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How to Use Content Marketing to Grow Your Business

Posted by YM Social on October 26, 2015 marketing is the reigning king and has been for over a century.


Enter ‘The Furrow’. Unless you were born very early in the last century or even the century before that, you’ve probably never heard of it but it was one of the earliest pioneers of content marketing. First published by John Deere in 1895, it is widely considered to have begun the trend of large companies offering consumers helpful resources geared toward their product owners while piquing the interest of potential consumers in their industry to expand their market share. This, along with other marketing tactics by the company obviously worked because the John Deere company is ubiquitous and hugely successful in the farming, agriculture, and riding mower industries.  It all started being the helpful brand.


Now we fast forward 120 years and content marketing is everywhere, and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, all the moves that Facebook is making places an even larger emphasis on original content.  Last year Facebook changed its algorithm to focus on what it called “high quality” content. If marketers don’t adjust their tactics, they will lose relevence and their audience completely. So what’s a marketer to do? Follow the POES, it always knows!

In this case, POES stands for Paid, Owned, Earned, and Shared Media.

Paid Media – Display ads, banner ads, pay per click search ads, and sponsorships. Paid Media is effective for advertisers because there is a degree of control, scaling, and it can be implemented on demand. Marketers now have another option to grow their brand as the helpful and trustworthy brand that, if done properly, can add a tremendous boost to your marketing efforts.

A big player in this space is the ever-expanding world of Social Advertising that is now available on various social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. If done correctly (not spammy, too sales driven, or too pushy) they can help all other marketing efforts simultaneously. Remember, you are advertising to people during their free time, when they are talking and connecting to their friends and family. Respect that, and use it to your advantage when crafting your content so they promote your brand through media sharing, (more on that later).


Owned Media – All media assets that your brand owns and controls. Websites, blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts fall into this category.  Major brands are now staffing entire content marketing and editorial teams to manage, steer, and promote their content creation streams online.  Much like ‘The Furrow’ that I introduced you to earlier in this blog, companies now count on this modern content marketing to facillitate brand discovery through social channels and online search. This content informs, engages, and fosters relationships between the brand and customer throughout their lifecycles, so the customer can count on these brands to be the trustworthy authorities in their field.


Earned Media –When your public & media relations earns brand coverage through various publications online and off. When businesses establish a positive brand presence, they create a buzz without having to advertise. They let the news media outlets, bloggers, and their satisfied customers share brand laurels on social media and beyond.  Brands have recently utilized the strength of their social audience by empowering them to share and publish content on behalf of the brand, thus inspiring even greater word of mouth. This can also be done by a tremendous customer service component in your business. We have an instant feedback loop now. A marketer and a company needs to listen closely to your audience. They are trying to help you improve your organization.   Someone complaining online is your opportunity to turn this aggressive complainer, into a company advocate. Earn their respect, and earn them as an amplifier for your brand. Should this case turn into a positive resolution, you can likely turn the client into a case study and use them for testimonials content marketing if they agree to participate in your study.


Shared Media – Where all of the aformentioned marketing efforts come together with the help of your audience. Remember that loud-mouthed disgruntled tweeter turned brand advocate? He will spread your brand’s good word if you use the relationship your brand has fostered with him properly. A company’s social media presence today should be built to make it simpler for fans to share with one another. This is an opportunity to spark conversations regarding your brand through the content you create, publish, share, and promote. In order to for all of these facets of content marketing to work synergistically, your content needs to speak to your audience in the way they want to be spoken to.   This is shared media.  When wanting to leverage shared media content, keep the end user in mind, as well as the actions you would like them to do with your content.  Whether it’s sharing, watching, or engaging through comments, make sure you are creating the right content in the right channels to optimize for shareability.


Remember, when your brand is providing consistent, informative, authoritative, and helpful information, your brand builds trust. The more your audience trusts you, the more they share your content. The more they share your content, the more positive sentiment around your brand is nurtured.  The more positive sentiment around your brand, the more successful your company is as a whole. Content marketing can contribute to the five attributes of successful search engine optimization: QUART: Quality, Uniqueness, Authority, Relevance, and Trust. Do this by utilizing all of the above media, and your brand and audience can work together synergistically to create a holistic marketing machine to drive your business for years to come.

Find your key market segment. Build you brand.  Build your reputation.

One post, tweet, and customer interaction at a time.



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ymarketing’s Top 10 iPad Apps

Posted by admin on September 20, 2012

With all the hype around the iPhone 5 release, we didn’t want the iPad to be left out of the spotlight. As marketers, we’ve come to find that the iPad has been a handy tool in helping our team be efficient and well connected with what’s going on in the internet world.


So we wanted to know, what are the ymarketing staff’s 10 applications for the iPad?
Based on our survery, we built a list of the Top 10 “must have” iPad apps featured below.


Even though the list contains mostly apps for social networking and entertainment, we learned that some of our staff find the following iPads applications useful for work: SEO Web Tools, PlainText, Starbucks (yes this is a work related app!), and NYTimes.


See how you compare with our employees by checking out the complete list below and let us know which apps you would have included with a comment below!






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How to Give Your Social Media Presence a Well Deserved SEO Boost

Posted by admin on March 3, 2011

If you have been following any of our digital marketing blogs, you’ve probably already read reasons why you want to have a social media presence.

But as a quick reminder, here are some stats.

MarketingProfs Twitter Stats

  • 42% of Twitter users use Twitter to learn about products/services (Source: Edison Research April 2010)
  • 84% of Facebook users use the brands they follow (Source: DDB survey of Facebook users 2010)
  • 95% of Facebook users expect getting a special treatment but 94% are also willing to advocate the brand in return (Source: DDB survey of Facebook users 2010)

But the big news that’s come out fairly recently is that Google now factors social media into its ranking algorithm.

Danny Sullivan talks about how much of the search that people are witnessing is in real time tweets. However, there is a  move toward looking at social media for broader search. According to Sullivan in his article What Social Signals Do Google & Bing Really Count?, “Google and Bing tell me that who you are as a person on Twitter can impact how well a page does in regular web search. Authoritative people on Twitter lend their authority to pages they tweet. When it comes to Facebook, Bing says it doesn’t try to calculate someone’s authority. Google says it does, in some limited cases.”

As with all search, page rank depends on the quality rather than the quantity of the links. Google and Bing won’t pay any attention to reciprocal followers. But if you can get someone with authority on Twitter to point to your blog post, the search will pay attention.

All of this points to the next step in social media marketing – boosting your reach.

While you want to connect with as many quality people as you can in your social media, you also want to spread out your network as much as possible. The reason is simple cause and effect.

CAUSE: If you legitimately have a large group of followers and fans, and you establish a leadership reputation for creating valuable content and insight, then…

EFFECT: You will increase your social media influence, and that will be noticed by the search engines.

Apart from the new search benefits, there are other advantages to boosting your numbers.

1. Brand reach and protection.  We have talked about insuring your brand’s reputation through social media marketing. This is a combination of best practices (transparency, engagement, commenting etc.) and consistent monitoring. But if you are only being followed by a few, your brand reach through social media is limited.

To increase your numbers you need cross promote with as many social media channels as possible, look into partial content automation, determine a strategic blog posting effort that is frequent and consistent, and maintain an ongoing active presence on your social networks.

2. Additional traffic. The more you spread out in social media, the more others will start paying attention to you and your products. Remember that stat above – 42% of Twitter users use Twitter to learn about products/services.

ymarketing has recently had success boosting many of its clients’ social media presence. For example, within a period of 6 months we took Medicare Made Clear, a campaign designed to empower consumers to better understand Medicare, from zero Twitter followers  to over 13,000 followers. So yes, it can be done.

If you are interested in finding out more about our Social Media Boost program, read our program details.

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51% to 79% of Social Media Fans More Likely to Buy and Recommend

Posted by admin on January 31, 2011

Chicken & Egg - Social Media FansIs a social media fan more likely to buy and recommend a product because they were already a loyal customer or did their social media interactions with the company influence their actions?

Just like the chicken and the egg, and which came first – it doesn’t matter.

The facts are clear – fans of a company’s social media Facebook page or followers of a Twitter feed are the kinds of customers and prospects digital marketers want. How they became fans is really immaterial.

Here is some data to back up these claims.

1.  The most optimistic of the data comes from Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate.  They conducted a study of 1500 consumers that made it clear that consumers who are Facebook fans and Twitter followers of a brand are more likely to not only recommend, but they are also more likely to buy from those brands than they were before becoming fans/followers. The numbers are impressive:

  • 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower.
  • 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.

Facebook Fan Loyalty Chart

2. Another study in October of 2010 from DDB and Opinionway saw that recommendation was far more likely to happen than purchasing. From their pool of 1600 consumers from around the world, Facebook users who ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page are 33% more likely to buy a product, and 92% more likely to recommend a product to others. There was a slight dark cloud in this study which found that 36% of brand fans have unsubscribed from a company’s fan page.

3. The email marketing services provider ExactTarget came out with a report “Social Mythbusting.” They did not ask the question about whether a fan would be more likely to recommend, but they did ask the purchase question. What they found was that Twitter followers are more likely to buy a brand they are following than the same brand’s Facebook fans. They also brought in email into this equation. The numbers are more sobering than the other studies; only 17% are more likely to buy from a brand after becoming a fan of Facebook. But 37% of Twitter followers are more likely and 27% of email subscribers are as well.

ExactTarget Facebook Fan loyalty


If there is a takeaway from all of this it’s that companies should be paying close attention to their social media fans and followers. But that does not mean selling to them on your social media platforms. That’s a sure way to get them to unsubscribe fast.

They became a fan for a reason.  Here is a chart from eMarketer that gives you some idea why they might follow you.

Why users become Facebook fans

Whatever the reason, fans and followers should be a valuable part of your marketing strategy. You want to encourage them to act as advocates for your brand with their own friends and contacts. So don’t just up-sell or cross-sell to them, figure out how to mobilize them so they want to share your messages with others.

By influencing your influencers (fans/followers) you will have access to their networks. This essentially makes each and every one of your fan a hub and with each recommendation from a fan, your network of potential customers and exposure increases exponentially.

How has you experience been with your social media fans and followers? What is your retention rate?

Illustration credit:

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American Idol: Who Will Be Eliminated Tonight? Let’s Ask Twitter and YouTube

Posted by admin on May 12, 2010

With only 4 contestants remaining we’re nearing the end of American Idol Season 9.  On last night’s episode (5.11.2010), Grammy and Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx returned as a guest mentor to help the final four prepare to sing hit songs from popular movies.  Each contestant sang a solo and a duet.  The judges were unimpressed with the solos but gave rave reviews for the duets.

The four finalists include: Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, Casey James, and Michael Lynche.

Who do you think will be eliminated tonight? We want to hear from you!  If you have been following American Idol Season 9, please comment below and tell us who you think is going to be the next American Idol. But before you do, check out the facts we have gathered from our search engine and social media data.

Celebrity Twitter Endorsements:

Justin Bieber recently tweeted about how amazing one of Crystal’s performances was.

Alex Lambert, a former contestant, showed his support for Lee calling him the “next idol.”

Lindsey Lohan showed her support for Casey by simply calling him “American Idol.”

Momentum is building in Twitter and YouTube

The most compelling numbers lay within Twitter and YouTube.  While Crystal was the front runner for weeks, Lee seems to be catching momentum; making this somewhat of a 2 horse race.  Casey comes in behind both in sheer search and social media numbers but Michael seems to be trailing them all.  If the momentum continues Lee DeWyze just may take the coveted title of American Idol over season-long frontrunner Crystal Bowersox.
What do you think?  Will our actually predict the outcome of American Idol Season 9? 

**If you are a new reader to ymarketing’s American Idol Prediction Project, check out our past blogs to understand how our Idol Prediction Project works, and how it led to the correct upset prediction of Kris Allen over Adam Lambert in 2009

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Can Google & Twitter Continue to Predict Who Will Be Voted Off American Idol?

Posted by admin on April 28, 2010

And then there were 6…

As the 2010 Season of American Idol comes to a close there is no shortage of speculation as to who will take the coveted title of American Idol 2010. On Tuesday night’s episode (4/27/2010), the contestants each sang a Shania Twain song and America then voted for their favorite performers. The votes are now in and the top 5 will be revealed tonight.

If you have been keeping up with American Idol Season 9, please tell us who you think will be eliminated this week by commenting below. But before you do, check out the facts we gathered below.

NOTE: If you are a new reader to ymarketing’s American Idol Prediction Project please check out our past blogs to understand our Idol Prediction Project works, and how it led to the correct upset prediction of Kris Allen over Adam Lambert in 2009.

American Idol Prediction Project from ymarketing

What the data tells us about tonight:

After reviewing our search and social media indicators it appears that tonight Crystal and Lee will safely make it into the top 5. Michael and Aaron, on the other hand, are most likely to be in the bottom three; leaving a toss-up between Casey and Siobhan for the remaining spot in the bottom 3.

What is Twitter telling us?

AC Television said:
@AC_TV: People Get Ready Crystal Bowersox; Best American Idol Performance of All Time: Review on…

According to the Adam Lambert fan site:
@_adam_lambert_ Why Lee Dewyze Will Win ‘American Idol’: Crystal Bowersox might be the front-runner, but so was Adam Lambert…

What do you think?

Agree or disagree with our data? What other data points would you like us to explore? Post your comment below and together we’ll track how American Idol Season 10 plays out.

Put the Prediction Team to work for you

If we can use search and social media data to predict the results of American Idol, imagine what we can do to predict trends in your industry. Contact us today to find out how we can help you improve your presence online through search and social media.  

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Favorite FREE Social Media Tools for 2010

Posted by admin on February 26, 2010

It seems that there are more Social Media Tools on the market today than there are Starbucks, so it’s more important now than ever to save time (and money) to find the tools that excite even most experienced Social Mediaphiles.

That’s why ymarketing would like to share some of our favorite (and free!) Social Media Tools for 2010, in no particular order. Some of these tools have been out for some time, while others are brand spanking new. The purpose of this blog is to promote Social Media tools that will make your life easier and more fun, thus the categories will be somewhat random, but their effectiveness will not. Enjoy!


Great all-in-one comprehensive browser for real-time and social web. Tweetdeck allows users to open their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace accounts all in one directory.

hootsuite  Productivity enhancement service for Social Media users. Hootsuite Helps organize, schedule, and deliver content through Facebook and Twitter. is one of the first, and still our favorite, URL shortener for tracking and analytics.

vlingo  Voice interface technology that let’s you instantly acces your Facebook and Twitter accounts simply by speaking into your phone. Vlingo is a great hands free option for mobile tweeting on the go.

cotweet Allows multiple people to communicate through corporate Twitter accounts and stay in sync while doing so. No dropped balls with CoTweet, no stepping on each other’s toes.

flickrcreative commonsflickr creative commons search is a great place to find free photos (under a creative commons license) that you can use in blog posts, presentations, etc.

topsy Great competitive intelligence for twitter is what Topsy gives you. Keep your social media ear to the ground with this excellent tracking tool. 

wefollow Want to see how popular you are on twitter? Wefollow allows you to view categorical rankings of who’s hot on Twitter. 



For those of you who are interested in everything social media tools, and want a few suggestions of some great paid tools, here you go:

flowtown  Flowtown is a super cool tool allows you to take a random person’s email address and quickly determine what social networks that person is on, as well as name, age, gender, and occupation. (I believe it costs $15 a month)

swix Dashboard program for your Social Media account, Swix promote it as Google Analytics for Social Media. We love the scorecard aspect of it. ($10 a month)





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American Idol Influentials: Adam Lambert Impacts Google News

Posted by admin on

American Idol Season 9? February 2010? Sorry, we had to question that ourselves when we looked at the search and social media data following American Idol’s Guys Top 12 show. Why?

Show contestant Todrick Hall is running neck and neck with pre-show favorite Andrew (don’t call him Andy) Garcia in Google News results. Garcia earned that popularity with a bold, acoustic version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” during the Hollywood Auditions. But Hall? We didn’t see that coming.

Adam Lambert Picks Todrick Hall for Idol

That’s the beauty of this American Idol Prediction Project, we never know what we’ll find in the data. Turns out Adam Lambert tabbed Hall as his “favorite”, on a day when the man that beat him out for American Idol Season 8, Kris Allen, headlines the performances on the results show.


Twitter & Blog Data Predict First Guys to Leave Show

If you read our prior post noting the American Idol Top 12 Girls we think are in trouble in tonight’s elimination, you’ll know that we wanted to use social media and news data early on this year while the search trend data builds. We narrowed down the list of the two girls that will leave tonight to the three most likely, with another two on the fence. With the guys, it’s more difficult to discerne which two will leave American Idol this week.

We would assume that any Guy with both good Twitter mentions and news result lift (over baseline, lowest news results by Michael Lynche) would be safe. While any American Idol Top 12 Guy with low numbers on both would be in trouble. But what do you do with the Guys who have mixed data? Please, look at the chart below and tell us what you think. Here’s what we see:

Safe: Andrew Garcia, John Park, Tim Urban, Alex Lambert, Casey James.

Bottom 3 Bound:  Jermaine Sellers and Lee Dewyze.

Mixed Data:  The rest of them, who knows. To us Tyler Grady and Joe Munoz seem most at risk, followed by Aaron Kelly and Michael Lynche (although their Twitter pull should keep them safe this week).

 Digital Marketing Prediction of American Idol

Our Prediction: Of the two Guys leaving, they’ll come from the group of Sellers, Dewyze, Grady and Munoz. 

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Google & Twitter Predict Who’ll Be Voted Off American Idol |

Posted by admin on February 24, 2010

Finally! That’s about all you can say if you’re a fan of American Idol. Finally, there’s more to talk about than Ellen and Simon. Finally, we get to Hollywood, get on with the competition, and get to vote some contestants off the show.

On Tuesday night American Idol showcased the Top 12 Girls, followed by the Top 12 Guys on Wednesday and a Thursday night elimination show where two from each group will be headed home. If you watched the show, tell us who you think is leaving this week with your comments below. But before you do, check out these facts.

NOTE: If you are a new reader to ymarketing’s American Idol Prediction Project please check out our past blogs to understand our Idol Prediction work, and how it led to the correct upset prediction of Kris Allen over Adam Lambright last year.


Tweet Volume

We like to use TweetVolume as one quick and easy measure of popularity. The only drawbacks are you can’t customize date ranges and you can’t distinguish positive Tweets from negative ones. Still, it’s a great tool for the pulse of the masses.

Looking at Tweet Volume following the American Idol Girls Top 12 show, we see some clear winners and losers. Ashley Rodriguez owns Twitter with 132,000 micro blog mentions, outpacing her nearest challenger, Janell Wheeler, by 3-to-1. (No surprise, as Randy Jackson called her “Simon’s girl” on the show, in reference to his comments thus far in the competition.)

Besides Rodriguez and Wheeler, the only other Idol Girls showing Twitter strength are the young teenagers, Haeley Vaughn and Katie Stevens. Some Twitter activity centers on Lacey Brown, Lilly Scott and Didi Benami but the rest are off the RT radar.


News & Google News

This year we’ll be taking a look at how the media can shape public opinion and influence who becomes the next American Idol. Case in point, Crystal Bowersox. This wholesome, natural musician from Ohio has one of the lowest Twitter mentions and appears to be the contrarian; perhaps the most anti pop-idol of the group. However, her guitar-harmonica rendition of “Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette struck a note with the press, placing Bowersox in headlines and lead images on USA Today, Newsday and more. (Perhaps no surprise, as her interaction with her young son has been one of the heart-warming stories of Season 9 to date.)

The net result of Bowersox’s media coverage? She’s safe. Looking at all News mentions and then again at just Google News articles within 24 hours of the show, Bowersox leads the news coverage. For our data chart below, we took the lowest number of news mentions as a baseline and noted incremental mentions. Our theory was there is some amount of press that all the Top 12 girls get, regardless of popularity, and we prefer to measure lift.


Who’s in trouble? Google News Predicts the Bottom 3 Girls

Take a look at our Tweet Volume and News Heatmap. It clearly shows that Michelle Delamor, Paige Miles and Katelyn Epperly should plan on wearing comfortable shoes Thursday night, as they may never see the safety of the couch. The only other two that could slip into this bottom 3 appear to be Lacey Brown and Siobhan Magnus.

Idol Top 12 Girls Google News


What do you think?

Agree or disagree with our data? What other data points would you like us to explore? Post your comment below and together we’ll track how American Idol Season 9 plays out.

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