social media stars
Sometimes I weary of social media lists that are simply popularity contests or a cheap way to promote some start-up or PR agency. And usually the same people are on these lists over and over. There are so many other deserving voices out there.

So, with the help of some friends, I decided to create a different kind of list. I wanted to recognize people in a way that was not derived from who could get out the vote or who was cozy with a corporate sponsor. I wanted to create a list that would celebrate amazing people who do not normally show up on lists. I wanted to find the (dramatic music) Future Gurus.

I asked some of the people who are regulars on these “best of” lists to recommend a few people who they believe are on the rise. Who is impressing them, inspiring them, and challenging them?

Who are the unknown stars who will be rocking the social media conferences two or three years from now?

If you’re on this list, I hope you feel good about being recognized by some of the leaders in the field. If you’re not on the list, I hope you know that a) this is all rather arbitrary, b) you probably DO deserve to be on the list but this group of leaders may not know you yet, and c) everyone today has the opportunity to be seen, to be heard, and to be recognized. Go for it.

Here are the panelists who contributed names to this list of outstanding social media marketing professionals on the rise: Michael Brenner (SAP); Jeff Bullas (JeffBullas.com); C. C. Chapman (Wediko Children’s Services); Gini Dietrich (Arment Dietrich); Jason Falls (Cafe Press); Ann Handley (MarketingProfs); Simon J. Hughes (Microsoft); Dave Kerpen (Likeable Media); Shelly Kramer (V3 Marketing); Lee Odden (TopRank Marketing); Matt Ridings (Sidera Works); Ted Rubin (Brand Innovators); Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion); Michael Stelzner (Social Media Examiner); Christopher Penn (SHIFT Communications); Joe Pulizzi (Content Marketing Institute); Mari Smith (Mari Smith Consulting); Scott Stratten (Unmarketing); and Tom Webster (Edison Research).

Here is our list of people on the move, in alphabetical order. You can follow the entire group on this Twitter List.

70 rising social media stars

Jeremy AbelJeremy Abel (Mannix Marketing) — An inbound marketing strategist at Mannix Marketing, Jeremy speaks and writes with a very thoughtful and “big picture” point of view when it comes to social media and content marketing. @brandabel
joe acunzoJay Acunzo (NextView) — Joe is a content producing rock star and emerging industry leader who has contributed to Huffington Post, Content Marketing Institute, iMedia and others. He is currently the director of platform at NextView Ventures and a co-founder of the industry community group, Boston Content, which now boasts more than 500 members. @Jay_zo
brooke BallardBrooke Ballard (BSquared Media) — Brooke is carving out a niche for herself and her agency in the competitive New York market through a reputation for creating effective B2B social media campaigns that connect on an emotional level with the audience. @MadSMscientist
Erin BuryErin Bury (88 Creative) — Erin is the managing director for this Toronto-based digital and design agency. She always brings a unique voice and profound thinking to whatever she is working on at the moment. @erinbury
jon buscallJon Buscall (Jontus Media) — Jon operates out of Sweden and France and is hands-down one of the smartest marketers on the planet. Check out his resources on podcasting. @jonbuscall
kevin-cainKevin Cain (Kevin Cain Consulting) — Kevin has an enormous amount of digital experience with OpenView Venture Partners, State Street Corp., KPMG and Charles River Associates. He currently resides in Sydney, Australia, where he consults to businesses on strategic content marketing and communications issues. @kevinrcain
stephanie wonderlin carlsStephanie Wonderlin Carls (Together Mobile) — Stephanie had a GoPro camera in her wedding bouquet. Need I say more? She won our hearts with the innovative Tweetheart web TV series and has made a broad mark on the social web with her diverse content and pioneering brand journalism. @swonderlin
JonChiribogaJonathan Chiriboga (Home Depot Canada) — Passionate about digital social, both from a big brand side but also the personal side and human impacts. @jonchiriboga
lauraclickLaura Click (Blue Kite Marketing) — Laura made the leap from government communications specialist to marketing strategist and is taking the city of Nashville by storm. Superb writer and project manager. @lauraclick
ryan coxRyan Lee Cox — Ryan may be young, but he’s not afraid to go after what he wants, He’s always willing to learn and totally focused on paying it forward, one mission after the other. His latest passion is providing lunch for hungry kids. He brings heart and the passion to everything he touches. @ryanleecox
Chris craftChristopher Craft (Nao Media and Consulting) — With strengths in music, sports and content marketing, Chris is a driven, inspirational entrepreneur and marketer. His book O.P.E.N. Routine is available on Amazon. @ChrisQueso
kimberly crosslandKimberly Crossland (SavvyCopywriter) — Kimberly admittedly has an unnatural obsession with the impact words have on people, businesses, and relationships. She is one of the web’s finest writers and obsesses (yes, obsesses) with words, headlines, and new content marketing ideas. @savvycopywriter
Devon DawsonDevon Dawson (PJA Marketing + Advertising) — Devon expertly approaches social media and content marketing as integral pieces of an integrated whole. Devon believes in programs, not promotions, and works tirelessly to make sure that all pieces of a communications program — online, offline, paid, owned, earned — drive measurable business results. @devonjdawson
katedickmanKate Dickman (CVS Caremark) — Kate has been a social star ever since she was able to connect to the web. Her passions have taken her from Manhattan to Ghana, providing her social media smarts to major brands like Panasonic, Lipton, Yahoo!, Lindt & Sprungli. She is currently Senior Manager, Social Media Strategy at CVS Caremark. @KateDickman
jasondillerJason Diller (DSM Group) — Diller went from doing incredible things in the landscape industry (with inbound marketing) to teaching other companies how to achieve the same success. Now VP of Marketing for The DSM Group, an inbound marketing agency out of New Jersey. @JasonDiller
tiffanyTiffany DiPanni (County Line Chiropractic Medical & Rehab) — Tiffany gets networking, relationships and community building better than just about anyone we know. She is bringing relationship marketing into the new age of social and is making it work for her chain of Miami-based clinics. @TifDip
marsdorianMars Dorian (MarsDorian.com) Mars may be best known to {grow} readers as a regular contributing writer to the blog but his bold thinking and extraordinary design work have made him a sought-after multi-media producer in Germany and around the world. @marsdorian
jason engJason Eng (IBM) — Jason has been Sr. Social Media Strategist at Sony Professional for the past three years and just made the move to a senior marketing job at IBM. Watch out for him — he has the mind of an digital engineer and the heart of a marketer! @jasoneng_
hanna erlandssonHanna Erlandsson Hanna just graduated from New York’s Fashion Institute. She deeply “gets” social and how it can be integrated into the core of marketing going forward. The native of Sweden has worked in a variety of social media roles for Collective Bias, Big Fuel and Studio MB. @hannaerlandsson
valentinaM. Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez (Beyond Engagement) — Valentina is establishing herself as a regional, multi-cultural social media expert. She is growing quickly as a blogger/independent consultant/speaker and her enthusiasm, persistence, and drive are an inspiration. @equinevalentina
kevingreenKevin Green (Dell) — Kevin is a long time agency pro with many years at Racepoint Global where he did groundbreaking digital marketing work for IBM, T-Mobile, EA Games, HBO and many other brands. Today, he’s Executive Director, Marketing at Dell leading the global digital marketing team. @KevinMGreen
ally greerAlly Greer (Scoopit) — Ally is a passionate and innovative community manager for @scoopit where she combines her interests in content, community, sports and fun. Great to see a community manager who loves her job and still stays true to herself. @AllyGreer
jameshahnJames Hahn (TribeRocket) — James is a smash-mouth marketer. A highly-original, deep thinker, he’s unafraid to challenge the status quo. His special area of expertise is the oil and gas industry. @jameshahnII
chrishallChris Hall (OODATRON) — This data geek and expert project manager is working to improve personal health through social and digital content, apps and education. Chris is a significant contributor to the industry’s innovations in analytics and communications. @hallicious
james halloranJames Halloran (1&1) — James is a skilled and versatile writer with extensive experience though Brand.com, Embassy of Canada (Washington DC) and the New Growth Arts Review. Today he is a copywriter at 1&1 working on blog posts, videos, and social media management. @jrhalloran
ryan hanleyRyan Hanley (Content Warfare) — After building a successful social media competency in the insurance business, the passionate and edgy Hanley has now branched out on his own to offer consulting to small and mid-sized businesses. Check out his Content Warfare podcast. @RyanHanley_Com
daniel hebertDaniel Hebert (SteamFeed) — Daniel is based in Toronto and is a co-founder of SteamFeed, an online resource for marketing professionals, social media managers, and small business owners. He is also the Growth Manager for newsrooms365.com @danielghebert
mike hickenbothamMike Hickinbotham (Westpac Banking Group) — Mike is currently the Head of Social Media at Australia’s Westpac Banking Group. The Canada native was a Telstra’s first employee designated to work in social media. He has also served as Chair of the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) expert group on social media. @mhickinbotham
amy higginsAmy Higgins (Concur Technologies) — Amy understands the content and social media relationship like few marketers anywhere. As an ex-Googler, artist and opera aficionado, she is equally smart, creative and focused on results with an impressive digital marketing track record at Concur Technologies. @amywhiggins
Renee HopkinsRenee Hopkins (Business Innovation Factory) — Renee is gaining a reputation as one of the top community managers in the business. Her job is to develop and manage community engagement platforms to grow and strengthen BIF’s community of innovation junkies to create random collisions that create new business opportunities. @Renee_Hopkins
jason howJason How (Marketing Strategist) — Jason is an up and coming blogger, providing some of the freshest thinking around on practical social media/Facebook marketing, content, strategy and analytics. His posts are always well-written with great visuals. @jasonhjh
justin jonesJustin Jones (IMEG)– Justin is a serial entrepreneur who has carved a successful niche creating innovative digital marketing plans for the tourism industry through his fast-growing company IMEG. And he drives a Tesla. @Connectwithimeg
cadi jordanCadi Jordan (Marketing Strategist) – Cadi made this list by making a name for herself as a marketing expert with a fresh and memorable approach. She is focusing on social media marketing for the spa, health and wellness industry. @CadiJordan
muhammed saad khanMuhammed Saad Khan (Cloudways) — His Twitter handle, @invinciblesaad, certainly is apt. Saad has successfully overcome many personal, political,, and economic hurdles to become a rising content marketing star in his home country of Pakistan. His determination and cheerful support of his online community is an inspiration. @invinciblesaad
samantha kleinSamantha Klein (IBM) — Samantha is a rock star millennial marketer with the chops to be a leader, disruptor and bold voice in our business. She speaks her mind about marketing to digital natives. Samantha is also a pioneer in the field of influence marketing and blogs at Ask A Millennial. @samjoyk
pavelPavel Konoplenko (GMB Direct) A lot of young people tell you they are going to change the world. When Pavel looks you in the eye and says it, you believe him! Already an experienced social media marketer and community manager, his passion project is uniting artists and entrepreneurs through The Culture LP. @pavelnovel
krista kotrlaKrista Kotrla — (Block Imaging) — Known for her passionate belief in enhancing company culture to get powerful results through social media and content marketing, Krista helped make Block Imaging a digital leader in the medical imaging space. She now has branched out even further to help companies reach their digital marketing potential. @kristakotrla
sarah kuglinSarah Viergutz Kuglin (Redwood Valley Tech) — Sarah is an experienced graphic designer and also offers social media services through her Minnesota-based company. She takes an innovative visual approach to social media and is one of the most humble rising stars you’ll meet! @sarahkuglin
fernandoFernando Labastida (Emprende) — Fernando is an experienced international marketing and sales professional dedicated to bridging the gap between Latino business owners and content marketing best practices. Based in Texas, Fernando is building a brand throughout the Southest, Mexico, and Central and South America. @flabastida
deannaDeanna Lazzaroni (LinkedIn) — As inspiring as she is talented, Deanna has amazing brand digital marketing experience from working at Talent Zoo, BBDO, Coca-Cola and now LinkedIn where she develops and manages social media programs for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions group. @DigitalDL
nikki littleNikki Little (Identity) — Nikki is a public relations professional, blogger, speaker, and the social media manager at Detroit-based Identity, an integrated public relations firm. She is a community leader and has held top positions in the Social Media Club, PRSA and other organizations. @nikki_little
amandaAmanda Maksymiw (Lattice Engines) — Unassuming, very smart and content savvy! Her friendly, calm style is refreshing and effective for her company, Lattice Engines. She has contributed content to some of the top marketing sites in the world and been a speaker at many top conferences including MarketingProfs’ B2B Forum and Content Marketing World. @amandamaks
sarah masonSarah Mason (Uncommon.ly Social) — Sarah’s star has risen on the basis of her creative and inventive graphic designs. She is a passionate advocate of keeping “human” at the center of her consulting practice and has been known to reward new social connections with fresh-baked cookies! @sarahsmason
cathy mcphillipsCathy McPhillips (Content Marketing Institute) — As social media lead for the Content Marketing Institute, Cathy has the opportunity to learn from the best. She has an amazing background with extensive marketing experience in retail, hospitality and non-profit. @cmcphillips
stacey millerStacey Miller (Vocus) — One of many bright young social media stars at Vocus, Stacey stands out as a first-rate, versatile content creator and cool-headed community manager. She has already published more than 500 blog posts. Plus, she likes to fish. @staceylamiller
andrew moravickAndrew Moravick (Harte Hanks) — Andrew is establishing himself as a digital marketing thought leader who understands social media, content marketing and how to tie it all back to demand generation and results. @AMoravick
donna moritzDonna Moritz (Socially Sorted) — Donna’s content has been on display in some of the best sites in the business including Forbes, Yahoo!, NBC, Social Fresh, Amy Porterfield, Socialancer, Michael Hyatt and Young Entrepreneur. Her own award-winning blog focuses on visual communications. @sociallysorted
paulnazarethPaul Nazareth (Scotia Private Client Group) — A prolific blogger, speaker and networker, no one is more passionate about philanthropy/non-profit social media than Paul. @UinvitedU
jesse noyesJesse Noyes (Kapost) — He’s a senior content marketing executive and with good reason — Jesse is a really good writer and has a nose like a reporter — both skills content marketers should possess. @noyesjesse
corey OCorey O’Loughlin (MarketingProfs) — Corey is an entrepreneur and a marketing manager at Marketing Profs. She’s an incredibly creative marketer who brings a lot of heart AND smarts to content. @coreyolo
ana silva OreillyAna Silva O’Reilly (Mrs. O Around the World) — Ana is the answer to this question: “Who has the best job in the world?” From the Maldives to Paris, Ana covers the planet and has rapidly become one of the most respected luxury travel bloggers in the world. @mrsoaroundtheworld
eleanor pierceEleanor Pierce (Arment-Dietrich) Eleanor is the shared media manager for this Chicago firm and also freelances on the side. She also writes for a line of trivia books that’s sold nearly 5 million copies and is a prolific blogger. @eleanorpie
alex pirouzAlex Pirouz (Linkfluencer) — OK, so his first four businesses failed. But Alex has emerged with an exciting new digital agency now advising governments, CEOs, and businesses. The Australian is also a prolific business writer and blogger.
gregory PouyGregory Pouy (LaMercatique) — Gregory is already one of the top marketing bloggers in all of France. And now he has set his sights on conquering America via New York City. His special emphasis is luxury brands. @gregfromparis
bradBrad PowellBrad has been under the radar for years, but understands how to create branded content unlike anyone else. His company creates innovative marketing campaigns for socially conscious companies. What he is trying to accomplish through his Awake Aware America campaign and camps is truly inspiring. @DaddyBrad
anne reussAnne Reuss (360Conext) — Anne describes herself as a “Customer Experience Social & Marketing Manager, Freelance Consultant & Steamfeed Writer.” Yes. She does a lot. But whe is also one of theose few people you meet in life who is a successful leader because people WANT to follow her inspiring example. @annereuss
rachaelRachael Powell (Elasticity) — A dynamite social thinker, blogger and director of social media at Elasticity, Rachael brings the powerful combination of content creator and business counselor to the table for brands like Cafepress, Charter Communications, Head & Shoulders and more. @rachaelcpowell
mallorie rosenbluthMallorie Rosenbluth (Likeable Media) Mallorie is VP client services at Likeable Media. She is a dynamic, thoughtful, young leader who balances working with Fortune 500 clients with her eclectic and interesting personal life. Check out her personal blog; Punk meets Pink and her work at Likeable Media. @MallorieRose
pamPam Sahota (Digitas)Pam is the Director of Social.Content at Digitas and understands that there is more than one aspect and approach to leveraging social media. With every update and post she showcases the impressive variety of her knowledge. @PamSahota
jacob sapochnickJacob Sapochnick (Sapochnick Law Firm) Yes, Jacob is a lawyer. And a savvy social media marketer. Do the two seem mutally exclusive? Follow Jason … for seeing is believing. This California-based immigration attorney truly understands the enchanting connection between content, relationships, and growing a business. @visalawyerblog
brittany shafferBrittany Shaffer (Proximo Marketing) — At 22 years of age, Brittany is the youngest member of this power list but is already a rising star. She has been blogging making films, and developing her own eCommerce sites since she was in high school and has already had internships with Proximo, Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the National 4H Council. @brittanyshaf
shah and starr

Angilee Shahand Tory Starr (Public Radio International) This dynamic duo is working tirelessly on PRI’s social accounts, including initiatives like PRI Human Needs. They aren’t just working to benefit a brand, they are working to raise awareness for some of the most critical global issues of the day, and they do it with integrity, smarts, and passion.
@ToryStarr3 @angshah
ravi shukleRavi Shukle (Social Media Strategist) — Ravi is a real go-giver and one of the most exciting personalities on the UK marketing scene. He’s very dedicated to providing valuable content and has a highly engaged community, especially on Facebook. @ravishukle
ingo stollIngo Stoll (neuwaerts.de) From his base in Hannover, Ingo is a college educator, entrepreneur, and one of Western Europe’s rising bloggers, podcasters and digital marketing strategists. @ingostoll
chel wolvertonChel Wolverton (SHIFT Communications) –Chel is one of the few people in the world who is an actual marketing technologist, someone who is strong in both disciplines and can execute on either side of the brain. @chelpixie
wonderopolisSara Ulliman (Wonderopolis) — She bridges the conversation between curious children (of all ages) and the educators serving daily doses of Wonder in the classroom each day through Wonderopolis, a ground-breaking literacy effort from the National Centers for Families Learning. @Wonderopolis
mike watkinsMike Watkins (digiocial) — Mike is a young man who has carved a nice niche for himself and his growing agency by focusing on the Australian market for content, social media marketing and regional analytics. @thelionmarketer
michele weismanMichele Weisman (Likeable Media) — Michelle may be the world’s queen of Twitter Chats, hosting 100 events a week on behalf of her company! She has been the social media voice of her company since she was a senior at Syracuse University.
@ottogrl
stevenSteven Woodgate (Microsoft) — A determined and resourceful community manager pushing the social media envelope for Microsoft UK with small & medium businesses. @StevenWoodgate
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