Are you searching for Kansas City Influencers? We’ve compiled the definitive list of top Kansas City social media influencers, bloggers & local media sites.
Among its many traits and characteristics, the digital world can create new or altered meanings for everyday words and phrases. Before the internet came along, the word “influencer” was rarely used in daily conversation. And while its meaning is still basically the same, the context and scope in the present day are nowhere near what they used to be.
Today, influencers are celebrated and sought after, and everyone wants to be one. And even though it seems like a lifestyle filled with free gifts and accolades, there is a lot that goes into being an influencer that most people don’t know.
What Is an Online Influencer?
Online influencers are part of the fabric of society these days, and the general meaning is someone who influences others to take some sort of action using reach, contextual credibility, and salesmanship. These actions may refer to buying, voting, listening, watching, or following. In most cases, online influencers have the power to affect the purchase decisions of their followers because of the relationship they have built through adding value to people’s lives.
Many have massively large social media followings, but that’s not necessarily part of the criteria to be considered an online influencer. It is important to be able to reach people, but some niches or followings are smaller, and some are localized, which don’t require hundreds of thousands of followers. Some of the most common types of influencers are celebrities, experts in a specific topic or niche, big brands, bloggers, and content creators and marketers.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing refers to identifying influencers in your industry and then utilizing them and their followers to create conversations about your brand, introduce new products, and drive buying decisions. Influencer marketing is relationship-based selling that creates far more trust than traditional marketing avenues.
One way to use influencer marketing is to pay the influencer to be a “brand ambassador” and introduce products or services to their followers. Many influencers create videos of themselves using products and will suggest them to their followers, who trust the influencer and will buy what they recommend.
Another way, one that many brands use today, is to create genuine relationships with influencers and share information that’s new or exclusive, so the influencer can be the first to share it with their followers. The best influencer marketing is when an influencer will speak about your product because they believe in it and they want to. Done correctly, it can leverage the reach of an influencer, boost credibility, increase awareness and get people to take action.
The Value of Connecting with Local Influencers
As mentioned above, some influencers are localized, meaning they influence a smaller area or community and not on a global scale. These are sometimes called micro-influencers. Local influencers can play a big role in helping small businesses expand their reach and gain exposure in their general area.
Local influencers typically have a more targeted audience, which always results in increased conversion rates. They also have higher customer engagement rates and are perceived as being more authentic. Tapping into local influencers can allow small businesses to leverage audiences where trust is the most critical factor, and that’s always good for business.
Kansas City Influencer Infographic
Top 50 Bloggers & Social Media Influencers in Kansas City
#1 Tony Botello (News)
Tony Botello is hands down Kansas City’s most influential, local independent blogger. If you want to know what blog that virtually every news anchor, radio, newspaper, or any other newsy type follows (whether or not they admit it), it’s Tony’s Kansas City. TKC is a cross between a local Matt Drudge and TMZ. Aside from scantily clad women, you’ll also notice that Tony’s posts get great local engagement, but there is also a ton of unmediated trolling. Tony covers local news stories, local politics, crime, and scandals. No other local, independent blogging website in Kansas City gets more website traffic or breaks more local news stories than Tony’s Kansas City.
#2 Sarah Ruhlman (Lifestyle)
Sarah Ruhlman is the editor-in-chief of Sarah Scoop, which is an online destination that gives its audience the scoop on all their favorite things. Topics like fitness, fashion, beauty, entertainment, food, and more are covered in a way that makes you want to keep coming back for more. Sarah was born and raised in Kansas City and was a first-grade teacher before making the switch to successful blogepreneur. Sarah has been featured on several Kansas City television stations that do lifestyle segments and is a well-known social media influencer. In 2008, Sarah started SarahScoop.com and since that time has worked with hundreds of brands and kept tickling her readers’ fancies with daily content.
#3 Gary Lezak (Weather)
Gary Lezak is a local Kansas City legend when it comes to weather. He has more than 30 years of experience as a respected meteorologist and currently holds the position of chief meteorologist at KSHB in Kansas City. Gary grew up in Southern California and was interested in weather as far back as he can remember. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma and in 1985 became an intern at the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City. In 1992, Gary moved to KC and took the position of chief meteorologist in 1999. He’s been the face of the station for all things weather ever since.
#4 Joel Goldberg (Sports)
Joel Goldberg has spent an entire career around world-class athletes, building trust and growing relationships. He is a respected speaker that uses his vast experience and storytelling ability to captivate audiences at a wide range of different events. Joel has a unique ability to teach while being entertaining at the same time, and he has used this skill to give successful talks on leadership, the value of networking, similarities of the sports and business worlds, and many more. He had a front-row seat to the growth and re-emergence of both the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Rams as champions and has carried those lessons with him into the future.
#5 Stacie Prosser (Business)
Stacie Prosser is the current publisher of the Kansas City Business Journal, a highly respected local print publication with a popular online version. The online version of KCBJ covers the latest breaking local business news, as well as weekly local area business stories. Stacie joined the Kansas City Business Journal in 1996 as an account executive and has continued to climb the ladder of success, becoming the director of advertising in 2012 and now its publisher. Stacie grew up in Topeka, Kansas and graduated from Baker University. She was also a member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program and serves on the boards of JDRF, Hearts Auxiliary, and Children’s Mercy Hands.
#6 Michael Levine (Business)
Michael Levine holds a position as the communications director Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City. He is a wizard when it comes to all things digital marketing and manages everything related to print, broadcast messaging, and digital. The local Kansas City affiliate has come away with multiple local and national awards thanks to Michael’s efforts. Michael is active in many different areas besides his main gig, having a passion for the food and beverage industry. He is the founder of EAT (Entertaining and Training), which is an events and marketing firm and leads caffeine crawls to various spots in North America on a monthly basis. Last but not least, Michael is the Chairman of the Social Media Club of Kansas City.
#7 Jason Grill (Business)
Jason Grill is a superstar in the Kansas City legal and business communities. He has a plethora of experience in media relations, public affairs, public relations, crisis communications, and the law. Jason is the principal and founder of JGrill Media and has consulted countless corporations, governments, startups, foundations, and executives. He is also an acclaimed local and national radio host, television commentator, and national contributor. Jason served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, passing historic legislation that helps families of kids with autism. He has even worked in the White House during the Clinton-Gore administration and served as an advance and site lead for Presidential, Vice Presidential, and Principal visits. In his downtime, Jason loves to watch the Kansas City Royals, KC Chiefs, Missouri Tigers, and St. Louis Billikens.
#8 Britt Null (Lifestyle)
Britt Null is a vlogger extraordinaire with close to 400,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel. She is a single mom of three who loves to share her thoughts about topics that range from the ups and downs of motherhood to fashion to cooking to whatever happens to be on her mind that day. Britt is just Britt, which is why so many followers can relate to her and trust what she has to say. Before she became a YouTube sensation, Britt went to school for Elementary Education and worked as a nanny, which is likely one reason she relates so well to people.
#9 Shelly Kramer (Business)
Shelly Kramer is the CEO and co-founder of V3 Broadsuite and a force to be reckoned with in the marketing world. During her 20-plus year marketing career, Shelley has racked up quite a few accolades, including being named one of MediaPost’s top 100 Social Media Power Influencers in 2015 and by Forbes for being one of the Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Experts and Top 50 Social Media Influencers. She is also an in-demand speaker and successful corporate trainer. Shelley is a self-proclaimed half marketer, half geek, with a love for great beer. She loves working the numbers when it comes to getting marketing results and isn’t shy about injecting just the right amount of sarcasm when it’s needed.
#10 John Hall (Business)
John Hall is the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co, which helps clients position key people within their company as influencers. John is also an accomplished author, writing the bestselling business book titled Top of Mind. The book was featured by such notables as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and Success Magazine. John also has an EY Entrepreneur of the Year award under his belt and has been recognized by the United Nations for his leadership abilities. John is a weekly contributor to Forbes and Inc. and has written for more than 50 different publications. Forbes has named him as a must-see speaker and one of the most authentic on the circuit.
#11 John Jantsch (Business)
John Jantsch is a name that is widely recognized as an authority in the world of small business. He is an acclaimed speaker and workshop leader, and his first book called Duct Tape Marketing helped to change the small business landscape. It’s still a must-read for anyone planning on making waves in the business world. John is the author of five marketing and business books in total and has been involved in more than 200 successful live events. He is a sought-after speaker and consultant, and his down-to-earth, repeatable approach to marketing is used by companies and marketing consultants around the world.
#12 Travis Wright (Business)
Travis Wright wears so many hats that it can be tough to keep track, but they all produce amazing results, so he has no plans to change anytime soon. He is a successful stand-up comedian, public speaker, blogger, digital strategizer, analyst, marketing expert, and entrepreneur. His speaking style is unique and mixed with elements of stand up comedy, but he has a way of keeping audiences engaged and getting the message across that’s difficult to match. Travis started off working for Sprint during college and then joined GTE Yellow Pages. Seeing a void in the market, he started his own agency and has been taking the marketing world by storm for more than 15 years, delivering high ROI for his clients.
#13 Ryan Weber (Tech)
Ryan Weber is the president of KC Tech Council and a tech industry heavyweight in the Kansas City area. Some of Ryan’s accomplishments include being named to the Power 100 in 2016, lending his expertise and effort to land a Hyperloop route, advocating on behalf of tech education in Jefferson City, and tirelessly working to grow the tech scene in Kansas City by recruiting top talent and promoting the various IT assets in the area. Ryan’s dedication and strong business development skills in combination with his unique technical abilities mean he will be a force in the local business scene for years to come.
#14 Katie Bean (Business)
Katie Bean is the Managing Director and Editor of Thinking Bigger Business, which is working hard to spread the word about exciting small businesses in the Kansas City area. Katie is the driving force behind Thinking Bigger Business, always on the lookout for stories about small businesses in Kansas City that are making a difference. The magazine regularly features business profiles, news updates, award recognition, and strategies written by local experts on how people can grow their business. Katie was the Assistant Features Editor at Lawrence Journal-World for eight years, Special Projects Editor at Kansas City Business Journal for almost five years and has an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
#15 Jay Senter (News)
Jay Senter is one half of a dynamic husband-and-wife team that run the Shawnee Mission Post. Jay and his wife, Julia, met while working together on their college newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. They were both serving as Peace Corps volunteers in Panama when they learned Julia was expecting their first child and ended up moving back to Jay’s hometown of Prairie Village. Upon noticing that local news sources were no longer providing the community with coverage of local schools and events, they took matters into their own hands. They started with a website and then teamed up with publisher Dan Bloom in 2012 to create the Shawnee Mission Post, and Jay has been working on it ever since.
#16 Tommy Felts (Tech)
Tommy Felts is Editor-in-Chief of a digital magazine called Startland, which reports on the most innovative business ideas in the Kansas City area. Startland loves to get ideas from corporations, government, educators, and the most cutting-edge entrepreneurs. Tommy likes to help early-stage businesses in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, and since the audience in the Midwest is highly engaged, there is always a hungry group of people eager to read the information Tommy and his team provide. Tommy worked in a variety of positions at The Ottawa Herald for 12 years before joining Startland and making a massive dent in the local startup community.
#17 Matt Watson (Tech)
Matt Watson is the founder and CEO of Stackify, which consists of a suite of tools to enable developers to deal with all of the day-to-day issues that come up in the course of developing apps and software programs. Matt figured that combining application performance monitoring with server monitoring, advanced error tracking, app metrics, and log management in one platform would do the trick, and it has. Before he founded Stackify, Matt was the founder and CTO of VinSolutions, which was sold to AutoTrader.com in 2011 for $150 million. Matt’s overriding goal is to solve problems using software and to make it affordable for all developers.
#18 Teisha Barber (Fashion)
As president of Kansas City Fashion Week, Teisha Barber is in control of the production and design of all of KCFW’s events and shows. Teisha has a Bachelor of Sciences in Architectural Studies with an emphasis in Interior Design from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Using the knowledge she learned from her studies combined with modeling experience and experience in the fashion industry, Teisha was able to make Kansas City Fashion Week a reality and a resounding success. In 2011, Teisha helped raise more than $5,000 for victims of the tornado in Joplin, MO and has been a force ever since. Website: http://kcfashionweek.com
#19 Jenny Delich (Real Estate)
Jenny Delich is a licensed realtor in the Kansas City area, making people’s dreams of owning their own homes become a reality. Jenny understands the challenges of finding that perfect home, and she has dedicated her career to pairing buyers with exactly what they need and enabling sellers to get the best possible price for their home. Jenny recently started plying her craft at XP Realty in Kansas City and before that was a member of Platinum Realty for six years. Aside from realty, Jenny is also a fitness enthusiast who is never too busy to talk about working out or meal planning.
#20 Kelsey Jones (Business)
Kelsey Jones is a talented and well-known digital marketer, consultant, and speaker who has worked with many of the heavyweights in the digital marketing space. As Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, yes, that Search Engine Journal, she managed a high-caliber internal writing team of seven writers and worked with more than 80 contributors during three fast-paced years. She has also co-hosted podcasts, been a US Search Awards judge from 2014 to 2016 and been named one of the top 40+ digital strategists in marketing for 2014 by the Online Marketing Institute.
#21 Bev Weidner (Food)
Bev Weidner is a food blogger that gets rave reviews on her exploits and photos. She also is well known for taking many photos of her twins, loves running, music, and cheese–lots of cheese. Bev got the ball rolling when she quit her job back in 2010. While she was trying to figure out her next move, Bev started blogging as a way to keep her mind occupied. Before long she was hooked on the process of blogging and sharing her food experiences with the world, and an online star was born. Bev has traveled near and far thanks to her blog and has written for a range of publications including Tablespoon, What to Expect, and The Food Network.
#22 Kasim Hardaway (Food)
Kasim Hardaway has a first name that sounds just like “awesome” and for a good reason. Kasim didn’t start out wanting to be a big-time social media influencer; in fact, he was content making waves as a digital marketer and creative consultant. With his marketing hat on, Kasim helps entrepreneurs, big brands, and small businesses tell their story to the world through a combination of community building, social media strategy, and old-fashioned digital marketing. As an influencer, his goal is to be the go-to authority on all-the-cool-things in Kansas City, and he is well on his way.
#23 Becky Hillyard (Fashion)
Becky Hillyard is a personal style blogger who has captured the attention of many heavyweights in the fashion industry. Her blog, Cella Jane, showcases Becky’s personal style on a daily basis and covers topics that range from fashion to beauty to fitness to motherhood. Cella Jane was named after Becky’s grandmother, and she published posts four times per week, like clockwork. To date, Becky has worked with iconic brands like Nike, Nordstrom, Coach, Kate Spade, and Macy’s. Becky runs the show from her home in Kansas City that she shares with her husband and two adoring kids.
#24 Sarah McGinnity (Lifestyle)
Sarah McGinnity is the proud owner of Kansas City Moms Blog, which is an online collaboration of Kansas City moms writing for Kansas City moms. The goal is to bring mothers together online, so they can create a meaningful community offline. Posts consist of what to do around town, parenting tips, ways to get involved in the community, spotlights on local business, and more. Sarah is a mother of three herself and has a Master’s in Urban Administration while also working as a freelance content strategist. She also loves trying new restaurants in her spare time and experiencing everything KC has to offer.
#25 AJ Ellison (Fitness)
AJ Ellison was born in California and now resides in Kansas City. He is a highly sought-after coach and personal trainer and has been a highly successful fitness competitor after a stellar track career in high school and at the University of Tulsa. AJ even qualified for the Olympic trials in 2000 in the 800m. In 2013, he became the WBFF Pro Muscle Model World Champion and then won the title again in 2016. AJ loves inspiring others to reach their full athletic potential and personal goals and does this through successful online business and 1:1 coaching.
#26 Andrea Krasnow (Lifestyle)
Andrea Krasnow is the creator and editor of This Kansas City Mama, which is a blog that speaks to other moms in the Kansas City area and beyond. Andrea is a proud mom herself, plus an entrepreneur, lover of the DIY approach and a part-time fashion enthusiast, not to mention a stylist with Della & Dot. Andrea started This Kansas City Mama because she wanted a place to share all her mama moments and let people know how she handles the ups and downs. She also likes to document her travels around the city and has even be featured on local show Better Kansas City, showing off her DIY techniques.
#27 Shanley Cox (Food)
Shanley Cox is the driving force behind Out to Eat, a blog that combines her passions for writing, food, and photography. Shanley uses her blogging platform to spread the word about local Kansas City restaurants, bars, and businesses, so the people of KC have an updated and accurate guide to follow when they are out and about. She loves the idea of eating local and wants to inspire her readers to do the same. Out to Eat has been featured on numerous websites, magazines, and television shows. Some of the most notable include Travelocity.com, 435 Magazine, Kansas City at Home Magazine, Better Kansas City, and Kansas City Live.
#28 Brett Miller (Health & Fitness)
Brett Miller is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for Healthy Kansas City and a managing partner for Kansas City Homes and Style magazines. Healthy Kansas City provides useful and timely health tips and advice to the people of Kansas City, in the areas of cardiac care, digestive health, eye care, fighting cancer, and more. Before his current roles, Brett was also the Publisher of LANDINGS Magazine for four years and the Publisher of MD-News Kansas City for eight years.
#29 Renee Demott (Lifestyle)
Renee Demott is the Publisher of Kansas City Homes & Style, a position she has held since 2014. Before that, Renee held the position of Publisher at Kansas City Homes & Gardens Magazine for 18 years. To say she is ‘in the know’ when it comes to lifestyle in the Kansas City area would be a huge understatement. Renee’s specialties include business management, sales and marketing, business strategy, budgeting, and advertising sales. Her love of Kansas City and its residents shines through in Kansas City Homes & Style, as it continues to make a huge impression on the city and the entire region.
#30 Shawna Allen (Lifestyle)
Shawna Allen has been in her role as owner and Publisher of iFamilyKC since 2010. iFamilyKC is a primary resource for parents and families in the KC area looking to enhance just about every aspect of their lives. Shawna is a local mom of three kids and started iFamilyKC to help people just like her. Her goal is to be the go-to resource for all things family related in Kansas City. The publication is online, in print, and a presence at more than 40 local events over the course of the year. Shawna spent more than ten years in the corporate world and then several more as a stay-at-home mom before she caught the entrepreneurial bug and took action.
#31 Kathy Boos (Lifestyle)
Since 2006, Kathy Boos has been at the helm of 435 Magazine in Kansas City. As Publisher of one of the leading lifestyle magazines in the Midwest, Kathy makes sure her team uncovers hidden aspects of Kansas City that no other publication will find. The reach of 435 Magazine is more than 200,000, which is more than many national magazines. Kathy’s drive and passion for bringing the best and most up-to-date information about lifestyle, food, and culture in Kansas City continues to make 435 Magazine a highly sought after resource.
#32 Melissa Roberts (Business)
Melissa Roberts is a powerhouse when it comes to the business world in the Kansas City area. She is the VP of Communications and Outreach at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County, as well as the President Free State Strategy Group LLC. Melissa is also a veteran of the political world and has run campaigns in Boston. She recently served as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Technology Innovation, which works to connect Kansas City policymakers with the startup community. She was born in Johnson County, is a graduate of Boston College and, in non-working life, is a diehard Kansas City Royals fan.
#33 Julie Cortes (Business)
Julie Cortes is a copywriting, speaking, and coaching dynamo in the Kansas City area. She regularly turns out profitable copywriting projects, fires up audiences with her high-energy speaking and helps people reach their full potential with a no-BS coaching style. Julie has been a successful solopreneur for more than 20 years and, during that time, has worked with countless clients as well as in a wide range of niches and industries. Julie is also the founder of The Freelance Exchange and teaches a course called Freelancing 101 at the Kansas City Art Institute.
#34 Jasen Rice (Auto)
Jasen Rice is the founder of Lotpop, which helps auto dealerships around the country with just about everything to do with their online business. That includes setting up, managing, and monitoring websites, internet sales and marketing, and more. Jasen oversees a team that has helped dealerships see internet sales increases of close to 300% and up to 4% increases in internet closing percentages within 60-90 days. Jasen started Lotpop in 2013, after a wide range of experience in the automotive industry and internet sales. Since its inception, Lotpop has experienced steady growth and is projected to continue making strides into the future.
#35 McCartney Quinn (Fashion)
McCartney Quinn is a Beatle-loving model who was actually named after Paul McCartney; her dad’s name is Paul and mom’s name is Linda, so it almost had to happen. McCartney was born and raised in Kansas City but has a travel bug and gets out into the world as often as possible. McCartney started modeling in 2011 at charitable events but has since parlayed that success into various magazine shoots in the US and Australia. She has also appeared in some music videos, modeled for boutiques and designers, done promo work for Monster Energy, NASCAR, Corona Lite and Pacifico and spoken in two Sprint commercials, with lots more to come.
#36 Luke Wade (Lifestyle)
Luke Wade is the founder of cutting edge adult recreational sports league KC Crew. Luke started the company in 2012, with the idea of bringing together great people for rec leagues and unique events to the Kansas City area. He and his team strive to bring together social-minded people and connect them in a way that wasn’t happening before he started the business. Luke has also won an array of awards over the years including the 2013 Urban Hero Award from the Downtown Council, the 2014 Rising Star Award from NonProfit Connect, the 2016 Social Media Club Trailblazer of the Year Award, the 2017 Social Sports Industry Association Product Innovation Award, and the 2018 25 under 25 Award from Thinking Bigger Business Media.
#37 Patience Randle (Lifestyle)
Patience Randle is an influencer that loves connecting with fellow creative types through the art of storytelling. Her brand Ink & Fable has been steadily growing in popularity and has amassed more than 15,000 followers in under a year. Patience is now able to use her natural abilities connecting with people, her social media skills, and her photography skills to continue to grow what she started. Her goal is to create genuine, authentic relationships with readers and followers to move beyond just the photo and hashtag concept and into something far more meaningful.
#38 Duane Hallock (Lifestyle)
Duane Hallock is a Kansas City photographer who specializes in bringing the city to life through his photos. Duane became interested in photography way back in the 4th grade when he got his first camera. Over the years, he has captured many memorable scenes through his lens, including presidents on the campaign trail, volcanic eruptions, and the miracle of birth. Duane lost the sight in one eye due to illness, but that only helped him to become more acutely aware of what was going on around him and sharpened his photography skills even more. Today, he continues to produce magical photos, seeing them only as he can and sharing them with the world.
Other website: https://duanehallock.com
#39 Kevin Collison (Lifestyle)
Kevin Collison is the founder of City Scene KC, which has become the go-to source for all things Downtown Kansas City. Kevin leads a team of dedicated people who love Kansas City and the residents that call it home. Kevin has been involved in the revitalization of Downtown Kansas City and continues to work toward creating a vibrant and sustainable Downtown core. Kevin is a skilled speaker with numerous events under his belt and has more than 2,000 active followers on Twitter, keeping them updated on a regular basis. If it has to do with Downtown Kansas City, you can bet Kevin is in the know and has the situation under control.
#40 Dan Stalp (Business)
Dan Stalp is an author and top-rated transformational speaker that lives in the Kansas City area with his wife and kids. Dan’s books have delved into the topics of sales, sales management, and leadership, and his impact as a speaker is legendary in Kansas City and beyond. As a presenter, Dan always focuses on the “why” behind the “what” to help you create the best person possible, whether that’s in business or your personal life. Dan’s goal is to inspire and educate while helping to guide people on the journey of being the best they can be and living a fulfilling life all around.
#41 Valerie Jennings (Business)
Valerie Jenning is CEO and founder of Jennings Social Media Marketing. Valerie recognized that social media was going to be a big deal and founded Jennings Social Media Marketing way back in 2003. In 2012, she founded a second agency called Viral Bolt Media. Valerie’s goal was to position her agencies for rapid growth and adopt the latest in technology, and it has worked beautifully. She was a DMN 2018 40Under40 Honoree, Kansas City’s Most Wanted Honoree in 2015, and part of Most Influential Women in Business Class of 2014. Valerie is also involved with several local charities including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kansas City, Pet Partners, SafeHome, and City Union.
#42 Shawn Kinkade (Business)
Shawn Kinkade is a licensed Business Coach and the President of a business strategy, consulting and coaching company called Aspire Business Development. Shawn is also a member of the Heartland Coaches Association and the Professional Business Coach Alliance. Shawn graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and started working for Andersen Consulting. It was there he began helping people solve critical business issues, and that continued with his work at Sprint coaching and mentoring his team members and now with Aspire Business Development.
#43 Ashley White (Fashion)
Ashley White is a content strategist and Kansas City fashion blogger who has been making waves online since 2010. Her blog is called Le Stylo Rouge, which is French for “the red pen,” a reference to Ashley’s love of editing. Ashley has a unique style of her own and loves to share her ideas and stories with her readers. It’s all about self-expression for Ashley, and to date, Le Stylo Rouge is making the cut, having been featured in Marie Claire, 435 Magazine, INK Magazine, and the Kansas City Star, to name a few. She was also named Best Style Blogger in 2015 from 435 Magazine and part of 2016’s Most Stylish list from StyleBlazer.
#44 Katie Thompson (Lifestyle)
Katie is a local Kansas City local food and lifestyle influencer. She explores the best of Kansas City’s food & drink scene, our city’s newest sights & sounds, and occasionally – recipes. Katie also runs KansasCityBox.com, an ecommerce website that provides thoughtful, memorable gifts curated with love from Kansas City. Their gifts are sourced from their favorite makers and products from the Kansas City Metro and the Midwest and come packaged in wooden keepsake boxes.
#45 Burton Kelso (Tech)
Burton is the Chief Tech Expert at his company, Integral Computer Consultants. For over 25 years he and his team have helped homeowners and businesses overcome tech challenges associated with virus and spyware removal, home and office network setup, data recovery and making sure the technology they use makes their lives easier. Burton regularly appears as a guest tech expert on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Fox 4 Morning Show and, KCTV 5 Better Kansas City, KSHB 41 Kansas City Live and FOX 26 St. Joe, MO offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets.
#46 Mark Van Baale (Business)
Mark Van Baale is a Social Media and Web Manager for the City of Kansas City. Since 2013, he has accomplished quite a lot for the city, including building the number of Twitter followers from 6,350 to 79,000, developing strategic plans for implementing social media objectives, training team members on the basics of social media, and managing the City’s website. Mark is also known in Kansas City for starting the Kansas City Job Seekers website in 2010. This site acts as a resource for unemployed people in Kansas City or those in the midst of a career transition.
#47 Wes Bergmann (Tech)
Wes Bergmann is the Startup Engineer for a company called BetaBlox that helps startups get up and running faster and more efficiently. He has been with BetaBlox since 2008 and is so enamored with startups and early-stage ventures that he even named his dog Bootstrap. Instead of charging hourly rates or leasing space, BetaBlox takes a small piece of each company they work with, and Wes has owned part of more than 70 startups in the Kansas City metropolitan area. BetaBlox has been featured in such impressive places as Inc. Magazine, HubSpot, New York Post, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine, and Wes has played a significant role in making it happen.
#48 Aaron Fulk (Business)
Aaron is the founder and CEO of Lillian James Creative, which is an agency that helps brands, event planners, product teams, and startups connect with a broader audience. Aaron loves running a company that focuses on helping other businesses grow and reach their full potential, and she is proud of the team she has assembled to get the job done. Aaron has two adoring kids, and even though she has been part of the sales and marketing world for years, she always pushes a family-first mentality to her employees, so everyone feels welcomed and supported at all times.
#49 Anne Cull (Business)
Anne Cull is the President of Think Viral, which is a resource helping industrial companies successfully put social media processes in place. Anne has been at the helm of Think Viral since 2010, and in that time, has worked with hundreds of development, construction, manufacturing, and supply chain companies to help them enhance their business relationships online. She believes that it’s all about forming relationships and that it’s essential to have an experienced team in charge of all online conversations a company has with its customers and business connections.
#50 Abraham Gin (Business)
Abraham Gin is the CEO of Gin Consulting and the Senior Consultant of GIANT Worldwide. Abraham’s experience in the field of coaching and personal development is vast, and his consulting services are always in demand. He works on the premise that a true leader’s qualities comprise four categories, which are Personality Quotient, Emotional Quotient, Intelligence Quotient, and Spiritual Quotient. Abraham uses a combination of shock and immersion training combined with real-time feedback and coaching to help create leaders that make a difference. He has worked with leaders from all areas of the world and all generations and feels he is only getting started.
It’s easy to see that influencers add tremendous value to society and have the potential to add value to marketers and small business. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to rely solely on other influencers to make an impact. Whether you are an individual or a company, there are certain steps you can take to help build your own influencer status, develop a commercially valuable following, and become an authority in your chosen niche.
Tips for Building Your Influencer Status
There’s no question that in the modern world you need to build a solid online foundation to be an influencer in any niche. That’s the way people will find you, and that’s the way you will be able to communicate regularly. Beyond that, here are some specific tips that will help:
Use the Right Channels
Not every audience is on every social media channel, and it’s important to focus on the ones where your audience likes to hang out. Wasting time maintaining a presence on social platforms your audience has no interest in is just that: a waste of time.
Add Value to Your Follower’s Lives
When you expect someone to give you their time, money, or attention, they will always want to know “what’s in it for me?” If you think about adding value to their lives by providing useful and relevant content, you will create a bond of trust, and they will be much more likely to follow your recommendations. Think ‘service’ not ‘sales’ and you should be fine.
Pay Attention to What Works
There is no need to try and re-invent the wheel when you are trying to become an influencer in your industry. Look around and pay attention to what is working, then do the same thing. If a particular type of content seems to get high engagement for other influencers in your niche, make it your own and share it with your own followers.
It’s easy to get lethargic when it comes to creating and sharing content on a regular basis, but it’s important to stay consistent. Even if it’s a short quip or thought you had about a particular subject, share with your followers at least once per day. If you make this part a “must” instead of a “should,” you’ll be more likely to stay consistent.
There is no room for phonies if you expect to become a successful influencer. Most people will see right through any attempts to be something you’re not. Be yourself, because that’s always good enough.
Reflect Your Core Values
Whether you’re acting as an individual or as a business, make sure to create a set of core values and then live by them with every interaction you have with your followers. This is part of being genuine, and it will give you a guide to follow if you are ever unsure.
Listen to Your Followers
Listening to what your followers want and then providing it is the fastest way to become a respected influencer in your niche. And to listen, you should first consider asking them. Post questions, create polls and stay on top of what they want so you will always be the first to give it to them.
Perhaps the most important tip to becoming an influencer, and the one people struggle with most, is patience. You have got to be patient, or it just isn’t going to work. Every overnight sensation you see online has spent months or even years growing their audience to get to influencer status. If you stay consistent and be patient, you can get there, too.
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