10 B2B influencers to follow on LinkedIn today
Putting together this list was no mean feat: not only is LinkedIn a heady mix of big hitters, blue-sky thinkers and shameless self-publicists, but it’s also awash with content – some good, some bad, and some downright terrible. The challenge is sorting the wheat from the metaphorical chaff – which is what this list serves to do.
Our criteria were fairly simple. First off, we were looking for guys and gals who share insightful, useful, engaging content; next, we wanted the left-fielders – the people whose contributions to newsfeeds add something new and fresh to your average working day. While we had lots to go on from both agency and client-side marketers, this isn’t a comprehensive list and we couldn’t include everyone, so definitely let us know who you think we’ve missed off.
1. Téa Smith
We all know the importance of a great headline when it comes to standout digital marketing, but which B2B-ers are practising what they preach on LinkedIn? Téa Smith sure is. ‘Help a girl out?’, ‘An apology’ and ‘Dear clients (aka It isn’t Trump’s fault)’ all drew our attention immediately. We have a feeling that the latter, an open letter to client-side marketers in which she pleads with them to pay on time and stop micro-managing, will resonate with many of you out there in agency land.
2. Jeremy Waite
The head of Salesforce's digital strategy somehow comes across as more human than many of his counterparts – and this isn't just from his background summary (he likes whisky and good cheese, FYI) but also his posts, which are pretty forthright and outspoken. Take, for example, Jeremy's piece on the negativity that pervades the world of B2B, and the way in which so many marketers live in fear of saying the wrong thing or talking about a trend that others might blithely dismiss as 'so last month'. Have a read and judge for yourself whether you think the marketing industry is at risk of becoming the most ‘liked’ lonely community in the business world. Also recently appointed an IBM evangelist, I definitely see elements of truth in what Jeremy's saying – particularly with regard to sarcastic responses to blogs and judgmental mutterings on LinkedIn.
3. Tim Hughes
This guy’s a content machine, but in the best possible way – Tim will tell you exactly what he thinks about automated social selling but will also offer up nuggets of advice on cleaning up your LinkedIn contact base (if you wouldn't know who they were if they sent you a Christmas card maybe it’s time to disconnect).
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4. John Watton
Anyone who entitles a blog post ‘Chicken cheques and airplane toilets’ is worth a mention. John Watton, senior marketing director at Adobe, does with his blog posts what so many fail to do: entertain. Plus, he won’t limit the scope of his content to B2B, but rather picks up on choice examples (and failings) from the world of B2C.
5. Jaci Burns
This lady has done what very few have managed to achieve with her LinkedIn page: aesthetic elegance. Not that we’re prioritising style over substance, you understand: Jaci's also got some razor-sharp insight on the slang words proliferating the world of content marketing (think ‘epic’, ‘killer’ and ‘hacks’) as well as LinkedIn CV deceit.
6. Scot McKee
As marketers, you know full well the importance of entertaining your audience. Scot McKee is brilliant at this – and often does it by sticking his head above the parapet and saying what we’ve all been thinking. Dry, sarcastic and amusingly acerbic, he’s what you yearn for after a particularly dull board meeting: we especially liked his neat descriptor of someone who introduced himself at a client meeting as a ‘content marketing guru’. Clue: it begins with ‘wan’ and ends with ‘ker’.
7. Zoe Sands
Yes, musings on marketing automation are often useful and yes, we like a pithy post about poor content as much as the next person – but some of our favourite influencers are unafraid to go off piste and tackle more general professional challenges. Zoe Sands is one such lady. In a recent post she argues that business cards are pretty much redundant in a social selling age – what do you reckon?
10. Margaret Molloy
This list is definitely suffering a male/female imbalance, so we wanted to close proceedings with one of the most experienced female B2B-ers out there: Margaret Molloy. And this seems fitting, because she’s also a strong proponent of female marketers and pretty vocal about how female execs can really make an impact in the workplace.
Want to find out how to get the most out of LinkedIn’s marketing features, and engage employees in the process? Our Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn will show you how, from the basics, through to creating a killer LinkedIn content schedule.