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Editorial
The Top 10 LinkedIn Influencers You Should Be Following
Adobe Stock / Julie
Ellie Nieves
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Need more positive influences in your life? Thanks to LinkedIn Influencers, it's only a follow button away.

LinkedIn’s Influencers are an invitation-only group of highly sought after individuals with a social media audience whose personal brand is leadership. They're some of the top minds impacting our society today with followers and content that spans the globe over, and they use their platform to post relevant content and share their thoughts on important issues of the day, making themselves expert thought leaders. LinkedIn selects Influencers based on follower growth and reader engagement. Using social media, blog posts, published works, and a strong personal brand with which users can share and engage with their content, these influencers make a definitive impact in the digital world.

If you want to tap into the thoughts of key thought leaders who are shaping business, education, government, politics and the global economy, here are 10 of the top social influencers as listed on LinkedIn.

1. Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • What he writes about: The thinking behind his philanthropic decisions; wisdom gleaned from his friend and bridge partner, Warren Buffett; thoughts on ways to reduce diseases and generate more clean energy.
  • Top post of 2015: Warren Buffett Just Wrote His Best Annual Letter Ever
  • What struck him in the letter: The value of experience. "The Berkshire system maximizes having very experienced people run their businesses, giving them autonomy, and letting them do it for decades at a time. Even if they make a few mistakes, they know that Warren will stick with them."
  • Sobering quote on health: "We are simply not prepared to deal with a global epidemic," as he wrote in an analysis following the Ebola outbreak.

2. Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

  • What he writes about: Building companies (he's launched more than 400); creating fun workplace cultures; finding ways for people to be more productive and effective in managing business.
  • His approach to work-life balance: "There is no separation between work and life — it’s all living," he wrote.
  • Most-popular post of 2015: What Does It Take to Be the Boss? Managers vs. Leaders
  • Ask me anything: Branson recently took questions from followers on LinkedIn; in three minutes, he explained the best staff excuse he's heard, what happened when he tried to meditate and why he's not retiring.
  • Virgin wants to conquer space. After that? "The oceans are completely undiscovered ... we'd love to be able to build a submarine that truly can explore the bottom of the oceans," he explained here.

3. Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor, Allianz

  • What he writes about: Analysis on the global economy and financial markets, mixed in with occasional personal takes on business, innovation, even Broadway.
  • Top post: 10 Consequences of Greece's 'No', written hours after the Greek referendum this summer; it attracted more than 700,000 views.
  • The economy's next trend: The Fed will likely raise interest rates this month; more broadly, investors will realize "central banks they have thought of as their 'Best Friends' won't necessarily be their comforting "Best Friends Forever," he wrote.
  • Praise from fellow Influencer and list member Ian Bremmer: "Mohammed El-Erian has tremendous global insights, a balanced perspective (no bias toward the West), and better knowledge of the markets than almost anyone."

4. James Altucher, Entrepreneur

  • What he covers: "I write about all the reasons we sometimes fail, some of the reasons we come back, and fewer reasons why we can find wellbeing and happiness regardless of the circumstances in our career and life."
  • Post he's proudest of: 10 Steps To Avoid Giving Up
  • Why he likes it: "We all find ourselves in a hole sometimes. How we get out of that hole to go on and achieve success and wellbeing is the key to maturity and finding real lasting success."
  • How he comes up with ideas: "I look for the most painful and embarrassing situations in my life and I find the gems inside of them and I write about those gems."
  • Favorite comment: "Someone commented that I am probably medicated but that if I were medicated my writing might not be as good. I truly appreciate the many dedicated medical professionals who read my posts and offer their diagnosis."

5. Bernard Marr, Business and data expert

  • What he writes about: Big data and the many ways it's changing our lives (from football to policing and shopping); newsy issues in technology; occasional rifts on management and workplace issues.
  • Most-popular post of 2015: The One Interview Question Most People Are Not Prepared For!
  • What that question is: "Tell me something no one else knows about you."
  • Why he doesn't believe the big data naysayers: "Big data will persist, hyped up or not. The data isn’t going anywhere, and someone is going to figure out how to put it to good use," he recently wrote.

6. Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder, Ellevest

  • What she covers: Career development, entrepreneurship, financial advice and issues surrounding professional women. "I typically write about what I'm going though and topics I'm thinking through."
  • Post she's proudest of: Why You Should NOT Leave Your Job to Become an Entrepreneur
  • Why she likes it: "I tried to break away from the drumbeat of, 'Being an entrepreneur is the best thing you could ever imagine doing.' It can be (and it is for me), but I figured a dose of reality was called for." It resonated: The post has more than 1,300 comments and 300,000 views.
  • One thing that's not on her LinkedIn profile: "My kids would tell you I'm a crazy cat lady."

7. Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group

  • What he covers: "I write about international politics, economics, and business—and where and how these three come together. I also write about things that amuse and annoy me in this rapidly changing world of ours."
  • Post he's proudest of: State of Politics: Rising Risk and the Birth of an Industry
  • Why he likes it: "You have to take stock of where you are every once in a while, and this piece was perfect for that. Plus it was just fun to write."
  • 2015's top news story: "Syria and everything about it. In so many ways, it’s a stand-in for all that is and isn’t happening in the world today."
  • What he's focused on now: "China’s continued ascent—it’s more important than the headlines would you lead you to believe—and whether we’re seeing the beginning of the end of Europe as we know it today. I’m also paying particular attention to non-state actors, and the growing impact of technology on geopolitics and state power."

8. Jill Schlesinger, Business Analyst, CBS News

  • What she covers: "I write about the economy, business and the financial services industry. My goal is to take complicated subjects and to make them digestible, interesting and fun for readers."
  • Monthly analysis: She frequently weighs in on the all-important monthly U.S. jobs report; she called the November numbers "solid" and wrote that they "confirm that the economy continues to expand" while "the labor market is improving and workers are gaining leverage."
  • Top post of 2015: Holiday Shopping ... Naughty or Nice?
  • Media diet: "I start with the WSJ, Financial Times and NYT and then move to blogs...Calculated Risk, Econbrowser and Economist’s View...and my favorite Influencer and never-to-be-missed is Mohammed El-Erian!"

9. Ryan Holmes, CEO, Hootsuite

  • What he covers: Thoughts on emerging trends in social and tech; marketing and startup advice; "and every once in awhile, I geek out and write about things like robots and video games."
  • Post he's proudest of: How I Skipped the MBA and Why You Should Too
  • Why he likes it: "It’s still a common belief that to be successful in business, you need an elite, expensive education. ... I wanted to let people know that sure, that path can work, but there also isn’t just one route to success in business."
  • Not on his LinkedIn profile: "I have a Bussauna. (See the ‘Notorious Users’ section.")

10. Sramana Mitra, Founder, One Million by One Million

  • What she writes about: "I write about strategies and tactics of navigating the turbulent waters of technology entrepreneurship. My philosophy is entrepreneurship = (customers + revenues + profits); financing and exit are optional."
  • Post she's proudest of: Bootstrapped Unicorns
  • Why she likes it: "The post succinctly underscores my core philosophy about entrepreneurship, that you CAN build substantial companies without gobs of venture capital."
  • 2015's most-interesting news story: "The refugee crisis in Europe. It's a complex situation."
  • Not on her LinkedIn profile: "I host art salons at my home in Silicon Valley."

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Ellie Nieves, JD, MBA, develops webinars, seminars, and coaching programs to help women show up, speak up, and step up in their careers and personal lives. She is also the host of the Leadership Strategies for Women Podcast where she shares success tips to help women achieve more both personally and professionally. To learn more, go to:  www.EllieNieves.com

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