After Squarespace added the Google Search Keywords option to the analytics we learned some really valuable info about what people were searching for before landing on our website! Some of that info was what we were expecting, but something that surprised us was that one of the top searches was for social media portfolios! And we get it too... Putting together your portfolio or updating it can be daunting. No matter where you are in your career. Trust us, we've been at it for nearly 10 years now!
That being said, we noticed a need and today we're giving you a full guide on tips for creating (or updating) your portfolio. So if you're in the biz and you're looking for some help then read on because I'm giving you the 411 on what we've learned about creating a social media portfolio that converts and how you can create one too.
Outline Your Project
Case studies are all about showcasing the work that you did but the way you present it matters! For the most part, you're usually showcasing your work to someone who is interested in hiring you. Whether that's a client for your business, or if you're job-hunting you may be showcasing your work to a new employer. No matter what the case, in our experience you want to hit that sweet spot of showcasing enough info to give them a good idea of the project without writing a novel. Short and sweet is generally best!
In our case studies, we have 4 main sections including:
The Project: Which highlights the duration of the campaign (whether it's complete or a benchmark -- we'll talk more about that later) and the package which we link back to on our services page so they can see pricing and inclusions.
Overview: In this section, we break down the key objectives of the campaign. Whether that was to increase awareness of the accounts, increase engagement rates, influencer marketing outreach, etc.
Strategy & Tactics: Working in social media, you're always finding the balance between showcasing that you are an expert in the field without giving away allll of your techniques -- that is why people hire you afterall. In this section, we break down some of the key strategies like creating a consistent content strategy and taking styled lifestyle images.
The Results: This is the most important part! Numbers talk, and we're not just talking about an increase in followers or likes. Yeah, those numbers may be important for clients but working in the industry we know there's a lot more metrics than that. Consier including anythinggg that showcases the difference your efforts have made for the brand. Maybe this is how many influencers you partnered with, or the average number of user-generated photos that were submitted. That on top of average weekly post engagements and increases in website traffic. Breaking these down into simple and easy to follow metrics for the non-social media crew is important too.
Bullet Points are your Friend
Piggy-backing off of the short and sweet note. Bullet points are your friend when it comes to case studies. This makes your case studies easier to skim through and pull out key information. Often when people are browsing your portfolio they're doing just that, skimming your work so this is important.
Results are the MOST Important Part and Even Better When Shown Visually
As we mentioned above, results are the MOST important part of your case studies. You want to showcase that not only do you understand the industry but you can make some magic happen too. This is why tracking your analytics regularly throughout your campaign and taking before numbers are crucial too. Another tip when it comes to showcasing results is showing visuals whenever you can. Adding visual components takes your results to the next level, plus it breaks up the text which makes them easier to look through. Instead of just saying you secured 15 Instagram takeovers with influencers, give that number and then showcase some of those! Did you manage an Instagram account and help an account create a cohesive feed? Showcase some of the photos you took or a before and after screenshot of what the account looked like when you started vs mid-campaign. Anything you can share to show your work in action is always a benefit.
Psst! We’re also giving you the exact social media questionnaire we send our clients fo’ FREE!
Get it here!
Update Regularly (Even if you're mid-campaign)
One of the biggest struggles for working on portfolios is often making the time to actually work on them. We get it.. you're so busy doing the work that you forget to actually update your portfolio. Something we like to do is update our portfolio on a quarterly basis so that we can make sure we're including recently completed campaigns as well as making sure current client campaigns have up-to-date benchmarks.
Something we get asked a lot is what should you do if you're still working with a client? That shouldn't stop you from showcasing it in your portfolio! We have some clients we've been working with since the beginning of Bold & Pop but that doesn't mean you can't highlight those campaigns. Instead, we add a notation at the top of the project and note it as an ongoing project and include the benchmark amount of time for the results included. We do regular reports for our clients so we just update these numbers regularly so that we can accurately present the results we've had to date.
Make Sure You Have Permission to Share
One tricky situation that can come up while working on social media campaigns is making sure you have permission to share results publically -- especially if you're putting it right on your website like we do. In all of our agreements, we have a clause that we can share results in our portfolio but sometimes we're working with clients that have NDAs or that do not want their information shared publicly. Not all is lost though! Some of our clients have allowed us to share results excluding their brand name and any branded photos on our website. Or, they allow us to share their case studies on an as-needed basis privately. It's all about working with what you've got!
It's worth noting too, if you are side-hustling you definitely want to be careful about this as well especially if you're working full-time at another firm. Even more important if you're working on your own on the DL. Make sure you review your employee handbook or talk to HR to make sure you are allowed to showcase work you have done outside of your office. If you're interviewing at other firms, then having a private portfolio you showcase is not typically a problem, but if you're branching out on your own be very careful because you don't want to misrepresent that you represent that client independently to others. Plus, it can get you in a sticky situation with your employer (or past employer if you end up leaving). We can speak from experience that when we first started Bold & Pop, we had to scrap our case studies from our previous agency because that would nottt have gone over well in our situation. That can seem a little scary at first but like I mentioned, you just have to get creative about how you showcase your experience.
Last but not least, showcase some variety in your case studies. That can be the different types of projects you include or the types of clients you've worked with. The social media industry is so diverse and every campaign is often different so showcase that! By doing so, you're allowing others to see how versatile your work is and the range of services you can offer. You certainly don't have to highlight everyyyy project you've ever worked on, but in some ways, more can be better because it makes it easier to direct potential clients to specific case studies that may be similar to what they're looking for.
I hope you guys found this helpful! If you want a little more social media portfolio inspo feel free to check out our portfolio below. Or if you have other questions drop us a comment below or give us a shout!