Marketing budgets remain tight, and there's more competition than ever in the high-ROI world of social media. So how can you make your mark? In a post at the Influential Marketing blog, Rohit Bhargava tells the story of Ana Free, a Portuguese singer-songwriter who has racked up 20 million views at YouTube and 20,000 fans at Facebook.

"For the past three years," he says, "she has been recording herself in locations ranging from her bedroom to regional concert stages," he says, "singing cover versions of popular songs and her own original compositions accompanied by just her guitar."

So what sets Free apart from all the other YouTube hopefuls with a guitar and a camcorder? According to Bhargava, it's her intuitive marketing strategy, which he translates into tips like these:

Invite viewers to experience your entire creative journey. "All of her videos (including her first video) are available on her channel," he notes, "and watching them gives you the sense that you are seeing a talented musician mature with each video—and offers a personal connection to her story because you get to see it evolve."

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