To me, a social media innovator is someone who’s found creative ways to use new social media tools to change their businesses for the better, or to build entirely new businesses. Here is who comes to mind.
1. MinnPost – While some news organizations think tweeting out their headlines is a Twitter strategy (it’s not necessarily good or bad, btw) MinnPost has many employees who actively engage readers through various social media channels. Karl Pearson-Cater, David Brauer, and Corey Anderson come to mind.
2. MinnPost is also creating new forms of advertising, widget syndication, and other fun stuff with the help of Garrick Van Buren, so Garrick makes my list.
3. Aaron Weiche does a nice job balancing work related and social tweets for his web design firm and has measured the revenue per tweet that he’s generated.
4. Jeff Pester has curated one of the most followed Twitter accounts on Social Media @socialmedia411 in the world.
5. Jason DeRusha has built an incredibly loyal audience by engaging with locals on a variety of online platforms including blog comments, twitter, his own blog, and JasonCam.
6. Lee Odden has used blogging and Twitter to become a thought leader in SEO and social media.
7. The Uptake has essentially created the next generation of CSPAN using free to nearly free web technologies together with passionate political people.
8. Punch Pizza and Common Roots for their impressive use of social media sites to build direct relationships with their customers. How many Twitter followers will they need to reach before they no longer need to spend a penny on advertising?
9. The folks behind Solutions Twin Cities for their effective use of Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to put butts in seats of the wide variety of events they product every month.
These ten came from 10 minutes of pondering who’s making money or effectively leveraging social media tools to make their business or organization better.