8 People With More Social Influence Than Large Travel Brands



Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.


Access exclusive SMW+ content by marketers whose careers you can emulate with a free 30-day trial!

You might be surprised to learn that certain social influencers have built online followings so strong that they dwarf giant brands and do so within the brand’s industry. While doing some research into the travel industry I found some examples that support this notion.

Unlike brands that have large marketing budgets to spend on building reach these guys built their audience and following on their own. As influencer marketing becomes more and more popular, we’ll see more personal brands, “influencers,” competing with corporate brands. Here are 8 personal brands that beat Kayak, Conde Nast, BB Travel and American Airlines at their own game regarding social influence:

1) Scott Eddy | @MrScottEddy

Scott’s constantly on Klout’s top 10 Travel Influencer list and has over 665,000 followers on Twitter. He’s worked on building his brand since the beginning of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and is specifically focused on travel, hotels, food and wine.

Scott’s frequently doing amazing things that attract attention. Most recently he was driving supercars at the Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience, located in Park City, Utah. Scott’s successfully figured out how to grow influence around things he loves, while influencing large amounts of traffic. He’s one of the top traffic earners in the travel scene on social media.

scott eddy


2) Megan Claire | @MappingMegan

Megan has one of the highest engagement rates in the Travel scene on Twitter, beating out over 10 major brands from my last count. She calls Australia home, but is there so rarely, she’s a true citizen of the world. Her and her husband Mike have built a brand that people live through vicariously & have visited some of the best places on earth.

Because they’re visiting and photographing some amazing places, they earn tons of engagement with their audience. She’s an expert on traveling versus vacationing and talks about how you can do both and make money. If Twitter norms apply, she’ll be gaining a few hundred thousand more followers this year.



3) Justin Carmack | @TrueNomads

Justin’s massive travel following is the envy of some of the top travel aggregating brands. He’s from the States, but spent a lot of time in some of the most beautiful places in the world building his social media following.

Justin mainly scuba dives, and that shows through his awesome content! His audience has very specific interests and carries a lot of weight with scuba vacationers. When Justin endorses a specific location, he drives a lot of traffic. He’s in the middle of trying to visit the top 100 best scuba destinations, which will leave him with an even larger following.



4) Ann Tran | @AnnTran_

Ann has learned the subtle art of monetizing social media influence. As an early adopter she started out with consistency and has gained a massive 471,000 followers on Twitter alone, and is the envy of the travel brand industry. So much so, that she can drive traffic to any luxury travel brand.

Ann has a passion for sharing her secrets to success. She’s contributed to and shares great tips with her audience. If you want to learn social media principles from a pro that you can use for your brand, follow her.



5) Yasmin | @LuxTravelDiary

Yasmin is one of the biggest luxury travel writers in the UK. Her website and social media presence is a force to be reckoned with. Her engagement beats a lot of high end travel brands.

Keeping exclusive brands and travel as part of her branding has worked very well @LuxTravelDiary. Her niche is focused on reviewing each destinations accommodations and travel details. Since luxury travel today relies heavily on recommendations, this works in her favor.



6) JD Andrews | @earthXplorer

JD’s got the adventure travel market locked down with hundreds of thousands of eyeballs watching when he posts and a great blog to go with it. JD owns this sub niche because he’s active and adventurous. His great photography skills help as well.

As you watch what he posts, you’ll see JD positioning his personal brand with native product placements that resonate with his audience without cheapening his brand. This combined with his reporting on off the beaten track locations make for an engaging social network experience.



7) Paul Jonson | @luxury__travel

Paul has built one of the top luxury travel personal brands in the world and has over 527,000 followers on Twitter with more on his other social profiles. Many travel brands on the top of Klout’s list of influencers can’t claim that much power.

He’s got a great eye for location, elegant luxury and posh locations. He’s highly adept at creating a polished social experience for people dreaming of travel, or planning a trip. His content marketing and masterful use of the influence generated from it fuels viewership, and generates significant influence in the Travel space.



8) Jeane Beena | @SurfNSunshine

Jeane’s audience is long standing and loyal. She’s great at interacting and keeping her audience in a constant conversation. She understands what is interesting to her audience outside of their direct niche.

She blogs about food and wine pairing and the hottest places in the world to get them. Jeane’s got more followers than most of the hotels in the country and when she tweets, she commands large engagement. Brand’s out there: watch and learn.

It’s amazing that personal brands today can command more influence, and generate more attention within large markets than compared to large corporations competing within these markets. The playing field has been level for a while, this is proof and we can expect to see personal brands that understand how to engage their audiences continue to grow.

About the Authors:

Clayton Wood: Clayton Wood is the CEO of Identity Labs and has founded several successful digital brands. He’s a consistent contributor to media outlets and loves educating people about Digital Marketing.

Aidan Cole: Aidan Cole is the founder of Prosper Social Media, a strategic SEO/SEM/social marketing company. He is also the founder of nGage.Social, a new and unique Influencer marketing platform that aims to help social influencers network, grow and monetize effectively. nGage is coming soon. Connect with Aidan on Twitter (@aidanjcole) and Facebook (/aidanjcole) or checkout his website

Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.

Learn More

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here