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4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From Whether you're a CMO or just trying to build your own brand, these influencers can help you reach your goal.

By Jonathan Long

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Today, social media is a very crowded and competitive ecosystem -- it can be extremely difficult for brands to break through and spread their message to a large number of potential new customers.

Marketing via social media has become a necessity. According to a post by DMA, 45 percent of surveyed marketers are looking to increase brand awareness through social media. The same post stated that spending via social media is expected to increase 18.5 percent in the next five years.

Social media influencers provide an ideal avenue for reaching a younger audience. An influencer marketing survey by Collective Bias of 14,000 respondents stated that 70 percent of millennial customers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers when making a buying decision. Younger consumers trust influencers -- it's the reason influencer marketing has exploded in popularity over the past few years.

By leveraging the network and trust online influencers have developed, a well-crafted message can effectively reach the audience a brand seeks to target. CMOs looking for examples of how to correctly craft brand messages and leverage social media influencers can learn from those currently ahead of the curve. Here are five young influencers to learn from.

1. Jake Paul

Jake Paul is an actor, YouTube personality, and social media influencer with over 11 million followers on Instagram alone. He is also the founder of Team 10, a creative agency and influencer marketing label that has received significant investment. Paul has leveraged his social media presence, allowing him to grow his personal brand. While sometimes controversial, Paul is known as one of the world's most prolific YouTube creators.

Paul serves as an excellent example of how you can leverage content to drive sales. Having built a YouTube following of more than 17 million subscribers, Paul uses his network to sell merchandise and promote the brands he is involved with. Using entertainment as a platform to drive sales is not a new concept, but Paul shows how valuable creating a network can be. CMOs can look to Paul as an example of how to effectively do product shout-outs in a semi-organic manner.

2. Jonathan Foley

Jonathan Foley is the founder and CEO of Wulf Marketing as well as the creator of popular Instagram accounts such as @deep and @positivity. Combined, his accounts have more than 9 million followers. A Florida-based entrepreneur and influencer, Foley has focused on innovative influencer marketing and social media content. From helping companies create targeted content to building social media profiles from scratch, Foley has found his niche in next-generation marketing.

CMOs can pick up some effective strategies from Foley's work. He uses a share-for-share strategy in the early stages of an Instagram profile to get the content exposed to a similar audience. Leveraging your network to gain exposure in front of an entirely new group of followers can help companies grow their online profiles quickly.

When it comes to measuring the success of a social media campaign, you need to have clearly defined goals. Foley suggests considering the type of campaign you're running and whether you're looking for deep engagement or simply views -- driving impulse sales and attracting follower to sell to at a later date require a different approach.

Related: How to Grow Your Brand and Monetize as an Influencer

3. Tiffany Zhong

Tiffany Zhong is the founder of Zebra Intelligence, a firm that works with venture capitalists to improve their profiles with younger audiences. The self-described Gen-Z whisperer, Zhong has amassed a large network of social media influencers and industry professionals. She's used these networks to develop expertise in the trends and marketing strategies that attract Gen-Z consumers.

Authenticity is more important in advertising now than ever, and CMOs need to maintain a sense of honesty in their advertising in order to effectively grow their brand amongst young consumers.

Given the shorter attention spans of many teens, Zhong recommends companies constantly iterate their product -- and this goes for marketing techniques as well -- you need to constantly test, change and optimize campaigns to attract new followers and retain customers without appearing stale. Brands need to focus on constantly innovating the way they market to the younger demographic in order to find success.

4. Ben Pasternak

Ben Pasternak is an Australian entrepreneur, developer and social media influencer based in Manhattan. He created his first iOS apps at age 15 and went on to develop Flogg, a social media marketplace, and Monkey, a video chat-based app for teenagers to meet friends. Pasternak was named one of Time's most influential teens of 2016 and has continued to develop new products since the sale of Monkey.

Pasternak has achieved success by focusing on the teenage marketplace. Understanding their need for connection, fast-changing experience and control, he has successfully marketed his products as a medium through which teenagers can make life-changing connections. CMOs can copy this blueprint to market their products as a vehicle for social connection, which works well when targeting younger consumers.

Jonathan Long

Founder, Uber Brands

Jonathan Long is the founder of Uber Brands, a brand-development agency focusing on ecommerce.

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