The Top 50 People Most Retweeted by Digital Marketers [Study]

by Nick Cicero on May 28, 2014
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retweet iconLeadtail and PunchTab have collaborated to create another list analyzing the behaviors of digital marketers on Twitter.

In they past they have covered the Twitter behaviors of mid-sized marketers, but this time they surveyed 515 North American digital marketers, who are of manager level and above, active on Twitter during February and April of 2014.

These 122,027 tweets, and 57,009 shared links have been posted by brand corporate, and agency marketers responsible for digital, social, content marketing and/or loyalty/CRM marketing programs.

They show a window into the world of the marketer’s consumption of social, and insights into the B2B side of social media can be invaluable when crafting your marketing strategy.

Digital Marketers balance news and education

The report uncovers some interesting findings looking at mainstream versus industry outlets.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 11.02.15 PMWhile these digital marketers are reading and sharing content from the typical mainstream and industry sites like The New York Times, Forbes or Ad Age, a growing number of independent or company blogs like Convince and Convert, Hubspot, Buffer and Moz are creating content that speaks directly to what marketers are interested in today.

The report found that 43% of content shared was mainstream content, and 42% industry.

Who do Digital Marketers engage with?

The study also looked at who these digital marketers mention and retweet the most. Looking at who is being retweeted the most is generally a sign that they are sharing content that demands being shared.

Now while it’s definitely fun for the folks on this list to see their name mentioned, for a business who is trying to get their message out in front of these marketers, crafting a strategy designed to get these people talking (be it through the content they share or the conversation they create) is one way to generate new opportunities for a desired audience to take an action.

Consider the insights from this study (which you can download here) when you think about where you could advertise, what content you could create, and whom could you build relationships with.

According to Leadtail and PunchTab, here are the Top 50 People Digital Marketers Retweet most:

1. Jay Baer – @jaybaer
2. Vala Afshar – @ValaAfshar
3. Chris Brogan – @chrisbrogan
4. Jeremiah Owyang – @jowyang
5. Lee Odden – @leeodden
6. Guy Kawasaki – @GuyKawasaki
7. Brian Solis – @briansolis
8. Ann Handley (Marketing Profs) – @MarketingProfs
9. Danny Sullivan – @dannysullivan
10. Darren Rovell – @darrenrovell
11. Mark Johnson – @MJohnsonLoyalty
12. R Ray Wang – @rwang0
13. Sean Gardner – @2morrowknight
14. Richard Branson – @richardbranson
15. Maria Popova – @brainpicker
16. Mark W Schaefer – @markwschaefer
17. Amber Naslund – @AmberCadabra
18. Jeff Bullas – @jeffbullas
19. Glen Gilmore – @GlenGilmore
20. Mari Smith – @MariSmith
21. Shelly Kramer – @ShellyKramer
22. Michael Brenner – @BrennerMichael
23. Barack Obama – @BarackObama
24. Rainn Wilson – @rainnwilson
25. Neil deGrasse Tyson – @neiltyson
26. Anil Dash – @anildash
27. Anthony DeRosa – @AntDeRosa
28. Ann Tran – @AnnTran_
29. Bruce Van Horn – @BruceVH
30. Nick Bilton – @nickbilton
31. Peter Shankman – @petershankman
32. Mark Ragan – @MarkRaganCEO
33. Dan Primack – @danprimack
34. Brian Fanzo – @iSocial_Fanz
35. Mack Collier – @MackCollier
36. Tim Siedel – @badbanana
37. Ted Rubin – @TedRubin
38. Chris Voss – @CHRISVOSS
39. Gerry Moran – @GerryMoran
40. Brian Morrissey – @bmorrissey
41. Heidi Cohen – @heidicohen
42. Lolly Daskal – @LollyDaskal
43. Stephen Colbert – @StephenAtHome
44. Magic Johnson – @MagicJohnson
45. George Takei – @GeorgeTakei
46. Ariana Huffington – @ariannahuff
47. Marc Andreessen- @pmarca
48. Elon Musk – @elonmusk
49. Kim Garst – @kimgarst
50. Gary Vaynerchuk – @garyvee


Update: Roel Manarang put together a list today with all these folks on it for easy following:

Post Author

Nick Cicero is the Editor at Social Fresh and a Digital Marketing Consultant. Formerly of Expion and Livefyre, Nick has experience building social campaigns for Sony PlayStation, Winn-Dixie, Eminem, Teen Vogue and more. He’s a fan of playing...

  • ShellyKramer

    I’d say many people (who also have independent/company blogs) on that list are creating original content that speaks to what marketers want (and need) to know today – not just the “big guys” like Moz, Jay, Hubspot and Buffer. That’s how this group of people established their reputations (and their reach) … not just by sharing content written by others.

  • nickcicero

    Thanks for your comments!

    I’d agree with you 100% ShellyKramer – really these are two separate observations from the study and I wouldn’t say the results should be similar.

    You and the other folks listed here definitely have established credibility by creating and owning your own content, as well as curating other great content, but you’re not always the ones breaking news or reporting trends for the industry, it’s simply not generally your focus.

    The “shared content” results that Leadtail presented were very interesting.

    I found it surprising that Moz, Hubspot and Buffer make this list when they fundamentally sell software, also sites with large contributing writer networks like Social Media Today and Business2Community.

    When you compare that in the same list as the Ad Ages, Business Insiders and TechCrunches of the world who have entire teams dedicated to reporting and information gathering, it’s hard to consider these corporate and indie blogs as “big guys” but you cannot deny that the most relatable and applicable content will clearly win for sure, which is probably we’re seeing this shift.

  • ShellyKramer

    Totally agree. I think an important message is that the reason many of these people are on the list is because they understand – and practice – the same fundamentals that very large companies (like Moz, Hubspot, AdAge, etc.) do. And that’s their inherent value. To their communities, to their clients, to their prospective clients. Relationships today are created with information. Those who create, curate, and disseminate information in a variety of different iterations are understandably at the forefront when it comes to lists and studies like these.

  • So when you are genuine and help others consistently over time, people like that? =)

  • I agree Shelly! I believe with so much noise on social especially Twitter.. The key for people to get content RT’d isn’t only just the content but how they share it, when they share it & how they separate from the noise! Also those who don’t just link drop but add their own insights and opinions make people want to share with others! Just my opinion!

  • ShellyKramer


  • nickcicero

    @ShellyKramer:disqus @BrianFanzo:disqus – I think it’s great to identify how one has become tops of this list…but I think for our readers it’d be more interesting to know why you share what you do. As a couple of awesome tweeters like you both are…what could a brand do to get themselves in front of you so that you help share or spread the good word about their product/service?

  • What is this help word you speak of? I thought everyone did everything for themselves and then complained cause nobody helps them… isn’t that the norm :)

  • ShellyKramer

    I think the key is to recognize that it’s not our “mission” to help share or spread the about any brand’s products or services. Unless, of course, they hire us for that purpose — because oddly, most of us like to get compensated for what we do. I can only speak for myself, but I encounter sales reps all the time who are so intent making a sale that they don’t realize the value of getting the attention of influential folks who speak, write, test, experiment with, pick apart — and recommend great products all the time. So, they often don’t spend any time developing relationships once they realize they’re not going to get an immediate sale. They’re off to the next prospect. This is all too common. Brands, marketers and sales managers would do well to work harder at understanding the power that comes from legitimate relationship building, strong influencer programs and of course, paid brand advocates or marketing teams.

  • Ann Tran

    Hi Shelly,

    Well said. Hope to meet you face-to-face. Have heard so many great things about you.


  • Barack Obama and Elon Musk are “digital marketers”? I don’t quite agree with their inclusion on the list, and while it’s good to see a list being curated, what would ACTUALLY be interesting would be to see a list of people with less than 10,000 followers who are digital marketers and strategists who get their stuff RT’d a lot. That would be a measure of real engagement.

    A lot of people just RT big names out there because it has the person’s brand value attached to it. When a little guy gets RT’d – it’s always proof of great content. Just my $0.02.

  • @nickcicero:disqus @ShellyKramer:disqus- It is easy for people to say they should “Standout from the Noise” but I believe that best bet for brands is too… Provide Value – Embrace Transparency so it isn’t all talk – Explain the Why & How more than What they do!

    So I guess that sounds fluffy so what I mean is.. Buffer for example.. They do an amazing job at explaining and sharing the goals of their company, They post blogs that are of AMAZING value to their community and the listen to feedback (Example changing features back within 48)..

    For me as a Tech Evangelist I needed a reason and a cause to get behind a brand.. On Social its no different for brands to get advocates and evangelists they need to convey that reason & relate their cause to the passions of their Community!

  • Agree @ShellyKramer:disqus- Sadly too many aren’t patient and are stuck in the old way of thinking “If they aren’t sharing and talking about the brand it isn’t helping us!” If they took the time to build relationships show they care and were part of the community the hard part for them which is the sell would become the easy part!

  • carterhostelley

    Hi Avtar,

    Good comment and very much agree.

    This list reflects who the sample of digital marketers retweet the most often. The inclusion of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, etc. shows that digital marketers (like most people) have broad interests (politics, technology) that they talk about and share on social media. (Btw, they also love sports and TV shows).

    Expanding on your comment… my recommendation to the little guys (like me) is to get customers, prospects, and colleagues sharing (which takes great content).. and then engage the influencers too as they are also looking for great content to feed their audiences (or risk losing them). From there we can all build social audiences that care about what we say, read, and share.

    Or said another way… the folks on this list had to start somewhere too. ; )

  • @carterhostelley:disqus as a fellow little guy who snuck on to this list I couldn’t agree more… I was always a social media power user but never thought of my self as a “Thought Leader” but I do believe my background and experience is unique. When I post content I focus less on the title or who else is sharing it rather more on “How is this valuable to me & my community and why do I care”- I then take and add a personal insight to 99% of the posts I share!

    Anyone & it seems like almost everyone understands how to “Link Drop or auto redirect an RSS feed” to twitter but to stand out you must be unique by adding graphics, changing the title or exactly what of the post you share and you also must understand and listen to your community so you know what to share that can help solve their problems!

    I hope this helped… I am a little guy who 3 months ago never had a single “Social Media” responsibility as part of my job description!

  • shankman

    Be genuine and help people? I’ve never heard of (or preached religiously) such a thing. Ever. :) Honored to be on this list. Thanks for pointing it out, JK! :D

  • treb072410

    I agree with what you said here Shelly..

  • Ian Mitchell

    2 blogs I would highly recommend are Talent Imitates Genius Steals (Faris Yakob) and Refinery (John Wilshire) both awesome and full of great thinking and wisdom.

  • These are very useful information about marketers, and what struck me the most is that the percentage of mainstream content that is share is almost the same as the industry content. I somehow thought the industry content would prevail here.

  • Industry Content ends up being stuck in the noise of the same RSS dropped links and titles everyone see’s… Focus must be on standing out… When I share industry posts I never use the standard title.. i add a picture and use a quote from the post!

  • ShellyKramer

    Totally spot on re Buffer and the job they do, @BrianFanzo:disqus. I also think that the concept of “providing value” is so alien for so many brands. They want to sell, and don’t realize the enormous benefit they could derive from building relationships by providing value. The brands I love are because they’ve given me a reason to love them. Like Buffer.

  • ShellyKramer

    The interesting thing is that I never look at how many followers someone has or how much traffic their blog has or how fancy their blog looks when I happen across something interesting. I care about what they say – and how it impacts me and how I think others might be interested in it. And knowing many of the people on this particular list personally, I’d venture a guess that many of the behave the same way.

  • ShellyKramer

    I was just thinking that same thing Carter. Everybody starts at the beginning. And most of us on any list never, ever forget that. And typically really enjoy doing anything we can to lift others up and support them.

  • Oh for sure, I think it’s the smart person’s game to look at the type of content being created and not simply at the person’s following. Jay Baer and Mark Schaefer always have some very interesting and insightful posts from time to time, as does Brian Solis.

    But… a little over half the people on that list recycle old content, talk about the same thing over and over again – and you know where I’m going with this. There are plenty of amazing strategists out there who are working wonders with smaller brands but will never get noticed because hey – they aren’t influencers, they don’t have 50,000 followers on Twitter and they haven’t been in the game since 2006.

    Good to see people like Brian Fanzo being recognized though! :)

  • Thanks for the recommendations Ian. We are big fans of Genius Steals.

  • Great point. I think one thing would be interesting to look at is the percentage of people that don’t work in digital, that talk about their industry on Twitter. I suspect digital marketers are way above average here.

  • We all know you belong on this list Peter. You have been way ahead of the game when it comes to this kind of community building. I think it’s in your blood.

  • ShellyKramer

    What’s telling about your comment above @beta21:disqus is that the vast majority of folks on this list have become so accustomed to being put on lists (some of which are wholly bogus and intended as traffic generators), that they mostly ignore them. I think that’s evidenced by the handful of folks mentioned, Peter, Ann, Brian, etc., who actually not only show up to read the list, but who comment/participate in a conversation about it. Sometimes there’s just so little value in stuff like this that it’s just totally ignored.

  • Great article, most companies are stuck in their ways, reminds me of talking with old people are stuck in their ways. Life is so much more fruitful to challenge ourselves everyday and keep evolving with technology!

  • Thanks Avtar for the kind words…. Too be honest many on this list books and blogs I read on a regular basis and I believe they do a great job of mixing up what they share and also not just link dropping. Jay for example uses great graphics and pictures while Brian Solis puts out some of the most insightful unique views in the industry.
    Too me it’s the people like Shelly & Ann & Ted that always share and engage not by just saying thank you but creating relationships and always being connected. For me I’m far from an expert of even in the same league as those on this list but I believe my followers can relate to might insights cause not even 6 months ago I was a social power user presenting at tech only conferences.

    Those who understand their audience & focus on creating value with what they reshare will be who will be on this list next year. Also something to be said about it’s not the number of followers you have but the number of followers who value your insight enough to want to share with others.

  • carterhostelley

    Hi Avatar, I’d like to add to your comment: “talk about the same thing over and over again…”. While I don’t disagree, one of the things that we see in the Leadtail data is that top influencers have built an audience around a central theme. For example, @BrennerMichael and @MarketingProfs on B2B marketing, @TedRubin and @MarkWSchaefer on return on relationship, @Jill_Rowley on social selling, @BryanKramer on human to human (H2H) connections, and @MeghanMBiro (in the HR space) on social recruiting. So sharing content around a central theme that you are passionate about is a key element in moving from a curator of great content to building an engaged audience around the themes that you’re passionate about.

  • I agree with you – a central theme is a must, and people will talk about what they specialize in. I’m talking about the ol fluff like “5 Ways to Get Noticed” and “3 Best Instagram Tips” and “10 Ways to Use Facebook Visuals Better” – that kind of stuff. Repetitive information around things that are elementary and well known. ;)