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

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 ideas for building an awesome social media portfolio

Create a social media portfolio by starting with your services and expertise.

First, showcase the services you offer

The best social media portfolio’s I’ve seen break the services down into bite-sized pieces.

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.

Update: Here’s how I’m working around this in 2020

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.

In a previous training I outlined how to optimize your social media profiles 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

While I’m still building my social media portfolio, here’s what I’m doing with my writing portfolio on social media.

After I wrote this post, Thema asked this question about social media portfolios

Hi Robyn! I ran across your article about social media portfolios. I am pursuing a career as a Public Relations Specialist but only have the social media pages I curated for my internship to show. Any suggestions on how to create a portfolio with very few work examples?

This is such a great question and while I have answered Thema’s email I also want to provide my general tips here in case it’s helpful.

What if I have very few work examples?

Question: How do I create a portfolio with very few work examples?

Answer: Depending on what type of job you’re going after this answer changes but I can tell you in general what I would do.


First, make sure the curated items you have for your portfolio are presented in a compelling way

As in, make sure they look great and are easy to skim and demonstrate the scope of your skillset.

Perhaps you don’t have traditional clips right now because you’re just getting started. Think about what you CAN present to demonstrate your skills and abilities.

For example, if you’re looking to run a client’s Instagram account, then what are some things you can showcase on your Instagram account to demonstrate your proficiency? 

Do you have a good amount of followers? Then highlight that.

Do you have a posting strategy that generates leads? Unpack that.

Have any of your posts gone viral? Take some screenshots and write a case study on what you did and what happened.

Speaking of case studies, this is another excellent way to showcase your social media portfolio.

Even if you have many examples, breaking some key campaigns into case studies is a great way to showcase your results, your strategic knowledge and your competence.

For more on this specific approach, read How to Write a Case Study.

How to Write a Case Study free ebook

I’ve also turned this cast study training into a free ebook, which you can download in my resource library.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re logged in, navigate to the “Writing” section and look for “How to Write a Case Study for Marketing Ebook.”

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OK, back to Thema’s question.

Second, work on adding new samples/clips as much as possible 

If you’re not able to get clients/paid work then I recommend writing blog posts (or something similar) to beef up your portfolio and showcase your knowledge.

One of the big reasons I continue updating my blog and improving these posts is because they showcase my writing and expertise to potential clients.

These days, most of the work I do is without bylines and difficult to demonstrate in a portfolio so having regular bylined blog posts is an asset.

Third, networking! Always be networking

Get to know the people who work in the industry you want to be working in. Also get to know the people who work for the types of companies you’d like to work with/for. 

When you know people then the breadth of your portfolio doesn’t matter as much.

True story. Once you’re established, see how many new clients ask for your portfolio. 

I mean, someone you have no previous connection with might want that. Or if they’re from a big agency where that is par for the course. 

But most people will either be going off of a referral from someone they trust or they’ll want one or two samples from similar projects you’ve worked on.

I hope this answers your question! Let me know if there’s anything else to add about social media portfolios.

PS if you want to see how this works in real life, here’s an example from mine. Look for the section in this post titled “Start small, focus your efforts on ‘connectors’.”

How do you create a social media portfolio in a way that demonstrates your experience and expertise but doesn't break client confidentiality? Here are my best ideas for building an awesome social media portfolio.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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How do you create a social media portfolio in a way that demonstrates your experience and expertise but doesn't break client confidentiality?

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