Knowing how much to charge for social media management services is complex. The world of online social media 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 or your efforts. Social media management services are more important than ever in today’s competitive 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 this post: How Much to Charge for Social Media management services 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
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, strategists 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, 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 cannot 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 to 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 – $75,00 per year. A social media strategist can earn significantly more.
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 or city 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.
Let’s face it, some clients need more hand holding than others.
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 amount of research involved.
Typical fees for social media management services 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.
A high-profile client selling millions of dollars of luxury goods or services will definitely garner a higher fee than let’s say for example, a service-oriented roof repair business or pet sitting business.
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 monthly, and year in, year out (if you are doing a good job and increasing their ROI).
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 which requires a ton of effort, marketing of your own and promotion.
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 social media 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 fee model is preferable to you and the client.
What Is A Retainer Fee for Social Media management?
A retainer fee is when you bill your client every month. You bill them for hours worked (Pay for Work retainer) or for access to your expertise (Pay for Access retainer).
Consulting retainers are favorable because they help you earn predictable recurring cash flow.
They are also beneficial for your client because you have the time to focus on doing your best work for them — not spending your valuable energy hustling to find that next project and client.
Consulting retainers are one of the most effective pricing models you can use.
I’ve used them extensively in my own social media consulting business, and I advise many of our social media coaching clients to use them as well.
But selling them to your clients successfully requires a strategy — and the right mindset.
No matter what stage of business you’re in, social media management consulting retainers can be the perfect value add for your clients and a fantastic source of predictable work for you.
Let’s discuss two different types of consulting retainers.
Pay for Work Retainer
Now, in terms of the two types of consulting retainers, the first one is called Pay for Work. This is what a lot of people think about when they think about retainers and when they consider the concept of receiving ongoing payments on a monthly basis from their clients.
The Pay for Work model is really where you provide ongoing work for your clients, and you get paid for it.
Whether you’re receiving $2500 a month or $5000 a month or $20,000 a month, the work that you’re doing on that monthly basis is what you’re getting paid for. That’s why that model and that approach is called Pay for Work.
Really, it’s almost exactly the same as a contract or a project. The only difference is that you’re providing and delivering that work on an ongoing basis. If you’re using this model, you want to set it up at the start with your client and show them what it looks like.
Some questions buyers of consulting services want to know:
- What will you be working on, month to month?
- What will you be covering?
- How will this work benefit them?
- What’s the value you’ll be creating for them as a result of this ongoing work?
The better you can answer these questions and focus on the value you’re creating for your client, the more likely they’ll accept it.
Appropriate data is essential for a social media management service in order to show your client how your work is improving their business.
Pay for Access Retainer
The second approach to consulting retainers is called Pay for Access. Pay for Access is the model that I prefer. It’s the model that the most advanced and seasoned consultants use because it doesn’t rely on you actually providing work.
With the Pay for Work model, really you’re still trading hours for dollars.
When you spend half a day or a few hours on a monthly basis for that client, you’re getting paid for the time you spend. The time that you put in is directly connected to the money that you’re making.
The Pay for Access model works differently. Here you’re getting paid on a monthly basis, or sometimes for 6 or 12 months upfront.
The key difference however is that your client isn’t paying you for specific deliverables and work that you’re going to be providing them with. Rather, they’re paying to be able to access you – your knowledge, experience and expertise.
The Pay for Access model works best when you already have an existing relationship with your client. Meaning that you’ve already worked on at least one project with them so that they really feel that the trust is there, and you both know that you enjoy working together.
With that being said, I wouldn’t recommend getting right into a Pay for Access model or situation with someone that you’ve never worked with before. It’s really hard to sell that to a client.
If you have an established relationship with a client, it is a natural transition after you’ve done some initial work for that client, they’ve seen the results that you can generate for them and the value that you can bring, and they want to be able to access you.
Freelance Social Media Manager: Understand Your Costs
If you’re working as a freelance social media manager or consultant 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. After all, there are some companies out there marketing $99 per month social media services!
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 counteroffer
- 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.
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, the services they offer, 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: