How to build your brand on Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok & YouTube without spending any money

Find out how to create organic content without paying for ad placements on Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube.

You are reading: How to build your brand on Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok & YouTube without spending any money

As we begin to navigate the new decade, social media marketing strategies will need to evolve. Instagram and Facebook are becoming ever more crowded, so your current social media strategy may not be as cost-effective as it used to be.

The original attraction to social media was you could reach a huge audience without spending a penny if you could do it right. So maybe it’s time to look further afield, and outside the big four of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Here are four alternative social media platforms and how to create organic content without paying for ad placements:

Pinterest Marketing Strategy

So why include Pinterest in your marketing strategy? Well to put it simply, Pinterest has been crowned as “the only place where people actually want to see adverts”. What? Surely consumers actively on the lookout for adverts is the best thing since sliced bread for us marketers.

The reason behind this is that Pinterest is all about discovery. People use Pinterest to find new ideas, products and services that they can trust and the proof is in the data.

Proportionately, Pinterest drives 33% more shopping traffic to sites than other platforms.

Pinterest drives 33% more shopping traffic to sites than other platforms

Source: Pinterest

Pinners are looking for content that is going to help them actively change their lifestyle. This is where Pinterest differs from Instagram. For content to be successful on Pinterest, it is often useful rather than just being aesthetically pleasing.

Its 2 billion monthly searches mostly revolve around Art, Art Supplies and Hobbies, Recipes and Shopping. Pins can link to a blog or website, which is why CTR is so important to Pinterest.

Who uses Pinterest?

Pinterest has over 300 million monthly active users, 70% are women, and Millenials use Pinterest just as much as Instagram. As when choosing any channel, it is vitally important to consider whether your target customer group is exposed to this channel at all, or it’s already a wasted effort.

40% of pinners have an income in excess of $100k, so they may be more affluent than most audiences. However, this does not necessarily mean they have a huge disposable income, so perhaps consider how elastic your product is.

Finally, Pinterest is all about discovery. 98% of pinners tried something new that they found on Pinterest. Such a strong figure says a lot about an audience, you could certainly interpret it in different ways; users could be savvy or even early adopters, making the platform ideal for a new product or service launches, how-to guides or tips and tricks.

How do I create pinnable content?

Pinterest is not the same as Instagram. Although that may be a little unnerving to some of us who were born into a world of Facebook and Instagram, you can take comfort in the fact that Pinterest works in a similar way to a search engine. For example, you can climb up the page rankings through optimising your content in your pin’s description.

Pinterest pinnable content

1. Keyword suggestions
2. Search Results Ranking

Community management may seem different but is very much similar to every other social media. Within Pinterest, you can find Group Boards. These are boards that have multiple contributors and a vast amount of followers, in theory, it is a bit of a brain-storming session but also an “in” to the community – and hopefully a relevant one. Share your own content to the board, but also react to others to get the most out of the community.

As with all social media, if your Pinterest marketing strategy plays by their rules, then you’ll do well. Their rules include pinning other contributors pins, creating your own pins and pinning videos directly to your board rather than through a third-party, like YouTube.

A good place to start is by creating a pinnable graphic for each of your blog posts to drive traffic to your website but also to grow your thought-leadership and following on Pinterest. Win, win!

Harley-Davidson underpinning success

You might not think that this historic motorcycle brand really fits into the aesthetic of Pinterest, but it does, and it does it very well. Harley-Davidson receives 627.4k monthly unique views through their Pinterest marketing strategy, which is a good organic reach.

If you check out their profile you can see they’ve got 21 boards all dedicated to different communities. They’ve got they’re 2020 motorcycle launch pins, gifts for him, and a whole board dedicated to women who ride. It shows a great way to differentiate pins.

Snapchat Marketing Strategy

Implementing organic marketing on Snapchat to grow your brand is very different from any other social media platform. The simple reason for this is that there are very basic public profiles, to subscribe to a profile, a user will have to search for your username or scan a snap code.

Arsenal FC’s Snapcode, Source: Snapchat’s Snapcode Guidelines

Snapchat is unique in the sense that once a ‘snap’ or picture or video is sent, it is finite. As a rule, it can generally only be opened and viewed once before it disappears forever. This creates a sense of urgency when content is consumed, in other words, viewers pay attention.

For this same reason, public profiles do not have the ability to have any evergreen content. Content disappears, so you won’t be able to build a beautiful profile page like on Instagram.

This is also why content is less polished, but perhaps more authentic and transparent, making Snapchat the ideal platform for branding, authenticity, depth and attention. A Snapchat marketing strategy is therefore ideal for those looking to build long-term relationships with their customers.

Who is snapping who?

Which customers can I reach with Snapchat? As a channel, Snapchat has 310.7m active users, 75% are under 34, and 61% of them are women. Interestingly, 38% of Snappers can’t be found on Facebook or Instagram, so if you aren’t reaching the right people on these older platforms, maybe it is because they simply aren’t there anymore.

One thing is for certain, organically, you will only ever reach your most engaged followers. If you’re a brand with a short-term vision and don’t expect to reach 2030, then Snapchat is not for you. By engaging your most relevant followers, you can turn them into advocates, and those of us in marketing know that word-of-mouth is the marketing equivalent of gold dust.

Is Snapchat dead?

As a platform, I myself am surprised that Snapchat is still around, kept alive by the 35% of teenagers that hail it as their most popular platform. Despite Kylie Jenner’s tweet in 2018 that declared Snapchat to be obsolete and Instagram launching stories, it has survived and its shares doubled in 2019.

If you’re wanting to grow your younger audience, then don’t dismiss using a Snapchat marketing strategy, because it’s here to stay.

How to build a Snapchat following

Because you cannot just stumble across public profiles within the app, a Snapchat marketing strategy requires an omnichannel strategy. In other words, you have to share your snap code or username externally across your other channels, so include it in your Insta bio, or wherever your fans can find it.

This means that following you requires a lot more effort on users than other social media channels, so you have to make it worth it. The content you share on Snapchat, either to your story or to individuals, has to be extra special – remember, these are your most valued customers, so they are worth the effort!


Source: Sprite Brazil

Exclusivity should be at the centre of your Snapchat market strategy, which is ideal for new product launch teasers, early access, or exclusive discount codes. Behind the scenes content also works well as highly engaged consumers will be eager to learn more about the brand they love.

You may have heard of someone known as DJ Khaled. His rise to fame has been very much coupled with his legendary status on Snapchat. Khaled gets millions of views on every single snap, and this is why:

“The thing is that what you see on Snapchat, that’s DJ Khaled. That’s Khaled for real. That’s Khaled.”

– DJ Khaled, the King of Snapchat

In a world of mistrust, people are calling for brands to be more transparent, so don’t be afraid to put your brand out there when creating a Snapchat marketing strategy.

So we know by now that digital marketing is all about metrics. Snapchat’s organic metrics are limited to views, view time and demographics. Although there are few, they can be mighty! Use them to inform and adapt your Snapchat marketing strategy.

You can also introduce your own metrics. By using you can shorten your links, and introduce UTM tracking to monitor your customer’s journey once they leave Snapchat. You can also create unique promo codes exclusively for your Snapchat following and then measure their checkout usage.

TikTok Marketing Strategy

What on earth is TikTok? At only a year old, let me tell you they’re exploding and have already clocked up 1.5 billion downloads, and it’s users are aged between 16 – 24.

It’s UGC central, involving a lot of memes, amazing travel videos and dance challenges. It’s also addictive and easily shareable. This is why a lot of TikTok content ends up on other social media platforms, such as Twitter, further expanding your reach.

Due to its infancy, a TikTok marketing strategy is not really your go-to for generating leads, but it’s great for building brand awareness. The reason behind this is because it is so easy to go viral, all you need is one good video.

This is how the TikTok algorithm works:

  • A new video is shown to a small sample between popular videos
  • If gets 1 like to 10 views, then it is shown to more people
  • Triggered by the velocity of engagement
  • Goes viral

TikTok also covers the cost of a music licence, so not only can you pair your brand with the most popular songs for free, but users can overlay and reuse audio to create new and exciting content. The result, endless scrolling through content.

One of my favourite examples of this is the current trend of #youwouldntsteal. For those of you who remember the anti-piracy adverts that were ironically placed before a film that you had bought on DVD, using even more ironically a pirated soundtrack, have now become a meme.

Is TikTok just a fad?

A fad or not, you should still capitalise on TikTok just as all those one-hit wonders do in the music industry or all those Vine stars, they’re still riding the wave. The potential brand value gained from TikTok will likely last longer than the platform will.

If you’re planning to develop a TikTok marketing strategy, then you better start now. Right now, it’s a pretty uncrowded space for brands so there’s the opportunity for first-mover advantage. Plus TikTok are spending big money on TV advertising, you might as well benefit from it!

The Washington Post takes the lead

In a way to engage younger readers, The Washington Post has surprisingly risen to the top of TikTok in terms of brands thanks to Dave Jorgenson. His creativity has led to hundreds of thousands of views and followers, despite the difficulty of selling a newspaper to youths.

Jorgenson now compares the company’s use of TikTok to that of the old political cartoons and to show the behind the scenes of journalism. Using The Office as inspiration, he tries to dispel fake news.

@washingtonpostTurns out the newsroom wasn’t empty #holidayovertime #newspaper? Birthday Suit – Cosmo Sheldrake

How to go viral on TikTok

TikTok is all about creativity and humour, so keep these two themes in mind when you start creating content. These are much more important than aesthetics, it’s more about showing a new part of your brand rather than the pretty consumer-facing side you’ve already perfected.

Since it’s such a new platform there’s no best practice, so it’s time to get experimenting! Why not start a challenge, take part in a hashtag, or create your own? Although you may struggle with some of the dance challenges, a lot of the other challenges are very simple to replicate, but don’t forget to add something new.

Don’t forget to engage with your growing community, like and share other TikToks and comment on them too. Although you can’t really have a conversation, it’s a good start.

YouTube Marketing Strategy

Do you know who the world’s 2nd biggest search engine is? It’s not Bing, it’s actually YouTube. So why do so many brands not have a YouTube marketing strategy? Why do companies use it as just a video storage facility?

For 70% of Millennials it is their go-to when it comes to understanding or doing something new. YouTube has a great potential for B2B, so unlike the other social media we’ve covered in this blog, it’s not just consumer-facing. If you don’t believe me, 59% of senior executives prefer to watch videos than reading text – me included!


Source: Think with Google

Everyone watches YouTube, even the over 65s have a presence despite being more difficult to reach on social media than other generations. It is also available in 80 different languages and in 91 different countries. I stand firm when I say there are few companies who won’t be able to reach their target audience via YouTube.

YouTube is all about video marketing, it is also owned by Google, meaning there are a number of benefits. Google will promote their own products, which is why YouTube videos rank highly on SERPs, Google Analytics can be used to monitor metrics from embedded videos and a lot of SEO tactics should be included in your YouTube marketing strategy to help your videos climb the rankings.

YouTube has been littered with scandals involving content creators since the beginning, including manslaughter, imprisonment and anti-Semitism. All these are a bit of a PR blunder for YouTube, but really the biggest threat to YouTube would be to lose it’s content creators.

When the brand has tried to compete with the likes of Netflix, like tweaking their algorithms in a way creators can’t understand so threaten to leave YouTube. However, at the end of the day, it’s just too popular to let go of. Vimeo and Dailymotion have both tried and failed to steal YouTube’s market share, but I think it’s safe to say that YouTube is still going to be around for a while yet.

How to make the ultimate YouTube videos

As I said earlier, YouTube and SEO overlap quite a bit, just like when you write a blog you start with keyword research, you should for a video too. Look at what your audience is searching for, what problems could you help them solve with a nice How-to video?

As with blogging, you should aim to create long-form content. Remember, YouTube is trying to rival Netflix more than TikTok, so think episodic content. Make sure your video lasts at least five minutes and that you can follow it up with another video with the same theme but different topic.

Now it’s time to optimise your content. The majority of click-throughs for new videos come up from the suggestions bar, so choose a catchy title and thumbnail. You should also upload a transcript, in multiple languages if your business is global, so YouTube can understand what your videos are about so it can serve it to more relevant viewers. YouTube does create its own transcript, but if you’ve ever watched a video with subtitles, you’ll know it’s not very good.

Some final tips are to be passionate about a niche. Unpassionate people are boring, and YouTube is very crowded, so this will help you cut through. Include a call to action at the end, like subscribe and like to help your video rank better. And lastly, share your video externally and ask others to embed it on their blogs to cater to a wider audience.

Build a YouTube channel like Lego

You cannot talk about YouTube without touching on LEGO. Using LEGO to create stop-motion videos has long been popular content on YouTube, but who would make these videos better than LEGO themselves?

In addition to “How-to make…” LEGO creations, LEGO have now challenged young fans to write their own Lego Star Wars stories as a part of their episodic LEGO Star Wars Battle Story.

They’re a bit out of this world, but a great example of how a YouTube marketing strategy should listen to consumers to create viral content – and that’s why they’ve earned over 8m subscribers.


So there are four different channels to consider for your organic social media marketing strategy, including Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. Now that you know the basics of how to create a social media strategy using various different channels, read how not to do it.

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