How to Build a Social Portfolio

 
How to Build a Social Portfolio - 6 reasons to share your work on social & 5 tips to get you started
 

When you're searching for the right brand designer, it's a no-brainer to peruse the work on each prospect's website. An online portfolio is a must for any designer, but in today's hyper-social culture, more and more designers are also making a serious statement with their work on social media.

For my brand this mostly applies to Instagram because of it's highly visual nature. As I harness Instagram for my brand more and more, my feed has become a kind of curated mini portfolio in its own right and proved to be pretty powerful for my business. So what's the point? Why share work on social? Well, let's take a look.

Why Share Work on Social

There are lots of reasons to share recent and past work on social media, so let me tell you some of my favorites.

1. Exposure for my clients

I truly believe in my clients and want to support them in any way I can. A great way to show that support is to share the work I've created for them and tag my clients in the posts. This brings them extra eyeballs and exposure to a whole new audience.


A curated feed not only supplements your portfolio, but authentic sharing validates you as a designer.

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Better yet, these images are stunning samples of their brand that they can repurpose for their own feed. As an added bonus, this encourages them to repost and tag me right back, bringing some new friends to my feed as well!

2. Showcase the work

I'm extremely proud of the strategically stunning identities I create for my clients. Needless to say, I can't wait to share each one with the world and show off the hard work we've put in!

3. Share insights

Aside from posting lovely images, sharing my work on social allows me to give people a glimpse into my process and the strategy behind the visuals. This helps prospective clients get acquainted with how I work, and helps aspiring designers pick up a few tricks as well. This way, it's a win for everyone!

4. Keep my audience in the loop

People are always looking for fresh content to motivate them and fuel their own work. My posts allow people to peek behind the curtain at what I'm working on and find some ripe inspiration for their own pursuits.

5. Stay current

As a society, our attention span gets shorter by the minute. Consistently sharing my work on social ensures I'll stay on my audience's radar and earn their attention with new content each week (along with helping some new followers find me).

6. Social proof

A curated feed not only supplements your portfolio, but authentic sharing validates you as a designer. My audience can see that I'm a real person who shares what she knows, has good intentions, and can be trusted.

Just think. Let's say there's a designer with just a portfolio site and no meaningful content or rationale to back it up. Then there's another designer who's consistently posting content and insights across multiple platforms every week. Who would you trust? Who would you hire?

Tips for Sharing

Are you convinced yet? If so, you're probably wondering how to start, best practices, and how in the world you're supposed to make time for all this sharing. Not to worry! I've got some tips that will have you well on your way to crafting your very own social portfolio in no time!

1. Check in First

Although you may have the absolute best intentions with sharing your work, it's crucial to check with your clients first. They may want to keep their new designs under wraps until their launch, so only anonymous sneak peeks are acceptable—or maybe no posts at all until the big day. Your client may be fine with a few posts, but get overwhelmed by an onslaught of updates. On the other hand, they may be totally on board with your posts—the more the merrier! You won't know until you ask.

I make it a point during initial consultations with my clients to discuss social. I tell them how I normally share work, express my intentions, and ask about their comfort level. Whatever your own strategy is, be sure to make sure your clients are on the same page.

2. Batch Them!

If you follow my feed, it probably seems like I'm posting peeks of my work right as I create it. I love this perception, but the reality is a little different. Usually I wait until the project is well underway, with at least one brand identity proof out the door. From there, I take all the brand assets I've crafted and create several images from them. I then batch upload them to my Later media library and they're ready for posting!

This may shatter the illusion a but, but creating and saving out a bunch of images at once saves so much time!

3. Then, Trickle

Once I've got a bunch of images in the wings waiting to be posted, I'll schedule and spread them out. I call this the “trickle approach”—revealing a little more of the project with each new post. Interspersing these posts with others in the coming weeks piques the interest of my audience, builds suspense, and ensures that my feed is still diverse and interesting.

4. So Nice I Share It Twice (Or More)

Social media moves fast, and it doesn't take long for an image to get buried in your feed (especially if you're posting frequently). So if there's a particularly dreamy project I worked on a while back that's lost in the pile, I'll post it again. There's a few great reasons to do this.

  1. An excuse to reconnect with my past clients
  2. Brings attention to the work I love doing, which attracts more of that same kind of work
  3. Creates a visually balanced feed that's not dominated by any one project
  4. All the 6 reasons above to post your work on social to begin with

5. Don't Share It All

We all dream of a schedule that's chock full of only dream projects, but sometimes that's just not the case. So when a project comes down the pike that's not exactly my cup of tea, I don't share it. Does it make me a little anxious if people don't see me posting anything new for a while? Absolutely.

However, the reality is that it's better to take a break rather than share work you're not proud of or don't want more of. This is a real exercise in restraint, but trust me, it's worth the wait. Whatever work you share will be the kind of work you attract more of. So make things you're proud of, even if you have to be your own client. Then share the heck out of them!

Melissa Yeager

West Chester, PA, USA

Logo and brand designer who helps passionate, creative entrepreneurs channel their excitement and all of their ideas to create a visually stunning, cohesive brand that feels right for them while working wonders for their business.