Have you met Cathy Gillen? This boutique PR agency founder…
One could say that Twitter is the reason why people know me as ‘Car Chick’ and partially why this blog exists. Back in 2008, I began exploring Twitter for the purpose of navigating it successfully for the association where I worked. I thought it would be a unique way for us to communicate with our members.
At that time, the social network was still in its infancy. I began conversing with dealers and automotive enthusiasts. We were a tight-knit, little group back then. My regular participation in conversation and sharing of relevant news led others to identify me as a trusted resource in the auto industry. My experiment essentially defined my brand. (Read more about how I have used this to my advantage through this presentation I gave at American University last year over at the Beekeeper Group blog.)
Social media has certainly helped define who the big players are in many industries and subjects. New auto enthusiasts, industry reps and community managers are joining the online conversation every day. It’s easy to follow the brands you love on Twitter, but what about the actual people? That takes a little more time to discover. That’s why I’ve put together this list of real people (in no particular order) who you can engage and interact with on Twitter.
The top 20 automotive people to follow on Twitter and why:
1. Scott Monty (@ScottMonty) – Scott leads Ford’s social media, providing informative tweets on his company and his perspective on auto industry current events. Before Ford and Twitter, Scott became well known for his Social Media Marketing Blog.
2. Chris Baccus (@cbaccus) – Chris has more agency experience in his pinky than, well, I will ever have. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the Twittersphere both from the automotive marketing standpoint (thanks to his blog) and as a knowledgeable enthusiast. Oh, and if you love tacos, he writes about the gas station variety, too.
3. John Voelcker (@johnvoelcker) – Want to know the latest in the green car industry? Follow John. He’s the editor of Green Car Reports and is one of the best Twitter resources in this emerging area of passion in the auto community.
4. Chris Hosford (@chosford1) – The PR mouthpiece of Hyundai in the U.S., Chris is an avid tweeter. He’s glad to engage with you in conversation and does not shy away from questions from others in the community.
5. Daniel Gray (@MPGomatic) – As stated in his Twitter bio, Daniel is a bold supporter of fuel efficient cars. He’s opinionated and enjoys friendly sparring via @ mentions. He’s knowledgeable and helpful. Check out his blog for more ‘mileage matters’ musings.
6. Tim Jackson (@TimWJackson) – Want a pulse on the auto dealer community? Tim’s your guy. He’s currently the president of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association. You won’t find anyone on Twitter (or off, for that fact) more energetic than Tim.
7. David Shepardson (@DavidShepardson) – There aren’t many journalists dedicated to covering the DC automotive beat, but Dave is one of the few and the proud. Giving Tim Jackson a run for his money in the energy department, Dave is everywhere. He pumps out stories like the oil flows in Green Acres. Get your dose of public policy and Detroit-centric auto industry news here.
8. Ralph Gilles (@RalphGilles) – Speaking of Detroit. I hope by now you’ve heard of Ralph Gilles, the man behind the new SRT Viper. This guy is an enthusiast to the core, and he’s not afraid to respond to your tweets. So go ahead and follow him.
9. Beth Paretta (@BethParetta) – And speaking of the SRT Viper. Beth is one of my favorite leading ladies in the auto industry, and also someone who is worthy of a follow. She’s a total gear-head and knows what she’s talking about when it comes to motorsports.
10. Scott Oldham (@RealScottOldham) – Editor of Edmunds.com, Scott regularly shares news and information related to the auto industry and the cars that make it so interesting.
11. Jessica Caldwell (@JessRCaldwell) – If you prefer stats over reviews, then give her a follow. Jessica is a numbers whiz (a.k.a. Senior Analyst) for Edmunds.com. She doesn’t tweet nearly enough, but I can always hope that she’ll get Twinspired…
12. Juan Barnett (@DCAutoGeek) – Like a little sass with your morning coffee? Then follow Juan. A government employee by day, budding auto blogger by night, Juan is never afraid to share his opinions via his blog, Twitter and Facebook.
13. Ray LaHood (@RayLaHood) – On the topic of government employees, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has become pretty good at tweeting. Championing distracted driving (among other transpo issues) for the past few years, the Secretary has gained quite the following.
14. Adam Snider (@AdamKSnider) – Also on the transportation scene, Adam reports for Politico, a popular web and print publication inside the D.C. beltway. Get a flavor for auto public policy talk here.
16. Mike Driehorst (@MikeDriehorst) – Mike is a dedicated Chrysler employee who’s like Quick Draw McGraw on Twitter. Partially responsible for manning the @Chrysler handle, he’s courteous, responsive and ready to field your questions about his company.
17. Brandy Schaffels (@FiestaGrrl) – As fiesty as she is excited about her Ford Fiesta, Brandy writes about cars for Truecar.com. She’s often on the auto show beat, so keep an eye out for her trademark pink streaks in her hair.
18. Scott Burgess (@AutoCritic) – Don’t let his Twitter handle fool you, Scott may be an excellent critic of cars, but he’s also great at supporting other auto journalists. As the Detroit editor for Motor Trend, Scott knows his stuff. Give him a follow and don’t be surprised if you find him luring you into a friendly Twitter debate.
19. Lesley Hettinger (@LesleyHettinger) – In public relations for General Motors, this professional car gal tweets about her company and interacts with other thought leaders in the industry.
20. Andrew Stoy (@Andrew Stoy) – Digital editor for Autoweek.com, Andy’s dry wit comes through in his tweets about the auto industry. Much like the other AW editors (@WesRaynal and @Dutch_Mandel), Andy’s tweets are mostly “automotively” enthused.
21. Melanie Batenchuk (@CarChickMWB & @BeCarChic) – You didn’t think I’d end this list without putting myself on it, did you?! Yes, it may seem a bit trite, but like I said, Twitter is partially the reason for this blog and my automotive brand. So if you enjoy what I have to say, then please join me in 140 characters worth of conversation on Twitter.
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