Meet the influencers: Ian Anderson Gray

Headshot of Ian Anderson Gray smiling in front of red background

This month’s influencer is Ian Anderson Gray—founder of the Confident Live Marketing Academy, and international speaker, trainer, teacher and consultant. From an early love of tech to going viral, Ian shares the secrets to his success, along with some vital career tips.

Where did your story begin?

Growing up, my passions were music and technology. I wrote computer programmes in my bedroom on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum and played the cello and sang. I had to decide whether to go down the science or the music route. Music won, but a few years later while I was performing as a classical singer and teaching, I set up a web agency with my dad. I hadn't lost my love for technology! Then I created my first blog at and that changed everything.

How did you become so influential?

At first through a slightly controversial blog post about Hootsuite. Then through Google+ and Triberr I connected with other like-minded and influential social media marketers. A few years later I spoke at a social media conference in Manchester and I also attended the biggest social media conference in the world—Social Media Marketing World. The following year I was asked to speak at it and I've spoken there since. I wrote an article on how to broadcast to Facebook Live from your computer and it went viral—actually crashing my website!

Do you have any golden rules/mantras for life or work?

Trust and integrity are vital. I'll only ever write about a tool or service I use and recommend. So, even if a company offers to pay me a lot of money to write about their tool in a positive way, I won't do it. Editorial integrity is everything!

I've also learnt that I can't do everything on my own. Over the last year I've worked out what my strengths and weaknesses are, and I've delegated the bits that I'm not good at or are holding my business back.

What are your three biggest tips for building an audience?

Give value, be authentic and connect with the right people.

Giving value: Share really valuable content that inspires and helps others. Share your expertise, share everything you know and do it in a fun way.

Authenticity: We all need to be a lot more raw and real on social media. Share what makes you you: your imperfections as well as things you are good at. Live video is a great way to be authentic, but there are other ways—such as using a tool like Bonjoro to send short personal messages to your customers. Most people aren't doing things like that, and being real on social will set you apart.

What are your favourite tools/software?

I use so many amazing tools on a regular basis, but there are some I couldn't do without.

Agorapulse is my go-to social media management tool and LastPass is my password manager. I use a variety of tools to broadcast including OBS Studio, Wirecast and BeLive—all of which are great.

I particularly love the power of Wirecast which allows me to do some really professional broadcasts on Facebook or YouTube.

What do you feel is the next big trend in social media and content marketing?

I think we'll see more VR, AR, AI, and bots. I also think we'll see more authenticity on our content, in particular with live video. I predict (and hope!) that LinkedIn will launch live video.

Read more about Ian’s work on his website and follow him on Twitter.

read more from the experts →