The 2018 #Online18
The #Online18 most influential people consists of industry influencers who use online tools and strategies to benefit their business and the overall promotional products industry. Each year gets tougher to identify the #Online18, as the online marketplace continues to evolve.
One important note about the #Online18 is that this is primarily based on a personal profile. Thus, if someone is brilliant at social media while using their company profile, they aren't a top candidate for this list. Activity on/with a company profile is taken into consideration, but is not the primary consideration.
Interestingly, I found that some people have really stepped up their online approach, while others have backed off significantly as the social media landscape matures. There are several familiar faces who have been on the list since the original #Online18 in 2014, but there are several new people this year as well. In addition, quite a few big shifts in the rankings.
Engagement is the primary driver of who appears where on the list, so delivering good content is not enough. The content must be engaging. For a few people on this list, the engagement appears as much offline as it does online. That is where the real magic happens, when you can bridge the gap between your online presence and your day to day life/work.
This year was an especially important year for the #Online18, as #Online18 in '18 will only happen one time every 100 years. Everyone on this list, as well as previous lists, are to be commended for their online success. Follow them, engage with them and learn from them.
As always, I'm sure I missed a few influencers that should be on the list (keep in mind, I limit it to one influencer per company), and look forward to hearing from you on who should be included next year in the comments below or on Twitter via @daledenham.
The 18 most influential online influencers in the promotional products industry are:
1. Bill Petrie
Bill has always been extremely active on social media and very giving with his content. This year, he was one of the most engaged people online in the industry. Bill does a great job of being real online, even if he does take a few things too far for my taste (pumpkin spice anyone?). But, it works well, as his followers stay engaged. I follow Bill primarily on Facebook, but he is on any outlet of your preference. @billpetrie
2. Kenny Ved
In only his second year on the list, Kenny has earned the No. 2 spot on this list. Kenny has mastered the art of being entertaining while reminding people the promotional power of the pen. He goes beyond the sleeping bit, though, with his interesting outfits, as well as other creative engagement online and offline. It’s rare to move up so fast, but he has stood out in a rather unique way, and created very consistent, as well as diverse, engagement. I find Kenny’s Facebook feed the best place to engage with Kenny. https://www.facebook.com/kenny.ved
3. Danny Rosin
Danny is engaged everywhere online and in person. Not only does he post interesting and useful topics, he engages broadly with his followers. Not content to sit still, Danny shares his passion for many different issues while still being highly engaged with his family (at least it seems so online!). Danny is everywhere, but I find his Twitter @dannyrosin account very worthwhile and one of the best on Twitter.
4. Charity Gibson
Charity might score even higher if she had time to manage her own social media accounts as well as she does for PromoKitchen. Charity is consistently engaged on her personal and her business accounts in an authentic and engaging way. Like the others in the top five, she is a giver, and constantly responds to others—not just posting. Follow her on Twitter @licensetoswag or any of the PromoKitchen pages.
5. Kirby Hasseman
Not content to be a top distributor of promotional products, Kirby is also an author, content creator, and most recently, brewmaster (or at least owns the brewery). He consistently gives with his content and like many others above, I don’t know where he finds the time to get it all done. Follow him on Facebook; Twitter @kirbyhasseman
6. Paul Bellantone
I have had the pleasure of working more closely with Paul during the beginning of 2018. Paul utilizes social media in a very powerful way by engaging with PPAI members constantly. Paul reads, interacts, and learns more from social media than perhaps anyone I’ve observed. He is not a prolific poster of content, instead, he is an active engager with the content that others post. He leverages that content well beyond the online engagement. @Bellantone
7. Dana Zezzo
Dana was one of the first people to leverage social media in the industry to build his personal brand and then carry that into the brands he represents. He moved from his hotel view posts to his very engaging field testing with his products. Dana continues to leverage online marketing, as well as adjust his approach as tastes change. https://www.facebook.com/dana.zezzo
8. Mark Graham
Arguably the best interviewer in the industry, as he leads the PromoKitchen podcasts, Mark brings great content through his engaging style while asking important questions. In many ways, Mark is one of the quiet influencers today, as he encourages and supports others efforts. Yet, his presence online is felt through his own contributions as well as those he consistently supports and encourages. Mark has several great people who could have made this list (and I only put one person per company), so Mark will be happy to know that, while his name is on the list, it is all the people he supports (not all those working with him) online whom he represents. https://twitter.com/heymarkgraham, or one of the many podcasts he has hosted for PromoKitchen http://www.promokitchen.org/podcast, or for commonsku (along with Bobby Lehew) https://community.commonsku.com/category/podcast/.
9. Michele Bell
If you want to know what is really happening in the industry, there is a good chance Michele knows the scoop. Michele is only on Twitter, and she only tweets what she feels without concern for how you will feel about her views. She is unique on this list, as she doesn’t care about social media or if any of us follow her. She is authentic online as she is offline, and that is why she is worth following. Twitter @ASI_Mbell
10. Jon Norris
Jon is a primary player in the quest to improve online communication between suppliers and distributors as part of the www.promostandards.org group. Jon is unique on this list in that he is primarily on this list for the influence he has in the online communication between suppliers and distributors through his leadership and contributions to PromoStandards. @Jnnorris
11. Angela Morris
New to the list this year is Angela Morris, who is all over social media with her clients. She has won numerous awards from her regional association for her use of social media, and I’ve personally heard stories from her about how she has helped clients and earned business through her posts. While all her accounts are great, she is one of the few people doing Instagram right, so it is worth following her at https://www.instagram.com/thepromoshopper/
12. Jay Busselle
Jay originated #PromoChat, and continues to be a strong influencer and sharer of great content. Jay remains a leading voice for art- and design-related content in our industry, and goes beyond the basics of marketing/promotion. He's great on Twitter @JayBusselle as well as LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaybusselle
13. Kathy Cheng
I don’t really know Kathy, although I want to after reading some of her posts. Kathy has a passion and commitment to diversity that appears unmatched in our industry. She is very active online with engaged followers, but clearly appears to be making a difference offline. Like many others on this list, she is using the online approach to strengthen and enhance offline activities. I hope we will see more of Kathy, and I hope to get to know her personally. @kathykwcheng or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathy-cheng-2510a815/.
14. Natasha Rawls
I particularly like how Natasha crafts her posts making them meaningful and interesting to clients. She takes advantages of active projects she is working on to share ideas on social media to encourage clients. She has good content and a great writing style. https://www.linkedin.com/in/natasha-rawls-4a55288
15. David Shultz
Well-known throughout the industry, David has been more actively engaging online within the industry, as well as outside the industry. David uses his online activity to support whatever he is involved with, and is very engaged with his followers. He provides engaging and interesting content on a consistent basis. He’s also a great running partner. https://www.facebook.com/DShultzKC
16. Britney Godsey
Britney has improved Gold Bond's social media approach while also being active herself. I find her refreshing, and I think you will, too.
17. Denise Taschereau
Denise is a thought leader online for eco and sustainable products. Passionate about sustainability and quality merchandise, she is worth following, especially to keep on top of the social responsibility trend.
18. Ben Baker
Ben loves to share engaging content with others and has a passion for this industry. Ben does a stellar job on LinkedIn, both in terms of posting great content but also in terms of engaging with people. https://www.linkedin.com/in/yourbrandmarketing/
I look forward to seeing and learning from you online. Congratulations to the 2018 #Online18