Top Social Media Strategists 2012

Top Social Media Strategists to Watch in 2012


As 2011 comes to a close, it is time once again for our annual list of Social Media Strategists to Watch in 2012. We’re excited to learn from these thought leaders in 2012 as social media continues to grow and change.

Obviously, a list like this can only scratch the surrface, so let us know the top strategists on your list for 2012!


Diane Hessan (@CommunispaceCEO)
Diane Hessan is the President and CEO of Communispace, a company she helped to found in 1999. Based in Boston, Communispace is one of the fastest growing social networking companies in the country.  This year, Diane was named a Boston Business Journal/Mass High Tech 2011 Innovation All Star and Communispace was named one of the Top 100 Women Led Businesses in Massachusetts.  Impressive stuff, and just a few of the reasons we’ll be following Diane in the new year.


John Pepper (@bolocoCEO)
As Founder and CEO of Boloco, a delicious chain of eateries in the Boston area known for their “inspired burritos,”John has helped his company become the archetype for successful social communication with customers.  Boloco is known for their light-hearted yet all-in approach to social media, using Twitter as a touch point for information, customer service, and promotions.


Mike Schneider (@schneidermike)
Mike Schneider is a digital strategic technology consultant. SchneiderMike (as he is known online) wrote the book on Location-Based Services, literally, partnering with Aaron Strout to create Location-Based Marketing for Dummies. He is a great resource for the newest social networks, as well as for great beers.


Jason Keath (@jasonkeath)
Jason Keath is the Founder and CEO of Social Fresh – a company that runs national conferences, social media training, and a blog on the business of social media. On his own, he is a social media speaker and consultant who is on the forefront of emerging trends and services.


Liz Heron (@lheron)
Liz Herson is the Social Media Editor at the New York Times, and formerly was the Web Editor of the Washington Post’s Foreign Desk. As an integral part of the New York Times push into social media, Liz is privy to a large amount of breaking news in the social and Web space and definitely worth following in 2012.


Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans)
Sarah Evans is the owner of Sevans Strategy, a public relations and new media consultancy. Sarah created and moderates #Journchat, the first-ever weekly live tweetchat for public relations professionals, journalists, and bloggers. She runs her own blog at


Dave Kerpen (@DaveKerpen)
Dave Kerpen is the cofounder and CEO of Likeable Media, an award-winning social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm. He is also the author of a New York Times Best Seller – Likeable Book. He has worked in the social media space for longer than most, and has a wealth of knowledge in the space.


Seth Simonds (@sethsimonds)
Seth Simonds has done social media strategy and execution for brands like Google, Timberland, JetBlue, Zappos, and many more. With experience with such high caliber clients, he has great insight into what it takes to make brands Web presence grow and succeed.


Beth Kanter (@kanter)
Beth Kanter is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits. Beth has made herself the resource for non-profits in the social media world – and a must follow for any such organizations.


David Armano (@armano)
David Armano is Executive Vice President, Global Innovation & Integration for Edelman Digital, and has been working in the digital space since 1997. As a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and by running his own blog he is a leader in the digital and social space.


Evan Bailyn (@ineffable111)
Evan Bailyn is an internet entrepreneur and bestselling author who fully understands the importance of integrating search engine optimization and social media. His first book, Outsmarting Google, was released in 2011 and became a best-seller. 2012 should be another exciting year for Bailyn as the book’s sequel, Outsmarting Social Media, will be released.


Michael Stelzner (@Mike_Stelzner)
Michael Stelzner is the CEO and founder of , the social media news website that grew to 80,000 subscribers in less than 18 months. He’s also the founder of the Social Media Success Summit, the largest online social media conference. In 2011, Stelzner published Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition. He’s currently running a contest to help one small business owner’s dream come true in 2012.


Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver)
Jeff Pulver is the founder of Vonage and producer of #140conf, social media gatherings hosted all around the world. He places an emphasis on the fact that social media is not about the technology, but about people and the human experience. In 2010, Pulver also launched #BrandsConf, an international event devoted to exploring the challenges brands face in the age of social media engagement.


Aaron Cohen (@eatboston)
Aaron Cohen is the creator of the EatBoston Twitter account and the website, providing up-to-the-minute food reviews and restaurant news. Has produced many successful food events, raising money for local charities. He also launched “Eat” communities in Providence, Los Angeles, Maine, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.


Lisa Barone (@LisaBarone)
We chose Lisa Barone as a 2012 Strategist to Watch because she shares a common passion – building and promoting strong brands.  She also liveblogs at events like PubCon, Search Engine Strategies, and Search Marketing Expo, keeping those of us who were unable to attend in the loop about the exciting trends in search and awesome speakers.


Wayne Sutton (@socialwayne)
Wayne Sutton is and Entrepreneur, Advisor & Tech Journalist. His insights into social media behavior have earned attention from, BBC, and Mashable and his blog,, has been ranked one of the 50 best technology and social media blogs in the world by Evan Carmichael and Simply Zesty.  With his entrepreneurial spirit, it’s hard to tell where we might see Wayne in 2012, but you can be sure we’ll be following him to find out.


Amber Naslund (@ambercadabra)
After serving as VP of Social Strategy at Radian6, Amber co-founded Hidden Startup, a social business consultancy.  Her blog,, and book, The NOW Revolution, are great resources for anyone who uses social media for business.


Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs)
Ann Handley fuels marketing academia as the Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, a position she’s held for a decade. Her book, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, was published in 2010. When she’s not creating content or building community for the educators of the next generation of marketers, Ann also writes for the following sites: the Daily Fix, Huffington Post, AMEX Open Forum, and Mashable.


George G. Smith Jr. (@GeorgeGSmithJr)
George G. Smith Jr.serves as the senior manager of social strategy and execution at PepsiCo, where he develops strategy for the global beverage portfolio. George has been an influential voice in social media since 2006, when he helped pioneer social strategy at Crocs. He has spoken at South by Southwest, Izeafest, Blog World Expo and several professional conferences about social media.


Anthony Rotolo (@rotolo)
Anthony Rotolo, an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, teaches Social Media in the Enterprise, commonly referred to as #rotoloclass. Thanks to Twitter, experts and practitioners don’t have to visit Central New York to impart wisdom upon Prof. Rotolo’s students, as the hashtag has a devout following from both on and off campus. During Rotolo’s time as Syracuse’s first-ever social media strategist, the university was ranked Klout’s second-most influential college on Twitter.


Adam Gaffin (@universalhub)
Adam Gaffin is the hyper-local journalism wizard behind Universal Hub, a site he founded in 2005 to bring Boston-area news to citizens through a collective online effort. He also coordinates the Boston Blog Network, which helps other local bloggers connect with online advertisers, and consults small, local media and news outlets.


Mike Volpe (@mvolpe)
Mike Volpe is the CMO of HubSpot, which he joined as one of the first five employees and has helped guide to guide the company to its current position as a top software company. He holds an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In addition to frequently speaking about all facets of marketing at conferences around the world, Mike advises several start-ups like Visible Gains, Perk Street, Comparz, GrabCAD, and Aprigo.


Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin)
Amelie Benjamin is the sports feature writer for the Boston Globe. In addition to her Globe columns, Benjamin also makes regular appearances on New England Sports Network’s (NECN) Red Sox pre-game show.  She has an active Twitter following and in 2011 was nominated for a Shorty Award.


Peter Kim (@peterkim)
Chief Strategy Officer and first employee of the world’s largest, social business advisory firm,  the Dachis Group, Peter is responsible for the firm’s though leaderships initiatives.  He also blogs at


Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan)
Chris Brogan is a household name in the social media world.  As co-author of Trust Agents, he has become a the go-to guy for AMEX OPEN Forum, Entrpreneur Magazine, and Success Magazine.  He writes his own blog ( that provides social media how-to’s along with general life lessons.


Beth Andrix Monaghan (@Bamonaghan)
Beth Andrix Monaghan is the principal and co-founder of InkHouse, a boutique media and marketing agency.  She places an emphasis on relationships and fully embraces the idea that media and bloggers are just as important as clients. The Boston-based PR pro is also a contributing blogger for Business Insider.


Brian Solis (@briansolis)
Brian is one of the most well-known leaders in the social media industry. He has published numerous books on new media including Engage – a book about branding and how to adapt to the social world.


Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella)
Dan Zarella is our go-to when it comes to social media and inbound marketing statistics and trends – in fact, he’s on our list for the third straight year. Dan is a self-proclaimed social media “scientist” who has written extensively about the science of viral marketing, memetics, and social communications.  When he’s not at his day job, working as Inbound Marketing Manager at Hubspot, you can find him on his blog or guest-blogging at Mashable, CopyBlogger, ReadWriteWeb, Plagiarism Today, ProBlogger, Social Desire, CenterNetworks, Nowsourcing, and SEOScoop.


Jason Falls (@JasonFalls)
Jason runs Social Media Explorer– a go-to site for anyone in the social/digital marketing space and social media training/consulting provider.  Jason co-authored “No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing,” published in September, described as “The In-Your-Face, Results-Focused, No-“Kumbaya” Guide to Social Media for Business.”  His matter-of-fact and often comical commentary on social media marketing will continue to have our attention in 2012.


Scott Monty (@ScottMonty)
Scott Monty leads social media at Ford, a company and though he currently resides in the Motor City, he has strong ties to Boston – he earned both his BA, MA, and MBA at Boston University.   Scott has positioned himself as a thought leader in the social media space, offering his perspectives on the implications of social media on business and the convergence of marketing, advertising and PR on the Web.

451 Marketing

From the team at 451 Marketing @451Marketing!

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