7 Key business influencers to follow

Many years ago grandma told me that because I had one mouth and two ears I should spend twice as much time listening as speaking. How wise she was.  Grandmas often are, if only we are prepared to believe it at the time.

But now we need to tweak Grandma’s advice a little for a social media context; what it should say is that we have two eyes and one mouth, so we should spend twice as much time reading as speaking.   That’s because there’s a lot of stuff out there, as numerous as grains of sand on a beach, getting in your toes and your sandwiches – whilst you’re busy with something else. Naturally, you can’t read them all, and nor would you want to, given some of the vile, vindictive and ego-centric things being said all but anonymously.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t grains of gold amongst the sand, because there are. The secret of success is finding them and putting them to good use. And that starts with reading more than you post. (Thanks for the advice, Grandma). We do that here at Solo Expenses, trying to learn from the business wisdom of people Like Zig Ziglar and Guy Kawasaki, and you probably do too.

But we’d like to take the advice of Walmart founder Sam Walton, who said: “ If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction.” Good idea. Thanks Sam. That’s why we’re going to suggest that our readers might like to look beyond the obvious for people saying stuff that’s worth listening to on social media, and offer some sources you might not have come across.

Bear in mind that the list of most influential people will change depending on what industry you’re in, so we’ve been at pains to pick ‘general interest’ people – and they have something to say to all of us, long-established in business or at the start-up stage. You can find people best suited to what you’re doing using tools like traackr.com, which will let you produce a bespoke list based on real numbers rather than a ‘finger-in-the-air’ assessment.

Seven influencers we think are worth seeking out on social media
1. Entrepreneur (Twitter: @entrepreneur Facebook: Entrepreneur) Orange County, Calif. Gathered wisdom from lots of sources, including people you might be following already, like Richard Branson, but there’s a lot of good advice and articles there too.

2. Ted Talks (Twitter: @TEDTalks Facebook: TED) A collection of presentations made by all sorts of people. Think of a topic, and there’s no doubt a TEDTalk for it… More than 61m Twitter followers can’t be wrong.

3. Sarah Brown (Twitter: @SarahBrownUK) UK. Much more that the wife of a former Prime Minister, Sarah Brown is a fierce campaigner for education round the world, particularly for girls.

4. Stig T. Broderson (Twitter: @stig_broderson) Aarhus, Denmark. Studies billionaires and other influential figures to write about their success. More influential quotes than articles, but have a look at his web site too; more depth there.

5. Evan Carmichael (Twitter @EvanCarmichael) Toronto. Constantly-updated content collated from others looking at topics as diverse as things a new manager ought to do on their first day, strategic use of powerful words, and how to organise corporate events.

6. Social Media Delivered (Twitter: @SocialMediaDel Facebook: Social Media Delivered) Dallas, Austin and Paris, France. Keeping a weather eye out for the changing dynamics of social media, both here and with its CEO Eve Mayer (@LinkedInQueen). Offers advice about changes you didn’t know were changing.

7. Steve Farnsworth (Twitter: @steveology) Silicon Valley. Great posts on Twitter feed and web alike, covering topics like how to be a leader at any stage of your career,  how to make YouTube videos more interactive, and webinars about how to make sales people more effective.