Knowing what to charge for social media management or services is not easy. The world of online consulting is very competitive today. Therefore, the last thing you want to do is price yourself out of the market. At the same time, you do not want to come in at a price that is so cheap it is not worth your money. Social media management services are more important than ever in today’s digital landscape. With that being said, below, we are going to take a look at the different factors that will determine how much you should charge for social media management, services and consulting in 2021.
In this post, you will learn
- what a social media manager does
- what factors influence what you charge
- how to determine to charge hourly or a fixed rate
- best ways to get paid your worth
- how to charge for social media management as a freelancer
- how industry experts set their fees
Why Businesses Need Social Media Services
It’s practically impossible for a new business to operate without a social media presence these days. The problem is that social media is time consuming, and many companies and brands either don’t know how to run their social media accounts, or they are just too busy to take the time to do it.
For this reason, more and more businesses are opting to hire social media management freelancers or consultants to take on this very critical task.
That means that if you have excellent social media skills, it’s a great opportunity to turn this into a full or part time career of your own and make some decent money doing so.
Before we take a look at how to determine how much you should charge for your services, it is important to first establish the job roles and responsibilities of a social media specialist.
This will help you to determine what you should be doing in return for the fee you expect from your clients.
A social media expert is someone who is responsible for the development and implementation of customer care and marketing strategies through the utilization of social media.
You will also develop outreach and partner programs with relevant communities and individuals.
One of the key roles a social media expert plays is assisting with negative news communications and crisis communications.
For more details on the duties of the roles of a social media consultant read this post:
If you work on a freelance basis, it is always a good idea to consider charging by the hour.
Time reduces the risk to you when it comes to scope creep and it is always a good measure of value.
Project management systems and clients both understand billable hours, which is why this is a good option. Nevertheless, tracking time can be painful.
Plus, the value you bring can not always be determined by time.
For example, you may make a few tweaks to a $10,000 ad campaign, which can result in thousands of dollars being generated every month.
If you were to bill this based on time alone, you would not be receiving anywhere near enough in accordance with the value you are bringing the client in question.
This is why time spent should only be used as a starting point, and then you should build on this when determining how much to charge in total.
If you do a little bit of research online, you will see that, on average, a social media professional makes around $50,000 per year.
However, there are, of course, a number of different variables that come into play here.
For example, the qualifications and experience you boast can play a key role.
Moreover, the part of the world you are based in can have an impact on the fee you demand.
Of course, as a freelancer, you can work with clients based all over the world, yet you may still prefer to work predominantly with local clients for that closer relationship.
Again, this is completely up to you.
How to get paid based on the value you bring
The trouble with billing per hour is that you are essentially going to get awarded for taking longer on your work.
This is why it is a good idea to look at the other options that are available to you.
One of the best options is to charge a percentage of spend or a flat monthly retainer. A percentage of spend will typically be anywhere between five and 15 percent, with a minimum monthly spend amount.
You need to figure out how much effort a client is in order to determine the sort of percentage that is going to be right for them.
What about if you want to charge per hour?
If you want to charge per hour for social media services it can be tricky to know how much to charge.
This could be anywhere from $25 to $150 per hour depending on the subject and the research involved.
Typical fees are something like this:
- Beginner (0-3 years experience): $20-$50/hr
- Intermediate (3-5 years experience): $50-$100/hr
- Advanced (5-10+ years experience): $120+/hr
There are a number of different factors that will dictate how much you should charge per hour.
Work experience is the biggest factor.
If you are brand new to the world of social media work, you are advised to stick to anything from $25 to $50 per hour.
Once you have been working for around five years, you can think about increasing your prices, transitioning into the $50 to $100 range.
In addition to this, some other factors you will want to consider include location and the type of client you are working for.
Think about the type of client you are targeting and the amount of money that they can afford and the business they are bringing in.
Both hourly and fixed monthly fees seem to be popular choices among social media managers since both of these are fairly predictable pricing models.
The benefit of a monthly fee is that you typically have a client that pays you year in, year out (if you are doing a good job).
Comparing this to doing project-based work, you may have a higher turnover rate of clients, constantly chasing down new clients to work on one-off projects.
When offering a monthly fee option, it is important to keep your clients happy if you want them to stay on board with you.
You should set clear expectations, have an open line of communication, build a relationship with your client, and offer good reporting to show the progress.
Adopting these practices will aid in increasing your client retention rate over time.
When to choose a retainer
If you are doing consulting work, a retainer is often a popular choice.
This allows the client to seek your services at an unspecified time in the future.
Sometimes this makes sense when the client is doing some of the social media work themselves and only need your professional help occasionally.
There are many other cases where a retainer model is preferable to you and the client.
Freelance Social Media Manager: Understand Your Costs
If you’re working as a freelance social media manager there are many ways to have a successful business working on your schedule.
First you need to determine how much you need to make per year to make a living doing so. Put these numbers on paper so you have a goal in mind to work towards.
Next, create a list of fixed costs and expenses for your business.
These fixed costs might include
- Overhead (rent, software, tools, computer, phone, etc…)
- Outsourcing (contractor fees)
- Marketing Costs (Advertising, continuing education, website costs, etc…)
There may be other expenses, more or less depending on how much you choose to promote yourself and listing these items and keeping track of them will all help you to see what you are spending vs what you need to earn to make a profit.
Have Confidence in Your Social Media Management Rates
No matter which option you choose, be firm and confident about your fees.
You will always run into some clients who think your fees are too high.
However, if you find that everyone thinks you’re too expensive, you may want to step back and reexamine how much you charge.
Get an idea of what other people in the field with similar experience to your own background charge and try to stay competitive.
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Let your client determine your fees
- Give away free consulting
- Offer to do social media for free
- Accept a client’s lowball counter offer
- Commit verbally to a project during an intake meeting
- Take on a client who is demanding from the start
Instead, do this
- Set your rates ahead of time
- Charge a competitive rate for consulting
- Be confident in your abilities
- Write a proposal with three package options
- Always execute a contract with the scope of work included
- Get paid prior to working on the project
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what you should be charging for social media management and services in 2021.
Of course, there are a number of different variables that come into play when figuring out how much you should charge.
Everything from your type of client base to your level of experience and education can play a role.
However, we hope that the information that has been provided will help you to come to the best decision for you.
Check out my bestselling course on how to grow, leverage and monetize your social media platforms here: