I often go in search of interesting new people to follow, especially in digital marketing. I spend at least an hour every day reading and engaging communities--I consider it part of my lifelong education.
Relevance is important and so is overall reach, so one of the metrics I use as my yard stick for top digital marketing experts is Retweets, as measured by awesome influencer and content discovery tool BuzzSumo.
However, my completely unscientific method also includes checking out influencers on specific hashtags using TweetReach (which shows you how far tweets and topics travel), and even going back through the list of people I've followed lately to get to know them better. After all, if they said something to pique my interest in the first place, this could be someone worth connecting with on LinkedIn, as well.
It also matters to me a great deal that people are engaging and not just autotweeting out a feed of stuff. I mean, we follow publications and expect that, but it's nice to see industry experts and thought leaders participating in conversations, too.
Here are my top digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter--people whose expertise and advice I enjoy, and think you will, too.
1. John Shahidi--CEO, Shots
John shares a ton of interesting interviews, blog posts, and relevant news articles with his 354,000 followers and gets an astonishing average of 3,800 retweets. He's just started publishing on Medium and is sure to have plenty of interesting content to share in the future.
2. Donald Miller--Founder, StoryBrand
Donald shares a lot of marketing advice with his 219,000 followers, but also tweets inspirational content for entrepreneurs and business people. While his company, StoryBrand, helps businesses, Don just wrote ScaryClose, a book on relationships that's climbing the bestseller list.
3. Rand Fishkin--Wizard of Moz
Rand has built an impressive following of over 228,000 people in his lengthy online marketing career. He has a super engaged audience who retweet 66 percent of his tweets thanks to the superior depth of his knowledge and his generosity in giving it away.
4. Mike Street--podcaster, SmartBrownVoices
Mr. Mike Street has over 49,000 followers and releases a new digital marketing podcast called Smart Brown Voices for them each week. Almost half of his tweets get retweeted, thanks to the awesome quality of the content he produces and shares.
5. Tabitha Naylor--Sales and marketing pro
Tabitha is a pro at curating interesting, timely, and relevant content for sales and marketing people. She shares tweets from around the web with her 37,400 followers and regularly engages in conversation with her audience.
6. Jay Baer--Business strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author
Jay's kind of a big deal--a prolific blogger, he's amassed 150,000 Twitter followers who hang on his every piece of marketing advice. Still, he's down to earth and a great conversationalist. In fact, 43 percent of his tweets actually get replies, indicating a super-high level of relevance and engagement.
7. Ann Handley--Author, marketer, chief content officer, MarketingProfs
Ann is a pioneer in the content marketing industry and is always generous with her time and advice. Her almost 12,000 followers enjoy the quality content she shares from MarketingProfs, industry events, and around the world. Her feed is a treasure trove of knowledge for marketers.
8. Matt Heinz--Founder and president, Heinz Marketing
Matt has diverse interests within the digital marketing spectrum, which makes for an interesting read for his over 56,000 followers. Tune in for a variety of information and insights about content marketing, leadership, marketing strategy, and demand generation.
9. Avinash Kaushik--Digital marketing evangelist, Googler, author
Follow Avinash for a peek inside the brain of the man who serves as digital marketing evangelist for Google and wrote both Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. His 152,000 followers retweet his tweets an average of 13 times each and hang on his every word for the next forward-looking marketing gem.
10. Shelly Kramer--Marketing and brand strategist
Shelly, from v3 Integrated Marketing, has a highly engaged audience of 77,700 followers who reshare 32 percent of her tweets. She tweets several times daily on social media marketing, content, and branding.
11. Mark Schaefer--Author and consultant, Schaefer Marketing Solutions
Mark shares a ton of great info from popular industry publications with his 104,000 followers, but also a great deal from smaller sources you might not have discovered.
12. Jeff Bullas--Chief evangelist, ShuttleRock
As a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer, Jeff is a must-follow for anyone in the digital marketing realm, but especially in social media marketing. He has over 301,000 followers and averages six retweets per tweet.
13. Amber Naslund--SVP marketing, Sysomos
You might remember Amber from her time with Radian6, or her blog, Brass Tack Thinking. Now with social analytics and intelligence platform Sysomos, she still shares her marketing advice and tons of personality on her Twitter with over 55,000 followers.
14. Danny Sullivan--Founding editor, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land
Danny is fast closing in on half a million followers, and it's no wonder; he's been an industry leader in search as long as search has been a thing. He's usually the first out with news about Google, Bing, or other search engines and is generous with the knowledge he's willing to share with others.
15. Dharmesh Shah--Founder/CTO, HubSpot
Dharmesh's 254,000 followers are regularly treated to an experienced insider's point of view on all things marketing, but also startups, entrepreneurism, and funding. A renowned expert and leader in inbound marketing, he's also an angel investor in over 40 startups.
16. Brett Tabke--founder, PubCon and WebmasterWorld
Brett built two incredibly successful digital marketing resources from the ground up and regularly shares his unique perspective with his 38,000 followers. His PubCon is indisputably the most popular online marketing conference in the states, while WebmasterWorld was for years THE place to be to learn about SEO.
17. Duane Forrester--Bing Webmaster Tools
Duane returned to Bing and the entire community rejoiced! A popular fixture at digital marketing conferences and online, he's a smart, insightful guy with 11,000 followers on Twitter. Moreover though, he's generous with his advice and just a nice person all around.
18. Greg Gifford--AutoRevo
Why doesn't this guy have 100,000 Twitter followers? I have no idea, but this is why follower count alone is a poor indicator of quality. I've been super impressed with Greg's digital marketing tips in his video blogs and at conferences. Also, he tweets about bacon. What's not to love?
19. Joe Pulizzi--Z Squared Media
Joe is the brains behind a series of super successful marketing publications and events: Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing World, and Chief Content Officer. His 68,800 Twitter followers enjoy a first look at emerging trends in content marketing and uber-insightful columns from his publications.
20. Will Critchlow--Distilled
Will has 27,500 followers and is an engaging speaker at conferences like SearchLove. He tweets often techy and super in-depth content about search and mobile. If you want to learn about the inner workings of search in an understandable way, Will's your guy.
Looking for more great thought leaders to follow? Check out these 17 VCs and angel investors to follow on Twitter.