How To Make a Social Media Marketing Portfolio
Ah, how times have changed. Showcasing a social media portfolio might in some cases come off as a challenge; it's not a traditional portfolio-type-of-display like a photographer or graphic designer might have. But it's not impossible.
I've been lucky enough to participate in the entering and judging of award shows and it's so interesting to see what other people do to create an award-worthy entry.
💡 Tip 💡: Think of each project you've worked on as if you were entering it into a competition or awards show.
Using this new intelligence, there are several things I would change to improve the examples below (which should be obvious after almost a half a decade of time in the field later...). However, it's still nice, kind of like a little trip down Memory Lane, when you take a moment to look back and realize that you've got to have a lot of fun with your job.
How To Make a Social Media Marketing Portfolio
Step 1: Prepare
The same way you would put together an award show entry, you have two very important things to do. First of all, PREPARE. Be prepared to represent goals and data (and strategy or tactics if you're able to).
Step 2: Get Permission
Secondly, don't mess around: get PERMISSION. Before you take any information or asset, check with your client or boss and confirm you will not be violating any contracts by accessing this information for personal or business gain. Most people don't mind, but the larger and more regulated the business, it's a good idea to clearly get this permission and — better yet — in writing. I might sound paranoid, but the more official documentation for things like this, the better. (Aside from protecting yourself legally, it's also really just common decency, right?)
Step 3: Gather Available Assets
As you go through each project, keep copies of the reports and as many exact numbers as you can. Grab screenshots of posts. Keep a work journal. You might want to revisit your data to create a case study or present your findings in a new way. Over time, there are lots of opportunities to repurpose your content, so make sure you have as many things in your arsenal as possible.
- Any available graphics assets
- Analytics reports
- Advertising reports
- Sales data
- Proprietary campaign goals and results
- Positive (and negative) client feedback and other testimonials
That said, even there are many things that are public. If you use any of the examples below, double-check to make sure you are citing your sources properly and applying appropriate attribution.
- Writing samples
- Screenshots of social media posts
- Public social media channel design
- Publicly deployed emails
Step 4: Identify Your Portfolio Format
Keeping emotional appeal in mind, try and decide the best format to tell the story of the project you are presenting. Unlike award shows, you are not limited to 5 images and a spot for a link. Get creative and try several versions.
Before & After
Pretty basic, but excellent for showcasing visual improvements.
Take advantage and create a video with a song or, even better — your voice as a narration over it. There are ways to do that with anything from iMovie to your iPhone. Get creative!
Write an article. It's a pretty limitless way to incorporate your assets and you can link back to it.
The method of choice for 2013 and 2014, as pictured below. Don't think this is passé, oh no no, this is classic. Download this baby as a pdf and print it out, add it to Slideshare, then take that link and embed it into blog posts (like this), put it on your LinkedIn profile, share it to email and social media. Depending on your presentation format and design, you could even section off the pages and repurpose them for social media posts...
You might need a little design talent for this, but an infographic can be a unique way to showcase a data-rich project.
Step 5: Define Your Marketing Portfolio Content
Keeping storytelling in mind, you want to set the reader up so they know where this is going.
💡 Tip 💡: Use an explanative title and keywords. Incorporate descriptive language, but be concise.
Buffer recommends a few structures to get your creative juices flowing below.
Freytag’s Pyramid: Five-Act Structure
- Exposition — Introduce important background information
- Rising action — Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
- Climax — Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
- Falling action — Continue the action from the climax
- Dénouement — Ending the story with a resolution
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle
- Why — Why the company exists
- How — How the company fulfills its Why
- What — What the company does to fulfill its Why
Related 📖: I dive into my take on Simon Sinek's Why
Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula
- Incident — Share a relevant, personal experience
- Action — Describe the specific action taken to solve or prevent a problem
- Benefit — State the benefits of the action
Step 6: Distribute Your Marketing Portfolio
Who would like to see this? Clients? Professional associations? Your grandma? Now that you've created this valuable personal asset, don't let it go to waste. Add it to your website, your LinkedIn page, your Google+ and YouTube pages (if possible). A little self-promotion every now and then is fine, especially if it comes in the format of delivering information.
💡 Marketing Portfolio Must-Haves 💡: Goal, strategy, examples, results.
#ThrowbackThursday: Fun Social Media Projects from 2013
And, this seems like the perfect segway into a little self-promotion of my own. Below are some old, old, old (I mean, by digital standards, these are probably already considered vintage) examples of projects I worked on at my time at Microgrid Energy, a solar EPC. If you don't know what that is, we provided a B2B service that acted as the manager of installing solar panels on businesses.
- Challenge #1 — B2B
- Challenge #2 — Service-based
- Challenge #3 — Highly technical, intangible
- Challenge #4 — Targeted niche audience
☝ While those are presented as challenges, most of them actually help build the beginnings of a perfect target audience. ☝
Check out some of the projects I worked on in 2013 and 2014. While some of these original Slideshare presentations had almost 500 views, I opted to take them down and add in more details. I might miss a little channel optimization, but I prioritized more descriptive content with the revision. C'est la vie.
Semifinalist Strategy for Social Media Madness Competition
Bringing The Solar Impulse to St. Louis
Solar Selfie Contest
National Energy Month Campaign
Aw, well that's cute. Do you have a marketing portfolio that you're proud of? Link it in the comments below!