Social media portfolios are essential for any digital marketer looking for professional roles within the social media space.
Let’s work through how to create one and why it matters.
Whether you’ve worked within social media marketing for several years, are keen to become a social media specialist, or want to progress to a more senior role within social media management, your portfolio is just as important as your resume.
Employers will, of course, be keen to review your resume to see whether you have the work experience, qualifications, and skills they require. However, without a portfolio, it isn’t easy to communicate the value you offer and the kinds of results you can achieve through clever social media posts and campaigns.
One of the great things about social media is that you don’t necessarily need to have worked for years within a formal digital marketing position to put a portfolio together. Instead, you can draw on your experience managing personal, group, and community pages or even volunteer for a charity and develop great campaigns highlighting your skills.
Why Do I Need a Social Media Portfolio?
As we’ve touched on, a portfolio is like a visual representation of your abilities. It gives prospective employers a better idea of whether you are the right fit for their role. Saying on paper that you have designed a viral post or specialize in humorous content is great – but showing that information in a visual format brings your abilities to life in a more tangible way.
There are tons of ways to design your portfolio and no wrong answers. The core requirement is that you collate evidence of your social media work and present it in a professional manner. You could, for example:
- Put together a PowerPoint presentation or a slideshow you can post on your professional profile, include with job applications, or show during an interview. Slides can be emailed or posted on a forum such as LinkedIn, are easy to create, and are normally free to use.
- Create a simple website for your professional services, either paying a nominal amount for a domain name or opting for a free portfolio service. It can take a bit of time to build a website and populate the pages, but it gives you more space to include information.
- Design a PDF file to accompany your resume in emails or to print and provide as a hard copy to an interviewer. Note that huge PDF files often end up in email junk systems, so you should keep it short and sweet!
A lot depends on whether you want to send your portfolio to businesses, post a portfolio on your social media profile or through other digital channels, or have it with you to share with employers and hirers. Whichever format you choose, be sure to focus on perfect grammar, spelling, and formatting to make the right impression.
What Should I Include in a Social Media Portfolio?
It’s important to be conscious of confidentiality considerations. Sharing work that you have produced for another client that they might not want you to use in your portfolio can backfire, so be sure to refrain from reproducing or copying and pasting a campaign you have designed for a company that uses non-disclosure agreements.
These contracts prevent you from using any content belonging to the company without express permission and can even result in legal liability if you ignore them!
This issue is why many social media professionals work on their own business pages, ensuring they have the freedom to share and copy every post they create without any problems over content ownership.
Employers will tend to focus their attention on social media content that feels similar to the style or type of content they’d like their selected candidate to work on, so you should think about:
- Relevance – if you’re applying for a social media role with a corporate business, for example, a cheeky meme probably isn’t going to resonate with their expectations.
- Quality – while some clever copy or promotional text is useful, businesses often want to see great visuals and graphic design. Try not to stuff your portfolio with writing and let your posts and visual materials do the talking.
- Results – adding a snippet next to each example or a results summary showing what you have achieved is a good call. You could, for instance, note the number of likes, comments, shares, and clicks each piece of content generated.
Before sharing your portfolio, it’s worth having a flick through to see if any of the material needs to be removed – a well-curated selection of your best work is far better than a huge portfolio that an interviewer won’t have time to read, particularly if a lot of it isn’t suited to their requirements.
Sending a Business a Social Media Portfolio Alongside a Resume
For most social media marketers, their portfolio acts as a standalone document. Adding an introduction about who you are is fine – but this isn’t a resume and doesn’t need a list of all your educational achievements and work history.
If you want to use an introduction, this should be concise and not replicate any of the information you are presenting in your resume or cover letter. However, one thing you can introduce through a portfolio that isn’t normally featured in a resume is a few reviews or client testimonials.
Adding some case studies to explain the project’s objective, how you approached it, some example content, and the outcomes is also a good use of space and will ensure an employer can see how your skills relate to real-world results.
Some businesses don’t ask candidates to send a resume and instead require you to complete an application form. In this situation, you can often upload your portfolio as a file or might bring this with you to an interview.
Can I Use Social Media to Design a Social Media Portfolio?
A great way to gain visibility is to use your knowledge of social media to create your portfolio. However, please note that this isn’t shareable in the same way as the formats we’ve mentioned earlier – very few businesses are likely to click on a link in your email or resume to browse your social media profiles.
That said, most will, normally after short-listing, investigate your social media presence to see how well this supports the information you have provided in your application. Making private social media pages inaccessible is hugely important – your Saturday night out photos with your friends won’t help you stand out as an accomplished professional!
You can use Instagram and other popular socials as a portfolio, linking client accounts in any content you use and verifying you have permission to use the content you have produced for a third party before you post it on an open forum.
Other options, like using Canva or Behance templates, can help you to create a professional-looking social media portfolio quickly. Both sites have various templates and layouts and lots of free options alongside paid-for designs.
How to Collate Content for a Social Media Portfolio
If you’re already working within social media, you likely have several resources you can draw on. Those new to digital marketing and without professional social media experience have several options when it comes to generating content to populate a portfolio!
We’ve mentioned options such as creating a professional social media page for yourself, using clubs, groups, and community pages to show your skills, or volunteering for charities and other non-profit organizations; most will be grateful for some help while you can request permission to use the content you design.
Another option is to look for a junior social media-related role and use your time to learn from the experts and start dabbling in content creation as your abilities and confidence grow. Most specialist social media marketers began as interns or apprentices and gained experience on the job while designing great quality content to use within an eye-catching portfolio.
Whatever your career stage, there are hundreds of vacancies available through Digital Marketing Jobs Board that might be right for you, browse the latest social media jobs.
Simply run a search on the types of jobs you are interested in, or upload your resume (with your portfolio attached or linked!) to get in touch with employers and recruiters.