Twitter can be a valuable tool for gathering up-to-the-minute collective intelligence and ideas from experts, leaders and conceptualizers. Indeed, the social media platform has changed enormously how we collect and collate information by directly connecting us to the innovators and industry leaders of our day. Our personal commentary on news, insights and trends is thereby not only reliable but immediate and efficient. One of Twitter’s leading benefits, over any other social media platform currently available to us, is that it enables us to network with, and learn from, others.
“Business leaders who truly embrace the concept of sharing and helping are worth following,” says Peter Shankman, who is globally recognized for his alternative thinking regarding marketing and social media, and features on our list of top 10 business leaders to follow. “They’re few and far between,” he continues, “but the ones who understand that there’s tremendous benefit in sharing their knowledge, not only for the good of all mankind, but financially- and revenue-wise as well…they’re the smart ones; they’re the ones worth following and retweeting.”
With this in mind, we identified the top 10 business leaders to follow on Twitter. We considered their influence in society or industry, the quality of their tweets, how frequently they tweet and how willing they are to engage with their network. So without further ado, here are our picks:
Twitter Handle: @j1berger
Why? He is the news-making, New York Times bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On (2013, Simon & Schuster).
Need More Convincing? Berger made headlines this year with his assertion that there is a science behind whether a product, person, idea or so forth goes viral. The irony is that, since the debut of his book, Berger has become something of a viral phenomenon himself.
getAbstract connection: Check out our summary of Contagious.
How He Tweets: Conceptually.
Sir Richard Branson
Twitter Handle: @richardbranson
Why? Savvy business sense, philanthropy … and, well, he is Richard Branson.
Need more convincing? After almost three decades of beyond successful entrepreneurship, Branson could easily spend his days languishing on Necker Island. But instead, in the autumn of his life, he is using his Twitter following (numbering more than three million) and his wealth to solve global issues (such as HIV/ Aids and global warming), to comment on social issues including our enslavement to technology, and to share personal anecdotes. Besides, being Branson, he peppers his Tweets with wit. getAbstract connection: Look for our upcoming summary of his book, Like a Virgin.
How He Tweets: Philanthropically.
Twitter Handle: @marieforleo
Why? She’s a business-savvy, morale-boosting, Internet-marketing powerhouse.
Need More Convincing? Oprah named the B-School founder a thought leader for the next generation. Indeed, since Forleo first launched her business coaching practice in 2001, she has built a multi-million dollar empire. Her focus is personal development training for female entrepreneurs, but guys can learn just as much from her upbeat insights into success, marketing and simply being the best you can be.
How She Tweets: Responsively.
Twitter Handle: @sherylsandberg and @leaninorg
Why? The Facebook COO made more headlines this year when she published Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013, Alfred A. Knopf).
Need More Convincing? The über successful working mom is now a leading activist for women’s rights via her spinoff organization, Lean In. She is one of the most significant executives in the digital world and is always featured in Fortune magazine’s annual 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.
getAbstract connection: See our summary of her trail-blazing TED talk and learn how she joined Facebook in 2008 as COO in our summary of Think Like Zuck.
How She Tweets: Being on the Board of Directors for Facebook, Sandberg herself isn’t that frequent a presence on Twitter; her organization, on the other hand, is prolific with its thought-provoking Tweets.
Twitter Handle: @rachelbotsman
Why? Botsman became renowned in business circles following her TED talk on Collaborative Consumption. The notion is gaining leverage as a key concept in today’s industry and Time called it “one of the 10 ideas that will change the world.”
Need More Convincing? The social innovator is a key proponent for collaboration. She believes that via collaborative technologies, we can transform business, public services and the way we live.
getAbstract Connection: See our summaries of her terrific TED talk and of the book she co-authored, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption (HarperCollins, 2010) .
How She Tweets: Considerately.
Twitter Handle: @deepakchopra
Why? Many consider the Indian alternative medicine practitioner and prolific author (he has published more than 80 books) to be today’s leading spiritual guru.
Need More Convincing? Chopra drives forward the idea that we can achieve our goals through spirituality. His tweets often aim to inspire. Furthermore, being a savvy businessman himself (he partnered with Richard Branson to form Virgin Comics, and since 2005 he has been a board member of Men’s Warehouse, Inc.), Chopra often gives his thought-provoking 140-word “lessons” an entrepreneurial spin.
How He Tweets: Mindfully.
Twitter Handle: @ariannahuff
Why? She is, quite frankly, one of the most powerful women in media.
Need More Convincing? As one would expect, Huffington has her finger on today’s pulse and tweets regularly to comment on social and world issues. She is opinionated and smart, aims to inspire and uses Twitter wisely to connect with her audience via personal anecdotes. If you’re lucky, she’ll send you a personal tip for success.
getAbstract Connection: She’s the primary example of how a blog can grow into a multimillion dollar business. Read how in our summary of Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone, Mitch Joel (Business Plus, 2009).
How She Tweets: Interestingly.
Twitter Handle: @missrogue
Why? Hunt is the CEO of Buyosphere and a leading expert in ecommerce, entrepreneurship and women in tech.
Need More Convincing? Via her Twitter page, Hunt (an author, speaker and startup founder) shares marketing, social media and entrepreneurial advice, peppered with personal anecdotes. She’s a “pioneer in online marketing and one of the most respected authorities on online communities.”
How She Tweets: Personably
Twitter Handle: @thebenbernanke
Why? He is a world-renowned economist and the current chairman of the Federal Reserve. Oh, and he is also seen as the leading expert on interest rates.
Need More Convincing? Surprisingly, Bernanke tweets pretty regularly with thought-provoking, financially spun ideas alongside of-the-minute economic news and updates. The well-published former professor knows fiscal policy like no other in the “Twitosphere” and deftly teaches a thing or two via his 140-word posts.
getAbstract Connection: See our summary of Ben Bernanke’s Fed: The Federal Reserve After Greenspan, Ethan S. Harris (Harvard Business Press, 2008).
How He Tweets: Knowledgeably.
Twitter Handle: @petershankman
Why? Shankman is a thought leader on customer service.
Need More Convincing? Shankman’s amicable tone has earned him a mighty following. His posts tend to convey a thought-provoking idea or a useful tidbit of information, which frequently solicit a response. He also serves up glimpses of his everyday life. Today, via social platforms, Shankman has been credited with redefining the art of networking. Indeed, in 2011, he authored a Tweet that was voted one of the Top Ten Tweets of the year by Twitter. getAbstract connection: Learn how long his Facebook list is in our summary of e-Riches 2.0: Next-Generation Marketing Strategies for Making Millions Online, Scott Fox (AMACOM, 2009).
How He Tweets: Approachably.