campaigns, Social Media Consulting, Social Media Platforms

Vincenzo Landino on his own is good enough, but when he partners with Amy Schmittauer the world starts to shake in its boots. I’ve seen a few of his events now (some with Joel Comm too) and know Vincenzo seeks to deliver audience value at every turn. Loads of quick tips on community building from the team here:



Carlos Gil - Marketing Executive, Bilingual Keynote Speaker, Social Media Strategist and Snapchat Influencer

Twitter ID: @carlosgil83

Twitter Followers: 62.9K

Specialty: Social Media, Social Media Strategy, Snapchat

Carlos is a super chap who I’ve met and connected with over the past few years. He is a true social media Pro - and what I mean by this is...he is at a high level of strategic understanding as to how social media works for a brand. He has a big presence on Snapchat - and is less about tips and tricks, and more about a steady flow of consistent brand messaging. Expect his career to keep on moving up, and know he is already well poised within LinkedIn.

Mitch Jackson - Lawyer, Futurist and Disrupter

Twitter ID: @mitchjackson

Twitter Followers: 25.6K

Specialty: Law, Business and Tech, Live Streaming

Mitch is one of the best there is. A friend, and a lawyer (I have a law degree, so have instant affinity) who has led the way for this industry using live streaming. We met online 4 years+ ago,  and I felt I’d known him for years - and this is his real power, the ability to connect in a way that is meaningful. I know 2017 is a big year for him, but look at what he has done to ‘open up’ his field to social and you’ll see the trajectory goes way beyond. This gives you a glimpse of Mitch giving everyone live advice on choosing the right lawyer:



Julia Bramble - Fun Speaker, Trainer, Strategist (& Ph.D. scientist) in #socialchemistry

Twitter ID: @JuliaBramble

Twitter Followers: 10.7K

Specialty: Social Media, Facebook ads Strategy, Consultancy and Coaching.

Julia is well deserving of being in this live-streaming list. I’ve watched as she has grilled Ian Anderson Gray for tips on Wordpress during their joint events, and appreciate her warmth to him and the audience. And I think that is her strength - a mix of persistence on adding value, whilst being open and receptive to everyone who is tuning in. As a fellow Brit, she is well deserving, and I expect the farmyard theme of their show will grow this year.

Luria Petrucci - Start & Grow Your Live Streaming Show (Coach & Speaker)

Twitter ID: @LuriaPetrucci

Twitter Followers: 221K

Specialty: Live Streaming, Live Video Marketing, Speaker

Luria is probably one of my favourite of all social media people. I’ve known her for coming up 5 years, and her and her partner David Foster put on THE MOST PROFESSIONAL live streamed events there can ever be. I mean it, they are the level above the level above, and the one many of us can only ever wish we can one day reach. I won’t say anymore about them, that’s it. Brilliance, live. If you have an interest in Google for Business, then this video is one with me (Martin) but gives you a really good idea of how they work as a team:



Katya Varbanova - Live Streaming Biz Strategist

Twitter ID: @LiveStreamKatya

Twitter Followers: 4,529

Specialty: Live Video Influencer, Entrepreneur, Speaker

Katya loves live video. I have only just discovered her, but she has a really fun way of delivering her message. With a focus on Snapchat, she knows it is all about community building with proof being in the pudding that she is building a successful business helping others doing the same. If you are looking at creating connections, and love the idea of live video, then check her out.

Ryan Steinolfson - LiveStream Business & Branding Strategist | Digital Marketer | Speaker | Consultant | Live Video Gadget Guy

Twitter ID: @RyanSteinolfson

Twitter Followers: 20.6K

Specialty: Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Internet Video Marketing, Brand Management, Business Automation and centralization, Text Message Marketing.

Ryan lives in one of the coolest places on the planet, and makes the most of that during his live streams. Just like Brian Fanzo, I consider Ryan to be a great tech educator. I’ve seen him selflessly give loads of hints and tips on the equipment he uses, and has been a super community for live streaming on Facebook too. With a strong interest in VR and 360, he is someone who with continue to thrive this year. Practical filming hints and tips coming up for you here:



Tech and Innovation

tech innovation influencers

Steve Dotto - Long Time Tech Host, Flyfisher, BBQ King

Twitter ID: @dottotech

Twitter Followers: 30.9K

Specialty: Demystifying technology. Producing streaming content for the social media and technology world. Writing, blogging,and Keynote addresses.

Steve Dotto is a legend, and Canadian too. People love him, and his beard. And they also thrive on his approach to educating the community on every bit of tech geekery there is, from Evernote to Slack, to Google products. Well deserving to be here, and to be leading the way on helping the common man and woman thrive in a digital age. Did I mention he has a cool beard? I think I did. He is funny as funny can be too. You will probably know Google Drive already, but Steve delivers more hints and tips in his own cheeky style here:



Vikki Taylor - Founder & Chief Social Strategist - Blend Social

Twitter ID: @VictoriaTaylUK

Twitter Followers: 6,602

Specialty: Social Media, Speaker

Vikki Taylor is super at social, with a strong sense of what will work for corporates. But she bridges online with her work for Summit.Live (for the UK) and has a great connections across mutliple platforms. She seems friendly too - so we have included her in this category as ‘gets where it is all going’ and is doing her bit to spread the word.

Ravi Ruparel

Twitter ID: @raviruparel

Twitter Followers: 570

Specialty: Tech, Marketing, Innovation and Trading

Ravi is different, I sense. Take a look at his Twitter account for an array of direct approaches and perspectives to big brands who could do better. But it is really when you go to his site (http://platformcan.com/) that you sense he is an innovator, playing with your senses, and engaging curiosity. As a rising star on this list, let’s see how 2017 treats him, but know he will be pushing back and making his mark too.


That wraps up our list, but I’ll add on more thank you to Lilach Bullock who introduced me to Talkwalker many moons ago. She is a hidden gem, and well established now as well.

Please do let us know who else you would like to see featured next time. And if you would like to know more about Talkwalker...

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