If you’re a social media marketer, you had best be using social media. When you’re dealing with a defining element of this century, it’s massively important to stay on top of all the information available. Twitter, of course, is a top social media site, and it’s also a top tool for staying on top of social media trends, news, and tips. Here are 20 Twitter users that every smart social media marketer should follow.
1. Arianna Huffington. The queen of The Huffington Post, @ariannahuff knows how to provide information in a way that appeals to the masses. She built her news site on the blog format — I see blogs as the foundation to modern social media — and her account is an excellent model for how to blend news items and specific, personal messages.
2. Randi Zuckerberg. She is the leader for Facebook’s consumer marketing team, and she also does a lot of work with nonprofits and current events. You should follow her not only because of Facebook’s golden medal status, but also because her tweets do a good job of showing how to integrate current events with your company’s marketing goals.
3. Tumblr. Tumblr is such a quickly rising star in the social media world that it’s worth checking out what they have to say. Social media marketers should strive to be on the cusp of the action, and it’s a good idea to follow those companies who have done that successfully.
4. Scott Monty. He’s the head of social media marketing at Ford, and his genuine interest in social media comes out well on his Twitter account. Follow him for a useful mix of corporate strategy and interesting social news tips.
5. Justin Bieber. This might sound frivolous, but following Justin Bieber isn’t something to be embarrassed about: The teen pop sensation has mastered Twitter. He has over five million followers, but since he appeals most to the younger crowd, it’s important to see what kind of tweets are doing such a fantastic job of reeling in that teen/young adult demographic.
6. Lady Gaga. Okay, bear with this second consecutive pop reference. Lady Gaga is the world’s most popular Twitter user, and as a social media marketer, it’s a good idea to be receiving the same tweets as her 6 million plus followers.
7. Pete Cashmore. He tweets as the CEO of Mashable, and his breaking news items are good things to know in the social media field.
8. Freakonomics. If social media marketing is all about advancing your business (or someone else’s), then you should be aware of economic trends, including the weird ones that the popular Freakonomics books describe. Anything that generates buzz is worth a marketer’s while, and these freaky economic stories do just that.
9. Ali Brown. Ali Brown prides herself on being a self-made millionaire, but what’s truly great is that her Twitter account is almost devoted to giving advice to other women entrepreneurs. Her account is a business staple, and offers great advice that social media marketers can apply to their companies’ own philosophies.
10. Jeff Bullas. As an expert in the digital marketing field, Jeff Bullas provides a top-notch survey of current social media movements.
11. Melinda Emerson. She is a business coach who also specializes in social media, and her tweets disseminate high-quality, reliable news, with some personal touches (like a shoutout to the Glee television series) that keep it pleasantly real.
12. NYTimes. It’s the biggest, classiest name in American news. Follow them.
13. Aliza Sherman. As creator of Coversify and a self-described web pioneer, her tweets reveal an expert’s take on how to maximize a Twitter account (and social media in general).
14. Robert Gibbs. The Press Secretary account is an official White House account. See how your marketing skills match up to the White House’s — whether you think you’re better or worse than the government social media strategists, it’s worth following the tweets that represent the Executive Branch of the United States.
15. Socialmedia411. Another great source that keeps you on your toes for news.
16. Kathy Meyer. She is an e-Marketing expert who tweets frequently about social media. Her account not only provides useful information and links, but is also a first-class model of a well-rounded Twitter account that incorporates her personal interests (including aesthetics and motherhood).
17. Nike. There are Nike Twitter accounts for several sports, and you can follow any or all to get a good flavor for what this successful company is up to with its social media strategy. Nike has had a number of incredibly viral videos, and since they seem to know how to connect with people via the internet, you should take a minute and connect with them.
18. Foursquare. Foursquare is obviously a big name in social media right now, but since we can see the Foursquare check-in as the “map” version of a Twitter tweet, it’s worthwhile to see how Foursquare makes use of a Twitter account.
19. Google Tech. Google Tech may tweet much less often than the other users on this list, but when it does, you get high quality information right from the source. Google Tech focuses on data, trends, and telecom marketing.
20. Twitter. This sounds basic, but basic is where it all starts. Get to know what Twitter is saying on its own account, and you’ll form a better idea of how your company might want to use its own tools in the future.