The days of questioning whether Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms are legitimate marketing tools are way behind us.
Those “in the know” are using social media to share their ideas, businesses, and day-to-day lives. Some of them are making millions from posting pictures online and uploading vlogs to YouTube, and others are using social media as a major strategy to scaling venture-backed startups.
The following social media influencers are all contributors to a new book called 3 Billion Under 30, brought together by 21-year-old Jared Kleinert, a TED speaker and “go to” marketing consultant for #1 NYT bestselling authors, Fortune 500 companies, and even the United Nations. Who are they, and why should you be following them? Here’s your answer.
1. Jake Paul (@jakepaul)
Jake Paul just turned 20, and yet he has over 17 million social media followers. His videos, which originally were posted on Vine and now span over Instagram, YouTube, Musically, and other platforms, have gained over 4 billion views combined, and Jake has been able to turn his social media stardom into other ventures.
He’s now the founder of TeamDom, which includes investors like Gary Vaynerchuk and Shots Studios (who’s in turn backed by Justin Bieber, Pete Cashmore, and other media titans). He’s also become a successful actor. Companies ranging from Coca Cola, Beats, Universal, and others look to Jake and his “crew” to market their products to millennials and Gen Z’ers.
2. Shonduras (@shonduras)
Shaun McBride, or “Shonduras,” may very well have been the first to partner with a corporation for a sponsored Snapchat story. Disney saw the potential for influencer marketing via Snapchat and decided to work with Shonduras to showcase their parks.
Shonduras has quickly become one of the top social media influencers on the web, most notably via Snapchat. He’s been able to leverage his following to earn revenue for his company in a variety of ways, from keynote speaking to selling merchandise, branded content, and more. Now he’s looking into different ways to push digital content creation to its limits, and have the “Best Day Ever” during all hours in his climb.
3. Neil Patel (@neilpatel on Twitter, fb.com/neilkpatel on Facebook)
Neil Patel is the cofounder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and various other companies. He is also an investor, a writer with a New York Times bestselling book and multiple online columns, and an influential marketing mind for companies ranging from Amazon and NBC to GM, HP, and Viacom.
Neil has been a prolific marketer since his teens, when he was using SEO to help companies earn eight figures in additional revenues annually. Over the years, he’s mastered content marketing, paid traffic, social media marketing, and more to make millions of dollars and share highly valuable products he’s created for the tech and business communities. On his blog you’ll find extensive guides to almost any marketing-related question or process. It’s worth many reads.
4. Virginia Salas Kastilio (@ginicanbreathe)
Brands like BBC, NASDAQ, SoulPancake, and others have a secret weapon in Virginia Salas Kastilio and her consulting firm, which comprises of the top Snapchat influencers all across the world. A “third culture kid” who went to over a dozen different schools and managed over a billion dollars at Apple and Orace without a degree, Virginia decided to start from scratch and build an online following.
What resulted is not only her own personal brand and following, but marketing knowledge that other companies, individuals, and organizations have found highly valuable ever since. She’s been sharing her ideas through an online “school” called Snap and Stream. Tune in to hear how she predicts the marketing world will trend in 2017 and beyond.
5. Furious Pete (@furiouspete)
This survivor of anorexia and cancer has built an army of over 5 million YouTube subscribers who watch his daily vlogs, competitive eating challenges, training sessions as a sponsored bodybuilder, and candid thoughts on coping with life’s challenging moments.
Furious Pete works nonstop and leverages his influence on social media to market television shows he hosts in Germany, his own line of apparel and supplements, various brands that sponsor him to eat and train, workout routines and programs, and more. If you can see past his Guinness World Record attempts and heavy lifting videos, you’ll see a marketing machine at work even when he (rarely) sleeps.
6. CyreneQ (@cyreneq)
Cyrene’s business is a mix of that from Shonduras and Virginia Salas Kastilio mentioned above. In her own right, she’s an influencer commanding tens of thousands of dollars per campaign to promote companies like Walmart, Samsung, The Voice, MTV, Lionsgate, and a flurry of other companies. Her unique Snapchat art is family-friendly and fun, making her one of the most liked and relatable “influencers” on social media.
Cyrene also curates a community around Snapchat through her site The11thSecond, which is also the basis for a book she’s releasing in February. She not only shares the Snapchat names for different people you should be following on her site, but she herself is someone you should follow to learn more about leveraging the platform for your marketing needs.
7. Kristina Bazan (@kristinabazan)
Kristina is many things, including the founder of Kayture, a fashion blog and small team of talented individuals who work with Kristina to deliver exposure and creative help to brands like Dior, Guess, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and many others. She has over 2.4 million followers on Instagram alone, and millions of monthly readers at Kayture.
She became one of the first social media influencers and fashion bloggers to work with these high-end brands, and in 2015 she signed a seven-figure deal to be a L’Oreal Paris spokeswoman. Her creative works should be studied not only as art, but as a case study in turning social media into a platform to pursue other business interests.
8. Coco and Breezy (@cocoandbreezy)
Coco and Breezy are twins living in New York City who’ve developed a line of designer sunglasses under their names. Within weeks of moving to the city and starting their new business, their glasses were on all the big celebrities like Ashanti, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Prince, and others.
Not only do they have a successful business through their designs, but they’ve also began DJ’ing and making a name for themselves in commercials for Diddy, or partnerships with Hershey’s, Jolly Ranchers, Adidas, Transitions, and other companies who want to tap into their “lifestyle” brand and leverage their online and offline creativity.
9. Caroline Ghosn (@carolineghosn)
Caroline Ghosn herself is not a social media “influencer,” but she is the founder and CEO of Levo, which is the top online destination for career advice pertaining to millennials. Her company is backed by the likes of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and the Mightybell CEO Gina Bianchini, and uses social media to advance their readership and value to consumers.
The result is a network for millennials to use in navigating their careers and succeeding in the workplace. Levo is masterful at content marketing, and at leveraging their online presence to secure interviews and collaborations with the likes of Warren Buffett, Soledad O’Brien, Kevin Spacey, and others.
BONUS: Matthew Toren (@matthewtoren)
While Matthew is not profiled in Jared Kleinert’s new book 3 Billion Under 30, I had to include my amazing business partner, best friend and brother as a bonus component to this list. Matthew has been able to leverage his online following to accelerate the growth of our companies and help us inspire, motivate and educate other entrepreneurs through our content and free small business forum.
With these social media influencers as examples, we challenge you to revisit how you are using social media to market yourself and/or your company. Are you investing time into new platforms and attempting to become the “first mover,” or are you still unconvinced that these tools can help you reach more customers and help more people? If you like this article, please share it and tell us how you plan to better market yourself through social media.
Adam Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Matthew, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made E...