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The 40 Most Approachable Social Media A-listers on Twitter

When I was younger, I collected and traded baseball cards with my friends.  One of my found memories was riding my bike to the local sports cards and collectibles shop, buying a pack of cards and then trading the duplicates with friends.  To ensure that the trades were fair we relied on the card values provided by Beckett Sports Cards & Collectibles Magazine.  Besides providing a list of card values, the magazine included a list of athletes that were responsive to fan mail within the past month.  Back then there was nothing cooler than writing a letter to your favorite athlete and then receiving a response (I still treasure the autograph that Nolan Ryan sent me).

Maybe it is just me, but the same holds true in the world of social media – who doesn’t get excited when a social media A-lister responds to your tweet?  Since there has been a lot of talk recently about how difficult it is to truly engage with A-listers on social media (I am not talking about Lady Gaga), it got me thinking about who are the most approachable social media A-listers on Twitter.  As a result, I came up with the following list of fantastic and engaging thought leaders on Twitter.  If you are new to Twitter or have become disenchanted with social media, then following and interacting with these individuals is a MUST!

The 40 Most Approachable Social Media A-listers on Twitter

These 40 individuals have several things in common:

  1. They are all leaders in their respective fields.
  2. They regularly create and share invaluable content.
  3. They all understand the importance of making new connections and value the social media communities in which they participate.
  4. None of them would ever call themselves an A-lister (they are too humble)

NOTE: This list was compiled by considering individuals who have at least 1,000 followers, regularly maintain their accounts, are highly respected and from my own personal experience are extremely responsive.

I would love to hear your recommendations for additional individuals to follow and interact with on Twitter in the comment section below.

Comments on this Article: 59

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  1. Gosh…way to make me well up first thing in the morning!

    This is really a great kindness, Brian. I am humbled to be in this company and I really appreciate your support. I would add YOU to this list!!

    • Brian Rice says:

      Margie – you are more than welcome. You were the first person that I really connected with on Twitter “way back in the day” and I will never forget that.

  2. Brian,
    I’m honored to be listed! While I recognize most of these names, you’ve opened my eyes to a few new ones. Thank you for pulling together this resource!
    - Stephanie

    • Brian Rice says:

      Stephanie – you are welcome. I am always impressed with the perspective that you bring the world of B2B marketing.

  3. Brian:

    Thank you very much for the recognition – It makes all of the hard work worth it. . . :)

    @CPollittIU

    • Brian Rice says:

      Chad – you are welcome. Your whole team at Kuno Creative constantly develops some of the best social media content on the web, love what you guys do!

  4. Thanks Brian – very generous of you to include me!

    • Brian Rice says:

      Gavin – you are welcome. If it wasn’t for Twitter and your amazing blog, I probably wouldn’t have ever known that we work together. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I work with others that share the same passion.

  5. susanborst says:

    Excellent list! I’ve had personal experience with many of these “a-listers”, but agee they probably wouldn’t call themselves that! Their content, engagement and approachability is what sets them apart. Great social media role models.

    • Brian Rice says:

      Susan – thanks for stopping by and commenting. It was a lot of fun putting together this list and even more fun getting to know all of these brilliant folks.

  6. Wow. Honored to be on that list. Great group of folks there. Thank you, so much.

    But I am NOT an A-lister. ;-)

    • Brian Rice says:

      Jason – you are more than welcome and you are just as much NOT an A-lister as you are NOT a “social media expert”. I remember the day I saw you at the Social Media Plus Summit in Philly – I thought, who is this guy in the “I Am the Mayor of My Pants” t-shirt? Then you hit the stage and captivated us all with your knowledge and humor – from that day on, I was a follower and fan.

  7. Brian,

    I’m honored and humbled to be included on your A-List. Your fond baseball card memories woven into your list of people you admire reveals not just a list of engaging people but reflects your warmth and love of people.

    Thank you for sharing your list, but most of all your love and kindness.

    Cheryl
    @ckburgess

    • Brian Rice says:

      Cheryl – you are welcome and thanks for the kind words. You do such a fabulous job of highlighting others that I wanted to be sure to return the favor. Thanks for all that you do.

  8. Thank you so much, Brian – it’s a genuine honor to be included and to know that you feel this way! It’s also been a pleasure to work with you and to see your impressive success!

    All the very best to you!

    • Brian Rice says:

      Lisa – you are welcome and thanks for the kind words. You bring so much passion to your writing that is becomes infectious. It is always such a pleasure to connect with you.

  9. Brian,

    I’m honored to even be considered for such a list. I have been a big fan of your work and feel privileged to be included on your site and this list. When I look at the members of this list, I see a lot of people who have a strong passion for social media. Not just there to blast away and try to make themselves rich or stroke their ego. The people on this list are what I would consider to be the best thought leaders for what social media truly is. Thank you for sharing your list, I am humbled to be in this company.

    Andrew Hunt
    @inboundsales

    • Brian Rice says:

      Andrew – you are welcome and it is an honor to have you a part of this community. You summed up my thoughts exactly on how I feel about everyone on this list.

  10. Brian,

    This was a very classy post to write and list to assemble. Thanks for including me. If someone were to create a list of the most thoughtful people on Twitter, you’d be at the top.

    Your fan,
    Joe / @jchernov

  11. Hi Brian,

    Thanks very much for including me in your list! I’m honored and touched to be included. Very kind of you.

    Ardath

  12. Wow Brian, so proud to be included among such amazing colleagues.

    You and Michael certainly fit the criteria you listed. Add yourselves!

  13. Are these on a Twitter list somewhere already?

  14. Fantastic list. I already follow most of them and found no disappointments. I would also add Dabney Porte @DabneyPorte and Viveka Von Rosen @Linkedinexpert as great people that meet your criteria above.

  15. Wow, what a list. Many recognizable names and some new-to-me names as well. I would add one more – Mari Smith! =)

    Great work!
    Jill =)

  16. “I’m not sure I would want to be a member of a club that would invite me as a member” — Groucho Marx

    For some reason that quote is ringing in my mind. : )

    Not sure what constitutes an A-Lister but I do know at least half the people on this list and sincerely admire all of them. They are real people engaging in social media for the right reasons. I value that so much. And you now what? You can’t fake that. Kudos for you and your keen Spidey senses for identifying some really nice human beings. Maybe that’s a list I’m more more comfortable with. The List of Nice People : )

    As far as other suggestions, there are too many to name. I’m not the most out-going person. I enjoy one-on-one dialogue much more than crowds. But I have probably met more good friends through Twitter — my own List of Nice People — in the past two years that in the past 20 combined. I could easily add 100 more names to the roll call!

    Thanks for the effort Brian, and especially the heart that went into the list.

    • Brian Rice says:

      Mark – I love the name “List of Nice People” that actually might be more appropriate. I completely agree that this list could easily be doubled or tripled with other very worthy individuals.

  17. Jay Baer says:

    Thanks so much Brian.

    I’m perhaps more proud of being on this list than any other I’ve been on in my social media career. Humbled and honored to be considered approachable, as so much of what works in social is simply application of the Golden Rule.

    However, I’ll echo Jason Falls comment above in saying that I am not on the A list. That’s a different category of folks, only 2 of which (in my opinion) are on this list. Which makes me wonder whether the A list people don’t spend as much time interacting with others – which is how they got to be on the A list; or whether once you make the A list, you don’t feel the need to be approachable any longer?

    Which came first, the chicken or the shrug?

    • Brian Rice says:

      Jay – in my book you are an A-lister as is everyone else included but I understand where you are coming from. In answer to your question, I don’t think the handful of individuals that have become “rock stars” intentionally avoid interacting with others. I am sure at some point they receive so many @mentions that it becomes a blur.

  18. Brian

    Thank you so very much however like Jay and Jason, I so not see myself as an A-lister. I love what Jay says here that the a-listers are not here which has to tell us all something – we are doing it right. Interacting, engaging and just being social are what social media gives us.

    I do have to admit, that the opening about the baseball had me hooked. Nolan Ryan – a gem. We can look at players from the then and the players of the now with the really big salaries, endorsements. Sure, it is a different time and fans are wanting and expecting more, however we see the players who are out in their community, signing as much as they can for the fans and just simply remembering where they came from. Same here with social media. Without the people/fans/followers and constantly thanking them and including them we are just another one on the list.

    Thanks again Brian, truly honored to be on this list.

  19. I won’t over-analyze and instead just say a simple “Thank You.”

  20. Great list… thanks.

  21. Dan Evans says:

    Hi Brian,

    I appreciate the thought and time it took to compile this list. You implied this is a list of approachable notables who are not really A-listers, and some of the replies you are getting from them confirm that thought. As others have observed, there might be a few names on your list who are on the “real” A-list. There are some other folks on the A-list, like Guy Kawasaki, (and I saw a nomination for Mari Smith above) who are as approachable as many on your list. Would you consider making another list of the most approachable people in the social media major leagues?

    Dan
    @danrevans

    • Brian Rice says:

      Dan – thanks for stopping by and commenting. When I created the list, I thought about the individuals that are not only highly respected but are always responsive from my personal experiences. So while I agree that people like Guy Kawaski and Chris Brogan are the social media elite, I personally haven’t had any luck interacting with them (not to say that thousands of others might have a totally different experience and maybe it is my approach that is preventing the interactions from occurring). I certainly follow them and value their contributions. If you or anyone else would like to help create another list that focuses on the “rock stars” that are engaging, let me know – I would gladly accept the assistance.

  22. Brian, thanks so much for the inclusion. A nice little vacation gift for me. And you know I resist any signs of social media rock stardom!

    Have a great one!

  23. Brian – thanks, quite humbling indeed. Lot of folks on this list I admire, follow, and more importantly, had a chance to interact. There’s even several, that I’ve gotten to know through Twitter initially and later had calls or traded emails…I consider them bona fide friends. Social media has taken the best part of the Web and made it easier: the chance to meet people you might not have met otherwise. It may be cliche to say it, but that’s awesome.

    Cheers,
    Frank

  24. Oh shoot…I’m not approachable ;-)
    Great list and I can agree with many based on personal experience

  25. Wow, thanks Brian. I definitely would never consider myself an A-lister, but thanks for including me nonetheless. All I try to do is create great content, be responsive, and as helpful as possible to as many as I can.

  26. Worob says:

    Great list. If you do one for B or C-listers I hope you can consider me for it!

    @Worob
    PR at Sunrise

  27. Hey there mate,

    Glad to see you have the disclaimer “not called A-list”, hehe – it’s definitely not one of my favourite phrases, just because it’s so subjective (I see poor parents missing out on things they need just to get their kids clothes for school as true A-listers, for example).

    But that’s not to say I don’t appreciate the kind words and compliment of being alongside some folks I really admire, so thank you – sincerely – for that.

    I’d love to add folks like Gini Dietrich, Geoff Livingston and Shelly Kramer (to name just a few) to this. They’re some of the smartest leaders around, yet approachable as hell. And you can’t argue with that. ;-)

  28. Tom Pick says:

    Brian -

    Thanks so much for somehow slipping up and including me along with this outstanding list of marketing and social media leaders. It’s a true honor.

    Also, I’m pretty sure it’s the first time that Danny Brown and I have had our names appear in a post along with Nolan Ryan and Lady Gaga, but Danny can correct me on that if I’m wrong. :-)

    Cheers!

    Tom

  29. @AmyAfrica is clearly missing on this list

  30. @Tom – haha, you’re not wrong there, sir! :)

  31. hi thank you for this, do youhave it as a list version so that I can add the list to follow all users?

  32. Kyle Lacy says:

    WOW! Thank you so much for putting me on the list! I really appreciate it.

  33. Brian, many of the people you’ve chosen are my social media heroes. So I was delighted (and stunned) to see my name among them.

    I’m creating a Twitter list of all of these people and will have more great content to share.

    Thanks for the mention.

  34. Thanks so much for the post Brian, if there’s anything I’d like to be noted for it’s being approachable. Many of the people on your list are people I trust and listen to and I’m honored to be in their company. And you’re right, I’d never wanna call myself an a-lister…ick.

  35. Hello Brian,

    I agree with your list. Having had the opportunity to engage with many of these terrific people I know they are not only approachable but also very willing to support.

    I’ve also met a few of them in person at BlogWorld 2010 and they’re also approachable in real life. It’s one thing to engage at arm’s length but is that a persona? It was so nice to see that they were their same great selves in person as they were online.

    Many of them are people I look to for best practices and how to model my engagement not only online but also as it translates to meeting followers in person.

    Sara

  36. Deepak says:

    Brian,

    Thanks for the mention!

  37. From another compulsive list maker… love it Brian! What about @briansrice?

  38. Extremely interesting list, and it’s awesome that you’ve taken the time to build this list. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any of them, I’ve started going thru quite a few of their blogs and tweets, and I’m loving it.

    Thanks once again

  39. Sima Dahl says:

    So nice to be recognized for being nice – I’m very humbled and grateful to be on this list with so many terrific tweeps!

  40. @DannyBrown is awesome, glad I finally got to meet him in person this year at BlogWorld East! Great List!

    @Tracy_Iglesias

  41. Nic Wirtz says:

    Nice list, I know and follow most.

    But they’re mainly American and all speak English.

    The fundamental A-list problem.

  42. Great list, thanks. Do you have it saved as a list on a Twitter account so easy to grab and not re-create? Looked on B2Community but not saved there.
    @Wiscbuilders

  43. Very useful list. Thanks for sharing!

  44. wow, how in the world did i miss this? Thank you to Liz for tweeting this! thank you Brian! Super humbled to be on this list!

  45. Kyle Lacy says:

    I can’t believe I missed this! What an honor! Thank you.

  46. Brian, thanks so much for including me and for letting me know about the others. Ultimately there is no A list, just A-Z in constant flux. So great to meet everyone and together we can make a difference. Simon

  47. Nader Mah says:

    The most important part was: “they are leaders in their field”. It’s really hard to teach clients that they have to be an expert in their field and promote themself. At least in one social media.

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