The days of questioning whether Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms are legitimate marketing tools are way behind us.
Those “in the know” are using social media to share their ideas, businesses and day-to-day lives. Some of them are making millions from posting pictures online and uploading vlogs to YouTube, and others are using social media as a major strategy to scaling venture-backed startups.
The following social media “influencers” are contributors to “3 Billion Under 30,” a book by 21-year-old Jared Kleinert, a TED speaker and “go to” marketing consultant for No. 1 NYT bestselling authors, Fortune 500 companies and even the United Nations.
Who are they—and why should you follow them? Here are your answers:
1. Jake Paul (@jakepaul)
Jake Paul just turned 20; yet, he has over 17 million social media followers. His videos, which originally were posted on Vine and now span over Instagram, YouTube, Musically and other platforms, have gained over 4 billion views combined. Jake has turned his social media stardom into other ventures.
He’s now the founder of TeamDom, which includes investors like Gary Vaynerchuk and Shots Studios (who is, in turn, backed by Justin Bieber, Pete Cashmore and other media titans). He’s also become a successful actor.
Companies ranging from Coca Cola to Beats, Universal and others look to Paul and his “crew” to market their products to millennials and Gen Z’ers.
2. Shonduras (@shonduras)
Shaun McBride, or “Shonduras,” might have been the first to partner with a corporation for a sponsored Snapchat story.
Disney saw the potential for “influencer” marketing via Snapchat and decided to work with Shonduras to showcase their parks.
Shonduras has quickly become one of the top social media “influencers” on the web, most notably via Snapchat.
He’s leveraged his following to earn revenue for his company in a variety of ways, from keynote speaking to selling merchandise, branded content and more. Now he’s looking into different ways to push digital content creation to its limits, and have the “Best Day Ever” during all hours in his climb.
3. Neil Patel (@neilpatel on Twitter, fb.com/neilkpatel on Facebook)
Neil Patel is the cofounder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and various other companies. He is also an investor, writer with a New York Times bestselling book and multiple online columns, and an influential marketing mind for companies ranging from Amazon to NBC, GM, HP and Viacom.
Patel has been a prolific marketer since his teens, when he was using SEO to help companies earn eight figures in additional revenues annually.
Over the years, he’s mastered content marketing, paid traffic, social media marketing and more to make millions of dollars and share highly valuable products he’s created for the tech and business communities.
On his blog you’ll find extensive guides to almost any marketing-related question or process. It’s worth many reads.
4. Virginia Salas Kastilio (@ginicanbreathe)
Brands like BBC, NASDAQ, SoulPancake and others have a secret weapon in Virginia Salas Kastilio and her consulting firm, which comprises the top Snapchat “influencers” around the world.
A “third culture kid” who went to over a dozen different schools and managed over a billion dollars at Apple and Orace without a degree, Kastilio decided to start from scratch and build an online following.
What resulted is not only her own personal brand and following, but marketing knowledge that other companies, individuals and organizations have found highly valuable. She’s been sharing her ideas through an online “school” called Snap and Stream . Tune in to hear how she predicts the marketing world will trend in 2017 and beyond.
5. Furious Pete (@furiouspete)
This survivor of anorexia and cancer has built an army of over 5 million YouTube subscribers who watch his daily vlogs, competitive eating challenges, training sessions as a sponsored bodybuilder and candid thoughts on coping with life’s challenging moments.
Furious Pete works nonstop and leverages his influence on social media to market television shows he hosts in Germany, his own line of apparel and supplements, various brands that sponsor him to eat and train, workout routines and programs and more.
If you can see past his Guinness World Record attempts and heavy lifting videos, you’ll see a marketing machine at work—even when he (rarely) sleeps.
6. CyreneQ (@cyreneq)
Cyrene’s business is a mix that Shonduras and Kastilio mentioned above.
In her own right, she’s an “influencer” commanding tens of thousands of dollars per campaign to promote companies like Walmart, Samsung, The Voice, MTV, Lionsgate and a flurry of other companies. Her unique Snapchat art is family friendly and fun, making her one of the most liked and relatable “influencers” on social media.
She not only shares the Snapchat names for different people you should be following on her site, but she herself is someone you should follow to learn more about leveraging the platform for your marketing needs.
7. Kristina Bazan (@kristinabazan)
Kristina Bazan is many things, including the founder of Kayture, a fashion blog and small team of talented individuals who work with her to deliver exposure and creative help to brands such as Dior, Guess, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and many others.
She has over 2.4 million followers on Instagram alone, and millions of monthly readers at Kayture. Bazan became one of the first social media “influencers” and fashion bloggers to work with high-end brands, and in 2015 she signed a seven-figure deal to be a L’Oreal Paris spokeswoman.
Her creative works should be studied not only as art, but as a case study in turning social media into a platform to pursue other business interests.
8. Coco and Breezy (@cocoandbreezy)
Coco and Breezy are twins living in New York City who’ve developed a line of designer sunglasses under their names. Within weeks of moving to the city and starting their new business, their glasses were on celebrities including Ashanti, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Prince.
Not only do they have a successful business through their designs, but they’ve also began DJ’ing and making a name for themselves in commercials for Diddy, along with partnerships with Hershey’s, Jolly Ranchers, Adidas, Transitions and other companies who want to tap into their “lifestyle” brand and leverage their online and offline creativity.
9. Caroline Ghosn (@carolineghosn)
Caroline Ghosn herself is not a social media “influencer,” but she is the founder and CEO of Levo, which is the top online destination for career advice pertaining to millennials.
Her company is backed by the likes of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and the Mightybell CEO Gina Bianchini, and uses social media to advance their readership and value to consumers.
The result is a network for millennials to use in navigating their careers and succeeding in the workplace. Levo is masterful at content marketing and using millennials’ online presences to secure interviews and collaborations with the likes of Warren Buffett, Soledad O’Brien, Kevin Spacey and others.
With these social media “influencers” as examples, I challenge you to revisit how you are using social media to market yourself and/or your organization.
Are you investing time into new platforms and attempting to become the “first mover,” or are you still unconvinced that these tools can help you reach more customers and help more people?
Adam Toren is an entrepreneur mentor, investor and the founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur. Copyright© 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.