If you want to be a success on social media, it helps if you’re a pop star, apparently.

Forbes has released a list of the top ten “Social Networking Superstars,” and of the ten, only one isn’t in the music business (That would be the soccer star Christianao Ronaldo, who ranks seventh overall). Apparently, it’s not enough for musicians to simply sing/play their instruments well enough to become big in the music biz anymore; now you need to be comfortable enough to entertainly tweet your thoughts out to the masses on a regular basis and have a fan page for people to demonstrate their Likes, as well.

While the top two positions on the Forbes chart are somewhat unsurprising (Rihanna and Lady Gaga are in pole position and close second, respectively), something that might be unexpected is the number of artists who score well despite their stars having faded somewhat in terms of sales. Eminem ranks third on the list, with Shakira and Lil Wayne showing up in the lower half of the chart. Apparently, there’s more to social media success than just dominating the charts or offering up radio-friendly unit shifters. That said, Justin Bieber’s on the chart at #4, so clearly there’s some form of alchemy between interesting or controversial social media content and record sales (Latest tweet from the Bieb: “slept on my neck wrong last night. messed me up. this isnt supposed to happen at 18. #OldManProblems lol” Hardly the most scintillating stuff, you have to agree).

According to Twitalyzer’s Eric Peterson, quoted in the Forbes piece, the reason for these particular musicians to chart when some “bigger” musicians fail to show up is simply one of engagement and offering value for money/time: “Lots of these folks are more active in the medium,” Peterson explains, “staying engaged and giving their audience something to respond to.”

The full list, complete with follower and fan count, is:

  • 10. Selena Gomez, with 12.3 million Twitter followers and 33 million Facebook fans
  • 9. Lil Wayne, with 7.9 million Twitter followers and 40 million Facebook fans
  • 8. Taylor Swift, with 17 million Twitter followers and 33.6 million Facebook fans
  • 7. Christiano Ronaldo, with 12 million Twitter followers and 47.5 million Facebook fans
  • 6. Shakira, with 17.6 million Twitter followers and 52.5 million Facebook fans
  • 5. Katy Perry, with 24.5 million Twitter followers and 45.7 million Facebook fans
  • 4. Justin Bieber, with 26 million Twitter followers and 45.8 million Facebook fans
  • 3. Eminem, with 11.9 million Twitter followers and 60.3 million Facebook fans
  • 2. Lady Gaga, with 28 million Twitter followers and 53 million Facebook fans
  • 1. Rihanna, with 23.8 million Twitter followers and 59.6 million Facebook fans

Something that comes to mind looking at the list is whether or not there are demographic lessons to learn from particular rankings. For example, Eminem’s Twitter followers are relatively low (in the context of the chart, at least; compared with we mere mortals, 11.9 million is an astonishing number), but his Facebook fan count is amazing. Could it be that his fans skew older, and that translates into Facebook over Twitter…?