How to Create a Social Media Portfolio

Portfolios. In general I understand them—a collection of your work assembled to demonstrate your experience and expertise in an area. But I’ve struggled with social media and figuring out how to create a social media portfolio. Because although it’s my work it’s not for me. Most of my social media experience is creating content and strategies for other people or brands. It’s like ghostwriting. It’s ghostsocialing. (I sure hope that’s a hashtag.) My mission is to figure out how to present my social media portfolio in a way that demonstrates my experience and expertise but doesn’t break client confidentiality.

How to Create a Social Media Portfolio

As I searched the Internet I didn’t find a lot. Most how-to create a portfolio advice is for writing clips, marketing, or how to display your personal social media stats. All of this is good and useful, but off topic. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because it’s a tricky balance. So I started asking writing friends how they add ghostwriting credits to their portfolio. Short answer, they don’t. They leave it out and just refer to “ghostwriting services” or “x amount of books/blogs ghostwritten for x amount of clients.” Vague but what else can you do?

But I want to do more for my social media portfolio.

The golden rule when you create a social media portfolio: show don’t tell

You know you need to do it in your writing but it also is important in your portfolios. But how do you show (or even create a social media portfolio) when your clients don’t love the idea of admitting they don’t run their own accounts? Or what if you did strategy work with a client, how do you display that? And what if you worked with a client at one point and their feed looked amazing but now they manage their own and it isn’t so awesome? How do you show that?

Here are my best three ideas for building an awesome social media portfolio

First, showcase the services you offer

The best social media portfolio’s I’ve seen break the services down into bite-sized pieces.
Create a social media portfolio by starting with your services and expertise.

Here are a few tips for creating this section of your social media portfolio.

  • Images are your friend. Find generic stock images representing the services you offer and the types of clients you serve
  • Highlight the services you offer
  • Make it interesting

You can expand on and explain the services you offer, or not. It depends on your target client and what will speak to him/her.

Second, list your clients

Gulp.

I know, we’ve been talking about the situation where you can’t name your clients or you aren’t sure how to talk about them. We’ll just do our best here.

Remember how you listed your services a few minutes ago? These are now our categories for organizing our clients. So, in my case it’s Consulting, Social Media, Blogging, and Platform Strategy. Divide your clients into categories (they can be in more than one) and make them look pretty.

If you can’t name your client then describe them. You can list them as a Wellness Company in Vancouver, BC for example. If you can’t show their logo or brand then find a nice stock image that represents the type of business they are. Now list how you worked with them according to your categories. Bing, bang, boom.

When you create a social media portfolio you can't always showcase your clients. If you can't, find an image representing their brand/business and describe how you served them.

Here are a few tips for creating this section of your social media portfolio.

  • Describe the types of clients you’ve worked with and the types of services you provided
  • Include links to client websites if you can
  • Include client testimonials where you can

In my mock-up example I haven’t expanded to this point but you can see how more is more here. However, if you can’t say more due to client confidentiality then a beautiful image and a short description of the work you did will suffice.

Third, make sure your personal social media profiles are optimized

I’m listing this third but your social media profiles are the first and best part of your social media portfolio. You don’t need them optimized to create a social media portfolio, but this is where many of your future clients will find you for the first time. You want to make a positive, memorable impression here. Wherever they find you.

I’ve outlined how to optimize your social media profiles before but here are the highlights.

  • Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo
  • Make it easy for people to know who you are/what you do
  • Link to your website
  • Include keywords about your services
  • Be clear on your location/contact info

A few other things to consider when you create a social media portfolio

  • Think about what you want to be hired for. Is it social media management? What about content creation, content curation, platform development, strategy, etc. Curate your portfolio to display that—you don’t need to list EVERY client or every freelance job you’ve ever performed (I mean, you can, but put some thought into it)
  • Things to cover: who you are (about), your mission, what you do, and who you serve (aka who you want to work with)
  • Is there an area you’d like more work in? Highlight this throughout your services, experience, expertise, and even which clients you mention

Portfolios. In general I understand them—a collection of your work assembled to demonstrate your experience and expertise in an area. But I've struggled with social media and figuring out how to create a social media portfolio. Because although it's <em>my</em> work it's not <em>for</em> me. Most of my social media experience is creating content and strategies for other people or brands. It's like ghostwriting. It's ghostsocialing. (I sure hope that's a hashtag.) My mission is to figure out how to present my social media portfolio in a way that demonstrates my experience and expertise but doesn't break client confidentiality.

Setting Social Media Goals: How to Do it and What to Track

Here’s the thing. We need social media goals because we need to know our time is worth spending on social media. How can you figure this out? By reaching goals that move your business ahead. How do you reach those goals? First you need to set them. Today we’re talking about social media goal setting—how to set social media goals and what to pay attention to.

Setting Social Media Goals

The first step: When setting social media goals, you need to be realistic

Goal setting. You’re going to need goals. Let’s agree they’re integral to this process. However, while it’s fun dreaming and thinking big, the work of it is figuring out how to reach your goals. The best way to set goals you’ll actually work to achieve is following the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting model. It’s quick, straightforward, and keeps you focused on action. If you’ve taken my free five-day marketing challenge you’ve gone through this process with me and I hope you’re still working towards them! Start with setting S.M.A.R.T. social media goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive.

The second step: Audit your current social media efforts

This is important to make sure your goals are based in reality and to ensure your profiles are on brand. You can audit your social media presence in any number of ways but I recommend creating a spreadsheet and collecting the following information.

  • Platform name
  • Whether or not your profile is on brand (Yes or No)
  • Whether or not your password is saved in a central place (like a password safe; Yes or No)
  • How many friends/followers your profile has
  • What your target/ideal number of friends/followers is

This is a simple document but it helps you stay organized. I also recommend looking at your follower number versus your follower goals and measuring them against the S.M.A.R.T. goals system. Are they achievable and relevant? Will they help you reach your social media goals? If not, adjust them as necessary. Need more? Here are five tips for optimizing your social media profiles.

As part of your audit also look through your posts from the past couple weeks. Ask if your posts are on brand, interesting to your ideal customer/reader, and personable. If not, there are a few more social media goals to add to your list.

The third step: Create a social media strategy

You knew I’d go there

You know what you want, you know where you’re going, now you need to figure out how you’re getting there. That’s all a strategy is. It’s a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Don’t freak out! It’s not hard and it’s not restrictive. Having a strategy breaks down these huge, intimidating goals and makes them reachable. Go for it!

And don’t worry if you’re lost, I’ve done the heavy lifting—here’s how to create a social media strategy in five steps. You’re welcome.

The fourth step: Measure your impact by paying attention to the right metrics

When you’re setting social media goals it is easy to become obsessed with metrics and check them five times a day (or more). But this is not good for your mental health. You can’t ignore metrics but you also don’t need to focus on them every day. Check your metrics every week, month, quarter, or whenever makes sense to you and pay attention to the ones that will move the needle towards your social media goals. I can’t tell you the exact metrics you should watch but I will caution against vanity metrics that make you feel good but don’t mean anything. Once you start measuring you’ll understand what I mean.

Here are some suggestions of metrics to watch (also known as key performance indicators).

  • Follower growth
  • Frequency (how much are you posting?)
  • Content type (what are you posting?)
  • Engagement/Reach
  • Link clicks
  • Social media referrals (on your website)
  • Email signups

Setting social media goals helps you control how much time you spend on social media and keeps you focused on why you’re there. It can help you get to know your audience better, determine the type of content you produce, and see what’s working. By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, doing a social media audit, creating a social media strategy, and measuring your platform growth you will find building your brand on social media not only makes sense but is fun and worth your valuable time.

Here's the thing. We need social media goals because we need to know our time is worth spending on social media. How can you figure this out? By reaching goals that move your business ahead. How do you reach those goals? First you need to set them. Today we're talking about social media goal setting—how to set social media goals and what to pay attention to.

Do you have more tips for setting social media goals? Please share!

How to Add Captions to Facebook Videos

Subtitles. Words. Closed captions. How do people add captions to Facebook videos?

How to add captions to Facebook videos

I wondered the same thing, is adding captions to Facebook videos some sort of magic I wasn’t privy to, or perhaps a paid feature for rich people? Well, it turns out there’s one easy way to add captions and I’m here to blow your mind. Maybe.

Do I need to make an argument for adding captions? You scroll through Facebook with your phone/computer on silent like I do, right? So even though “everything’s all about video” people still need a hook to draw them in. I believe the hook is captions. Tell people what they’re watching. Don’t make them work too hard.

How to add captions to Facebook videos

  1. If you’re on a page, click in the “write something” box and then on the camera icon like you’re going to add a new post (because you are). If you’re on a personal profile click on the Photo/Video link in the “what’s on your mind?” box. You’ll find this at the top of your timeline or news feed
  2. Upload your video, add your description and screenshot and then click post
  3. Once the video is ready to view, hover over the video and click the three dots in the top right-hand corner, then click on Edit Post
  4. Your default view is on the first tab, Basic. Navigate to the second tab, Captions
  5. Here you’ll see two choices: Upload SRT File or Generate. Let’s choose Generate
  6. Here’s where things get magical. You’ll see Facebook auto-populate your captions and now all you need to do is tweak them (their voice recognition is good, but it’s fallible)
  7. Once you’re happy with the captions, click Save to Video and you’re done! You have just added captions to Facebook videos you genius you!

If you’re wondering about the SRT File option, this is a SubRip file you have to set up ahead of time in Notepad or TextEdit. You’ll need to understand the formatting and know your caption time spans so if you aren’t following this sentence just stick with the Facebook-generated captions, alright?

Top tip: I schedule video posts for my clients and was dismayed when this didn’t work. When your post is scheduled you can’t generate captions to Facebook videos but you can still upload a SRT file. So don’t worry if you can’t generate captions—just create a reminder to add them once your video posts/publishes on Facebook.

Subtitles. Words. Closed captions. How do people add captions to Facebook videos? I wondered the same thing, is adding captions to Facebook videos some sort of magic I wasn't privy to, or perhaps a paid feature for rich people? Well, it turns out there's one easy way to add captions and I'm here to blow your mind. Maybe.

How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

Overload. Burnout. Addiction. Whatever you call it, social media overwhelm is real and reduces our capacity to connect…ironically.

How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

I heard a stat the other day saying we look at our phones an average of 150 times per day. I don’t know if it’s true but when I’m deep-down honest with myself I wonder how many times I look at my phone. A lot. And why? Much of the time I’m not doing anything. Opening apps, refreshing feeds, seeing if that was my phone that buzzed.

And that’s just checking what other people are posting. What about posting itself? How much time do I spend thinking about social media? If I’m deep-down honest…more than 150 times per day. Thinking about strategy, researching tactics, and testing tools can be a full-time job if you let it.

So what can be done about social media overwhelm?

Oh, lots. First of all, you can take the extreme approach by avoiding it, banning it from your life, removing apps from your phone, or doing a social media detox. All those things are fine—but extreme. If you’re trying to grow your platform going off social media, although good for your mental health, doesn’t help you grow. What if there was a way to have the best of both worlds? Limit the time you spend on social media/in the digital world but be present when you’re there?

Yes, I’m trying to paint a picture of you being intentionally social rather than mindlessly scrolling. Not a crazy thing! I think you can do it!

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Here are my top five tips for avoiding social media overwhelm

  1. Create a strategy
  2. I do this for a living so of course I’ll recommend building a social media marketing strategy. This isn’t hard but you do need to spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of social media. Why are you there? What are your goals? Who do you want to connect with? Figure these things out and everything gets easier from here. (Want some help? Here’s my Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers.)

  3. Create a posting schedule
  4. Your posting schedule (also known as a content calendar or social focus) is a lifesaver. Instead of showing up going “I need to post today but I don’t know what to dooooooo,” you say “OK, so my focus today is encouragement so what do I have that’s encouraging? On one of the accounts I manage I created a basic posting schedule to help me come up with content but to also remain consistent. Mondays: Contests or opportunities, Tuesdays: General knowledge, Wednesdays: Ask a question, Thursdays: Contests or opportunities, Fridays: Article share. See? There’s a posting schedule, just like that. (If you want to go deeper, here’s my article on how to create a content calendar.)

  5. Choose your focus (ahead of time)
  6. You can’t be everywhere. So which network will you focus on? There is a lot of advice out there for which networks have the biggest payoff but you will need to decide for yourself what works. A couple questions to consider when choosing your social networks: Where are you most comfortable online? Where are your clients/readers most comfortable online? (You can go deeper on choosing your social networks here.)

  7. Get help
  8. Whoa. But we writers are solitary creatures! Yes, but we also tend to get in our heads and spiral. When you’re feeling social media overwhelm creep up, get help. This could be by speaking with a mentor or colleague, taking a course/learning a new skill, or hiring someone. The point is, get help. (Here’s a great story about a time I was asked for help and we ended up re-launching JenniMarie’s photography business.)

  9. Use scheduling tools
  10. Use them like they’re going out of style. USE TOOLS! They not only help you organize your social life, but if set up right, they allow you to focus on what you need to and filter out the rest. The right scheduling tools will keep social media overwhelm at bay and help you reach your social and business goals. (Here are my 15 best apps for freelance writers, including my favourite social media scheduling tools.)

    OK! That wasn’t so hard was it? Now get out there and be social!

    I heard a stat the other day saying we look at our phones an average of 150 times per day. I don't know if it's true but when I'm deep-down honest with myself I wonder how many times I look at my phone. A lot. And why? Much of the time I'm not doing anything. Opening apps, refreshing feeds, seeing if that was my phone that buzzed. And that's just checking what other people are posting. What about posting itself? How much time do I spend thinking about social media? If I'm deep-down honest...more than 150 times per day. Thinking about strategy, researching tactics, and testing tools can be a full-time job if you let it. So what can be done about social media overwhelm? Here are my top five tips for avoiding social media overwhelm.

15 Best Apps for Freelance Writers

Here’s my roundup of 15 best apps for writers. Let me know if I’ve missed anything!

The beauty of smartphones is you can work on the go and have amazing tools at your fingertips to keep you at the cutting edge of the writing game. The downside of smartphones is the sheer volume of options. How do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters?

Best Apps for Writers

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I should say right off the bat these are my personal choices, customized for the type of freelance work I do. So know that when I say “best” this is subjective. They may not work for you—fair! But if you’re looking for some apps to try out I hope this is an awesome point to help you cut through the overwhelm, maybe save some time testing apps, and get back to your writing!

Content Planning

There is so much pre and prep work for freelance writers. If we don’t stay organized we’re doomed! These are my best apps for freelance writers who want to keep their stress levels down and their desks clutter-free.

Trello

I wrote about my love affair with Trello and how it is helping me stick to my blogging content calendar. However, I also use it for my freelance writing. I create a board for each client and include due dates, assignments, research, etc. and another board for one-off freelance gigs. It’s so much better than flipping through my notebook or digging through email threads trying to remember the focus of an article, when it’s due, or who to send it to.

Basecamp

I didn’t choose Basecamp, Basecamp chose me. This project management software is perfect for teams, so if you’re one of a team of other writers, editors, project managers, designers, developers, etc. you will LOVE this tool. Each project has it’s own space and to-do items and discussions live within the project so you don’t have to do a lot of emailing (I mean, you can if you want). I love that you can put your thoughts into the Basecamp project when you have them, then come back to it when you’re working on it and see all your brainstorms, uploads, photos, (whatever!) in once place.

Feedly

Part of my content strategy is sharing useful articles with other freelance writers and also seeing what people in my industry are talking about. Feedly is how I discover and track content from around the Internet. You set up your lists based on RSS feeds from blogs you want to follow or allow Feedly to suggest blogs based on keywords. As new posts are available, Feedly pulls them into your feed and you devour them as you have time. You can save articles for later, push them to your social sharing apps, and more.

Editing

Even if you’re working with editors you still need your writing to be as clean and correct as possible when submitting work. There are loads of tools you can use but I like to keep my editing simple. These are my best apps for freelance writers to help with editing.

Microsoft Word

For the most part I use Microsoft Word for writing, and I keep my language and grammar checking on with my customized settings but off for auto-correct. Part of my process is to go through my work, reading aloud before submitting.

Hemingway App

This is such a neat tool for helping you rework long, rambling sentences and making stronger word choices. It also helps you change passive voice to active voice (IMPORTANT!), which not only strengthens your writing but also communicates your message better.

Grammarly

Yes. You need to care about grammar. You don’t need to go out and police others’ grammar, but you do need to check your own. This app helps you find mistakes and improve your writing.

Images

When I started freelancing I didn’t need to provide my own images, but these days it’s more like 50/50. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to produce high quality images, you just need to know which tools to use. Here are my best apps for freelance writers for creating awesome images.

Canva

The moment I heard about Canva I knew it was for me. It’s a web-based photo editing tool where you can create branded images, beautiful graphics, and more using pre-made templates or designing your own. It’s easy to use—kind of like a scaled-back Photoshop—and allows you to store your brand colours, images, and templates to use over and over.

Pixabay

Can’t take your own photos? Don’t have time to shoot? No problem. This free stock photography site offers more than a million images and videos including illustrations and vector graphics. It’s worth checking out.

Social Media Planning and Scheduling

I don’t know if you’ll ever get the same answer when asking what someone’s favourite social media tools are. People’s needs and preferences range so much, plus there are always new apps to check out. I’ve tried a LOT of them and will give you my personal best apps for freelance writers who are trying to plan and schedule their social media.

Hashtagger

I wrote about this app when I explained how to find and use hashtags but it’s worth mentioning again here. It’s such a great tool! There are lots of hashtag discovery apps, but this is the one I like for finding popular hashtags around a certain word or phrase when I’m on the go. As in, I’m in the middle of posting and I need hashtags! The app is minimalist—your only option is to search for hashtags. You do this by typing in a word, pressing search, then selecting the hashtags from the list. You can copy up to 30 then paste them all at once into your post or comment on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

Hootsuite

There’s a lot to love about Hootsuite. I used to use it for all my social media but I’m finding it has certain limitations so I’m using a couple new tools, which I’ll outline below. However. I’m still team Hootsuite for all of my Twitter management. I schedule posts, track analytics, and keep an eye on the Twitter lists I follow. It’s easy to organize and keeps me sharp.

Recurpost

This is a new tool in my arsenal but I’m done with my testing and think it’s a keeper. This is a “productivity enhancement tool,” which is a fancy way of saying you can manage your social media for multiple platforms from its dashboard. In this way it’s a lot like Hootsuite but where it has a leg up is the content library. Here, I can add evergreen posts and create a schedule around the different libraries. What does this mean? I can not only schedule my social media but I can have it repeat on whatever schedule I desire. I have all my evergreen blogs set up in Recurpost and they now drip out to my chosen social networks on the schedule I set. It is awesome!

Later

Like Hootsuite, this is a social scheduling and planning tool. Unlike Hootsuite, it’s a visual planner. What does this mean? You can plug in your social media posts for the next week, month, whatever, and see how it looks as a collection—this is especially powerful for Instagram. You can also save images, captions, and hashtags in the tool for easy re-use. Once your post is scheduled it either publishes it for you sends a push notification (on Instagram) when it’s time. I’ve used this tool for the past month or so and so far, I like it. The visual plan helps me see how each image works together and helps me stay on brand.

File Storage

If you’re like me, then you’re working on multiple computers, devices, and networks on any given day. What this means is you need everything within easy access. Yes, you can drag your external hard drive around but you can also put everything you need in the cloud. Here are my best apps for freelance writers for working in the cloud.

Google Drive

If you use Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets, then you already know how awesome a partner Google Drive is. You can keep all your documents, images, and whatever else in one web-based place. You can share documents or folders with the click of a button and you can collaborate on documents with ease, adding comments and track changes as needed.

Dropbox

This is similar to Google Drive but more people use it (at least in my circles). Used more for file sharing than anything else, this is a great way to send huge files back and forth. I use it in my podcast editing work and find it not only easy to use but quick and efficient. I have multiple Dropbox folders for different reasons and I can customize which folders download to which computer so it stays clean and simple.

LastPass

You need secure passwords and you also need to log into different accounts a zillion times per day on different devices. And, if your day-to-day work is anything like mine, then you’re logging in and out of various client accounts all the day long. There is NO WAY you’re remembering all those passwords and you are NOT keeping them in your phone or on a notepad. You need them in a password safe. I love LastPass because I can use it on any computer or device and only need to remember ONE password. All the rest are stored in the password safe and are there when I need them.

The beauty of smartphones is you can work on the go and have amazing tools at your fingertips to keep you at the cutting edge of the writing game. The downside of smartphones is the sheer volume of options. How do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters?

Well, that’s my roundup of best apps for freelance writers. Hope you can find something awesome to help make your writing life more efficient.

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Do you have any suggestions for best apps for freelance writers? Let me know! I’m always looking for new favourites.