The State of Twitter and 10 Mavericks You Should Absolutely Follow

ReBlogged Post via HuffingtonPost.com

twitter5I received an interesting email earlier this week from Twitter congratulating me on my five-year anniversary on the site.

Five years? Is it really possible?

I have been a huge fan of Twitter right from the start, but still, incredibly, many people are not. I know this is way too simplistic, but to me Twitter sentiment falls into one of two categories: the true believers and the haters.

The conversation from the Twitter haters goes something like this:

Twitter is a complete waste of time. The site is full of endless dribble about what someone ate for breakfast and spam trying to sell me something I do not want or trying to take me somewhere I don’t want to go.

For I, and many of the true believers, Twitter is the most powerful marketing tool I use and a fundamental part of my business growth strategy. Twitter is my number one source of traffic, period. It is the primary distribution channel for my blog, along the way helping me to become one of Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs. It is also my top list building tool, a huge feeder to many of my other social media sites and the source of many of my speaking, coaching and other business leads.

I am in the social media business, so it makes sense that it would work for me, but can Twitter be used by all types of businesses? Yes, I think it can. Apparently a lot of other people think it can also as the business side of Twitter appears to be moving rapidly in the positive direction. They are a public company now, so the information is readily available. Here are just a few nuggets from the Q4, 2013 financial report directly from Twitter:

  • There are now 241 million active users (MAUs). This is a 30 percent increase year over year!
  • There are 184 million mobile MAUs; 76 percent of all MAUs are mobile!
  • Timeline views reached 148 BILLION in Q4, a 26 percent increase year over year!
  • Q4 revenue was $243 million, up 116 percent year over year and adjusted full year earnings were $75 million.

Plus, in just the last quarter, Twitter has launched television conversation targeting, tailored audiences, conversation tracking and promoted accounts.

So, hopefully I have made my point. I have been and will continue to go ALL IN on Twitter. If you are smart, you might want to give some serious thought to going all in yourself.

At a minimum, you should be following and paying attention to what the thought leaders, real experts and Twitter “mavericks” are saying and doing on Twitter. Here are my “10 Mavericks You Should Absolutely Follow on Twitter”:

Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee): Raw and unbridled, Gary tells you exactly what is on his mind and what he is passionate about: wine, the Jets, his blown out knee, the future of social media and where the puck will be. Caution, some of his language is a little “colorful.”

Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas): Jeff is a content-generating and distribution machine and, more than just about anybody out there, uses Twitter to provide value, value, value.

Ian Cleary (@iancleary): Probably the smartest and definitely the most analytical social media and tech expert, Ian writes prodigiously for the Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, RazorSocial and a number of other high-profile sites. He is also THE person to follow if you want to keep up with the latest and best social media tools.

Mari Smith (@marismith): Mari is the undisputed social media queen of Facebook (facebook.com/marismith) but she also does a great job distributing content, connecting with her followers and just being generally helpful on Twitter. Plus, she is one of the genuinely nicest people I have ever met.

Mike Stelzner (@mike_stelzner): Mike is the man behind Social Media Examiner (@smexaminer). If you do not know, Social Media Examiner is an information hub for all things social. This one is a no-brainer. You should follow both of these accounts if you want to be plugged in to what is happening on the social media landscape and the man who steers the ship.

Joel Comm (@joelcomm): Joel has been in the social media business long before they called it social media. Read the succinct bio at the top of his Twitter page: “I connect dots;” and that is exactly what he does. In addition to following him on Twitter, I suggest you read his book Twitter Power 2.0: How to Dominate Your Market one Tweet at a Time. It’s brilliant!

Jessica Northey (@jessicanorthey): If you want to see how one person can digitally attack a single industry from all sides, Jessica is the person to watch. In addition to 545,000 Twitter followers, she is included in the circles of 1.4 MILLION people on Google+. Who cares if you like country music or not? Follow Jessica to watch a virtuoso at work.

Brian Carter (@briancarter): Brian is the author of the best-seller, The Like Economy – How Businesses Make Money with Facebook. He is also a master social media strategist having worked for many major companies, brands and organizations. Most of Brian’s Twitter presence is centered on how businesses can use social media to actually make money. I like that!

Jay Baer (@jaybaer): Jay is one of the leading proponents, teachers and evangelists of “pull marketing.” As he so eloquently laid out in his book YOUtility, the companies leading and winning using social media will be the ones who realize their true value comes from being useful to people. Following him on Twitter will definitely be useful to you.

Ted Rubin (@tedrubin): Ted is a Chief Marketing Officer by position and commonly referred to as the most influential and followed CMO on Twitter. He’s a Forbes Social Media Power Influencer and a brilliant “sharer” of information on how you can use Twitter to drive your marketing efforts.

As a disclaimer, I will say that I have personally met and know just about everybody on the list above. There are certainly many deserving others that would be included on a more detailed list. These 10, however, have had a tremendous influence on me personally, my business and how I use Twitter.

So who makes your list of people who have influenced you most on Twitter? I would love to know in the comments section below.

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