Seeking influence? Meet @ChrisStrub ’s 75 rising ‘micro-micro influencers’
Last week at the PR News ‘Big Four’ conference in San Francisco, where I spoke about ‘How to Develop a Snapchat Presence,’ another panel focused on how to best work with influencers.
The discussion naturally pivoted from macro-influencers (like the Kardashians, etc.) to ‘micro-influencers,’ — those with followings, say, in the tens of thousands.
But as Joe Wilson would say, ‘We are all famous to a few people.’
I don’t know about you, but when I meet people in real life, I’m much more interested in the content of their character than the number of zeros in their Instagram following. Getting to know people for who they are and what they stand for has been a pretty fun approach to this whole social media thing.
Meeting great people around the country, regardless of their social media followings, has been a blessing to me. And so when the topic of ‘How to identify micro-influencers’ came up last week, I knew I wanted to help.
But. My guess is many of these folks don’t have a social media following ‘in the tens of thousands.’ (Some do!) And while I can’t speak for their audiences, I CAN speak for their character.
Without further ado, and in no particular order — here’s my list of 100 (edit, six hours later: 75, this was a lot of writing) ‘micro-micro-influencers’ — people who, if you’re looking to have genuine content created about your brand, I can personally recommend to you. Want to meet them? Send them a Tweet — I’ve linked all their Twitter handles — and say Chris Strub sent you. Boom, you’re in.
This list is exclusive to people who I’ve met in real life — turned a handshake into a hug, if you will, and probably took at least one selfie. These are real people with real passion, and I can speak to their influence because they have each, in their own ways, influenced me.
Notably, this list is NOT exhaustive! Please don’t be offended if you are not on this list.
- Matt B. Davis, host of TheAtlantaPodcast.com and contributor to ObstacleRacingMedia.com, proud father of three and hilarious Snapchat/Instagram storyteller. Based in Atlanta, met him there after the Social Shake-Up 2017.
- Lindsey Margolis, also known as Piiinky. Super passionate Snapchatter, talented artist, co-founder of Ten Second TV, friend to many. Based in Bucks County, Pa., and I met her there.
- Anh Nguyen, social media marketer, host of #MobileChat, passionate nonprofit supporter, craft beer lover, dang cool gal. Based in Houston, met her there at Social Media Day Houston.
- Nick Rishwain, co-founder at LegalTech.Live, VP of Client Relations/Development at Experts.com, and one of the funniest Snapchat storytellers on the planet. Nick has a huge heart. Based in Stockton, Cali.; met him at Summit Live 2016.
- Stacey DePolo, Social Brand Advocacy Manager for GoDaddy, co-host of #AdvoChat, impassioned activist and believer in sustainability. Based in San Francisco, where I met her last week.
6. Ross Brand, host of LiveStreamStars.com, founder of LivestreamUniverse.com, host of the official pre- and post-show events at Mario Armstrong’s Never Settle Show, and Klout’s №1 expert on livestreaming. One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He’s based in New Jersey; I’ve hung with him several times at the NSS, in addition to several online interviews.
7. David ‘Action’ Jacksonn, Live.me brand ambassador, YouTube comedian, social media sensation, creator of the ‘Litty City Committee’ and a simply hilarious, down-to-earth, nice guy. Based in Los Angeles; I met him at VidCon 2017 in Anaheim.
8. Tiffany Lanier, speaker, facilitator, coach, big-picture thinker and all-around incredibly sweet young woman. Based in Palm Beach, Fla.; I met her at the Business Vlog Summit in Las Vegas.
9. Todd Bergin, better known as Todd.Live — technology expert, host of several long-running live-streaming shows and podcasts, but first and foremost a family man. Based in Irvine, Calif.; met him IRL at VidCon.
10. Jacki Jing, news personality, fashion/beauty/fitness/lifestyle aficionado and former Division-1 volleyball star. Based in New Orleans; we lived on the same floor together at Binghamton University over a decade ago.
11. Marisa Lather, better known as Marketer Marisa, digital content strategist, fashion/travel lover, #CMWorld speaker and one of the nicest people ever. Based in St. Louis, where I met her at #MDMC17.
12. Joel Comm, world-renowned author, keynote speaker, live video pioneer, Internet trailblazer and unbelievably down-to-earth guy. Based in Denver; have met him in San Fran and Anaheim.
13. Josh Greenbaum, videographer, content creator, YouTuber and live-streamer, founder of #JGNation; endlessly genuine and friendly. Based in New Jersey; met him at Summit Live in San Francisco.
15. Shy Mukerjee, co-executive producer and social media correspondent on the Never Settle Show, board member of Baltimore’s Annex Theater, with a creative, big-picture mind unlike any other I’ve seen. Heckuva guy. Based in Baltimore, met him at the NSS in Manhattan.
16. Kristy Gillentine, VP of Public Engagement for DriveWest Communications, host of #ChatSnap, extremely talented Snapchat storyteller and one of the nicest people on Earth (no, really). Based in Houston; have met her a few times, first in Baton Rouge.
17. Alyssa July Smith, Cheddar news anchor, television host, Instagram storyteller. Based in New York (for now), met her on set at Cheddar in NYC.
18. Caleb Maddix, 15-year-old keynote speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, author of seven books, CEO, leader of Summa Success, and legitimately amazing young man. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but he’s always on the go — met him in San Francisco.
19. Rocky Nash, livestream virtual reality travel host, technology expert, Las Vegas pro and all-around sweet person. Based currently in Los Angeles; met her in San Francisco.
20. Steve Sasman, founder of the Million Dollar Tesla Trip, proprietor of BuyingVacationRentals.com, outdoors enthusiast and great, great guy. Based in Phoenix; met him during the #TeamStrub journey in Pittsburgh.
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21. Chelsea Peitz, a camera-first, hyper-relatable real-estate social media consultant and super-creative Snapchat storyteller. Based in Phoenix, where I met her at the first SnapThis! meetup.
22. Cara Schiavo, aka Cara Mia, social media recruiter at Philadelphia Insurance Companies, co-host of #WiningHourChat, dog lover, USMC Veteran wife and hilariously sweet young woman. Based in Philadelphia, where I met her this spring.
23. Isaac Irvine, social and community manager at GoDaddy, personal branding expert, employee advocacy guru, podcast host, Star Wars super-fan, Father of the Century and just so, so, so friendly. Seriously, such a good dude. Based in Phoenix; met him in St. Louis.
24. Rebecca Councill, co-founder of the Social Media Association of Houston, website and social media coordinator at Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit, Chief Social Officer at CLR Digital Media Services, good-natured germophobe and delightfully wonderful person. Based in Houston, where I met her at her event, Social Media Day Houston.
25. Kim Gaskill, founder/CEO at Ecotek Consultants, owner of kimgaskill.com, devoted road-tripper, and ultra-friendly digital nomad. Her Facebook page says she’s based in Hawaii, but in all honesty, Kim is bound to show up almost anywhere at any time — I met her in Manhattan, after she’d driven about 36 hours straight from Middle America. (I’ve never met anyone like Kim, and I’m not sure I ever will again!)
26. Karen Freberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Louisville, founder of the social media professors community Facebook group, member of numerous higher-ed committees and boards and one of the nicest people on Earth. Based in Louisville, where I met her while living there last year.
27. Madalyn Sklar, Houston’s №1 social media influencer, host of #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat and podcast, host of #SocialROI, writer for Marketo, founder of GoGirlsMusic.com, dog lover and great friend. Based in Houston, where I met her after Social Media Day Houston.
28. Blake Croft, speaker/business coach, founder of BlakesBibles.com, strikingly talented Snapchat/video storyteller, soon-to-be first-time father (hooray!), co-host of the #StrubAndBlakeShow and a devout community builder. Based in Etowah, Tenn.; met him in Knoxville.
29. Ted Rubin, leading social media strategist, keynote speaker, event host, renowned author, the most followed CMO on Twitter, and most importantly, proud Dad. Based currently in Pompano Beach, Fla.; met him when he lived up the road from me in Huntington, N.Y.
30. Bonnie Frank, speaker, business/marketing coach, social media strategist, live-streaming whiz and proud Mom. Based in St. Louis, where I met her at#MDMC17.
31. Evie Yannakidis, social media co-host for the Never Settle Show, live-streaming pro, YouNow-er of the Year nominee 2016, genuinely sweet and down-to-earth gal. Based in NYC, where I met her at the Never Settle Show.
32. Peter McDonald, co-founder of SnapThis! Media, creator of the daily #MajorKeyQuote on Snapchat, dedicated social storyteller and a tremendously supportive young man. Based in Phoenix, where I met him.
33. Sandra Centorino, self-described Positive Disruptor, creator of the #SayItForward and #SnapitForward movements, founder of SayItInternational.com and supremely energetic, impassioned storyteller. Based in Connecticut; met her at the Never Settle Show in NYC.
34. John Kapos, best known — of course — as Chocolate Johnny, the owner of Perfection Chocolates and Sweets in Sydney, Australia, a retail wholesale manufacture coach, Periscope legend and a strikingly humble bloke. Based in Sydney, met him at Summit Live 2016 in San Francisco.
35. Vernon Ross, solopreneur at Ross Public Relations, author of ‘Master Your Message,’ Social Strategy podcast host, creator of #BowTieThursday and a smooth, supportive gentleman. Based in St. Louis, where I met him at #MDMC17.
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36. Lewis Bertolucci, digital leader and former social media boss at Humana, founder/CEO at SellyHoo, excitable husband and father-to-be, one-time half marathoner, devoted Cubs fan and brilliant young mind. Based in Chicago, met him in Louisville through Humana.
37. Chad T. Krohn, better known as Meowchickenfish, creative storyteller and teacher of American Sign Language on Snapchat (!), and one of the hardest-working men in social media. Based in Rochester, N.Y.; he drove to Binghamton last spring to meet me at the Binghamton Bridge Run.
38. Evan Sloan, host of live-streaming talk show ‘The Reel Deal’ on Live.me, actor, Seth Rogan look-a-like, mediocre break-dancer and all-around really, really nice guy. Based in Los Angeles; met him at VidCon.
39. Tiffy Diamond, actress, producer of Live.Art.Love, *incredibly* funny and down-to-earth storyteller, Snapchat expert, Meerkat legend, breakfast-for-dinner fan and very good friend. Based in Los Angeles, where I met her once.
40. Tom Harness, owner of Harness Digital Marketing, Army vet, co-host of the CraftBeericans podcast and the 25th Hour Radio Show, bigtime Cubs fan, bombastic suit aficionado (w/tag team partner Kevin Hunsperger) and perhaps the biggest fan ever of my book. Based in Carterville, Ill.; we met at #MDMC17.
41. Erica Blair, an accomplished brand strategist, coach/consultant and wanderlust-stricken digital nomad, a Forbes ‘Top 17 Business Guru on Snapchat,’ and a super-fun person to follow on social media. Based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I was blessed to meet her in NYC.
42. Keith Stineman, better known as PopCulture27, a live-streaming pop culture trivia host, self-proclaimed GIF king, location tours expert, former Meerkat legend and really good guy. Based in Boston; met him there during the #TeamStrub adventure in 2015.
43. Kristyna Torres-Cruz, better known as PR_Kristyna, CEO with an engagement marketing obsession, social media speaker and talented storyteller, @NASASocial media team and huge nonprofit advocate. Based in Houston; met her there.
44. Mark Kaye, perhaps the most social media-savvy radio host in America, former host of ‘Talkin’ Snap!’ (which largely inspired my personal Snapchat style), phenomenally talented Snapchat/Instagram creator and young beyond his years. Based in Jacksonville; met him there.
45. Dana Simone, a full-time Mom, experienced live-event host, author, philanthropist and the self-described #FemaleMasterpiece. Based in Chicago; met her at the Business Vlog Summit in Las Vegas.
46. Ruben Arana, a passionate educator, prophetic painter, author of WorshipWordArt, a self-described renaissance man, Mr. ‘Teach All I Know’ and honestly one of the coolest, most down-to-earth gentlemen I’ve ever encountered. Based in Florida; met him in Las Vegas.
47. Kelly Wonderlin, a tech YouTuber, author, influencer, model, speaker, detail-oriented teacher and proud Mom. Based in Austin, Texas; met her in Las Vegas.
48. Natalie Diver, Instagram superstar, entrepreneur, traveler, creator, barre enthusiast, newlywed and CEO of BossBabe. Based in San Francisco; met her in Las Vegas.
49. Melissa Reyes, host of Inspiring Adventures and Last Night’s Show with Miz Meliz, co-owner of Bubblr Media, published author and tremendously sweet live-streaming superstar. Based in Los Angeles; met her at VidCon.
50. Sara McDowell, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia, creator of TheMediaSquirrel, impassioned advocate for West Virginia, and my co-host for the 2017 BBBSA National Conference in San Diego. Based in Charleston, W.V., where I met her during the #TeamStrub journey.
51. John Andrews, aka Katadhin, the CEO and co-founder of Prevailing Path, Fractional CMO at GoodXChange, former CMO/marketing manager at about 15 other brands, Mary Catherine’s Dad and Ted Rubin’s best friend. Based in Raleigh, N.C.; met him during his own cross-country trip last fall in Louisville.
52. Sammie Firth, the foul-mouthed, newly pink-haired poster child and ‘Star’ award winner for live-streaming app Live.me, with a personality and charm the size of her native Australia. Based in Los Angeles for now; met her at VidCon.
53. Mario Armstrong, host of the Never Settle Show, TODAY Show contributor, motivator, entrepreneur, sneakerhead, late-night Periscope DJ and the smoothest cat you’ll ever meet. Based in Baltimore; met him in NYC.
54. Sarah Moore, the quick-witted, charming CEO of Eleven Lights Media, supremely talented videographer, creative Snapchatter, hustler and straight-talker. Based in Brisbane (edit: not Melbourne, sorry Sarah, Aussie Aussie Aussie!), Australia; met her at Summit Live San Francisco.
55. Sara Moore, or ‘American Sara Moore,’ as I met both her and the aforementioned Ms. Moore together in San Francisco; courageous, outspoken, tremendously goal-driven, big-dreaming and passionate CEO of SEA Media, and founder of #SMDDayton, where I’ll be speaking in September. Based in Centerville, Ohio.
56. Roberto Blake, the humble messianic mastermind of YouTube, the brightest, most thoughtful man in the industry, the most dedicated creator I’ve ever met. How’s that for high praise? Based in Los Angeles; met him (briefly — too briefly) at VidCon.
57. Greg Walker, better known as The Big Dreamer, one of most impassioned and motivated speakers on Earth with a heart to match his booming, enveloping voice. Based in Columbus, Ohio; met him at Summit Live 2016.
58. Jenn Nelson, entrepreneur and Army veteran, producer of #LetsLivestream and Vitmug, lifestyle livestreamer, host of Wine Antics and an extraordinarily nice person. Based in Virginia; met her at the Never Settle Show in NYC.
59. Holly Dagger, on-air personality at Cumulus Media, promotions director at Citadel Broadcasting, self-described head beer wench at Stumblin’ Monkey Brewery, powerhouse behind the scenes at many of upstate’s most prominent public events and a hilarious, supportive friend. Based in Syracuse, N.Y.; been friends since we both lived in Binghamton.
60. Jen Hoverstad, proud Mom, brand manager at Counter Culture, of counsel at Forrest Firm, co-host of TheShow.Live, the brains behind #JenFluence and one of the most knowledgeable women in the craft beer field. Based in Raleigh, N.C.; met her at Summit Live 2016.
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61. Brian Fanzo. Did you really think I could write a list without Brian? I’ve written about this dude more than I can remember: here, and here, and here, and now here. My good friend Bree Palmer writes glowingly about the guy today, here. Brian is as good as they come. Based in Virginia; I’ve hung with him in San Fran, New York, D.C. and soon-to-be Dayton, Ohio, where we’re both speaking. (You should come.)
62. Jana Francis, CEO of Steals.com, Mom of 3, social media speaker, beach traveler, Empress of the F5 Manor, Shonduras’ biggest fan and one of the most humble, hugely successful businesswomen I’ve ever come across. Based in Salt Lake City; met her in San Francisco.
63. Niv Dror, social media czar at Product Hunt and AngelList, devoted Man U fan, former Meerkat community manager, dedicated Tweet-favorite-r, and the human embodiment of the ‘Shruggie.’ Based in San Francisco; met him in Santa Monica, where, within 60 seconds of meeting him, I broke a gift he gave to me. (How’s that for a first impression?)
64. Clay Mosley, chief creative geek and founder of Rock City Digital; lover of coffee, beer and good books; and one of the most humbly successful entrepreneurs in America, much less Little Rock, Ark. Met him at Summit Live San Francisco.
65. Sabba Quidwai, K12 development executive at Apple, Apple Distinguished Educator, avid dessert-before-dinner lover and one of the sweetest, kindest, funniest and most fashionable social media stars I’ve ever seen. Based in the Bay Area; met her in Los Angeles.
66. Jesan Sorrells, owner-operator at Human Services Consulting & Training, author, podcaster, educator, futurist, father and, believe it or not, my former boss at AMC Theaters. Based in Endicott, N.Y.
67. Dotan Negrin, better known as PianoAround, the man who’s played piano in over 300 cities in 20+ countries, using social media to share quite a bit of it. When we met, it felt like we were brothers from another mother. What else is there to say? Based in NYC; we met in San Francisco.
68. Jenny Bedell, better known as JennyInspired2, a travel-addicted, live-streaming foodie with a heart of gold. Based in Seattle; met her in San Francisco.
69. Amber Tiana, an extraordinarily talented vocalist and freestylist with a penchant for energetic, impassioned and community-empowering live-streams, particularly on the app Live.me. Based in Los Angeles; met her at VidCon.
70. Joshua B Ludzki, a photographer, web designer, videographer, event planner and director of operations at the LUMA Projection Arts Festival. He’s become the heart and soul of Binghamton, a city I called home for nearly 11 years. Obviously met him there.
71. Hannah Drake might be my favorite person I’ve ever met. No one I’ve ever come across is more passionate, more dedicated, more all-in about the battle for positive change, both in her own community and across society, than Hannah Drake. Hannah’s a fiercely talented spoken word artist, poet and activist in Louisville, Ky., where I met her through Humana.
72. Geoff Golberg, currently managing growth at Aaptiv, is a live-streaming thought leader, Periscope’s public face of New York City, the man lucky enough to marry Dollee Bhatia, and a really great friend of mine. Met him during the #TeamStrub trip in 2015.
73. Joe Wilson, the man behind ‘We are all famous to a few people,’ the voice behind Motivational Chef Makes, the mastermind of ‘Frozen Snap Friday,’ the author of Vampire Mob and the lucky husband of KZ, is one of my biggest influences, and has changed the way I think about social media as a whole. If you’re not following Joe, who’s based in Los Angeles, you’re doing it all wrong.
74. Charles Strub, better known as my Dad, is a retired professional Chef, an avid sailer, a bigtime dog lover, an almost-but-not-quite-as-good-as-his-son golfer, a Crimson Tide fan, and tied for first place with my other parent, Jane, as my №1 influencer. If you’ve read this far, and you’re going through and following everyone on the list, why not him, too?
75. Gary Vaynerchuk is the only person on this list that I haven’t met, but he’s been an inspiration to me and millions of others in many ways, and we’re bound to cross paths someday (ahem, he follows me on Twitter and has Tweeted me twice, cough cough), so why not aim high and end the list with the man, Gary Vaynerchuk?
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Update, July 2018: A previous version of this article, originally posted in 2017, included a laudatory reference to a digital marketer who has since been accused of online and offline harassment. That individual has been removed from this list.
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That’s it, that’s the list. My name is Chris Strub, I’m a millennial keynote speaker, the first person to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, author of ’50 States, 100 Days: The Book,’ creator of the brand-new ‘Livestreaming for Nonprofits’ online course, and lucky real-life friend of the above 75 folks (assuming Gary calls soon).
Notably, there are hundreds of others I could write about (and have written about — check out my Medium channel!), but I decided to keep this list to people that I’ve met IRL. (You’re not a catfish, right Bree Palmer?)
In the comments below, TAG who your biggest influencers have been! Let me know — I want to get to know and meet them … and you!
And speaking of … if you want to meet me, come next month to Social Media Day Dayton (Ohio) on Sept. 28 — or better yet, buy a copy of my book, do a video review and you’ll be entered to win a totally free in-person visit from me. You can see video reviews of ’50 States, 100 Days: The Book’ on my YouTube channel here: