How much should I charge for social media marketing? This is the question that every social media manager or agency has to answer. You need to understand that over 28% of businesses use social media marketing agencies for their social media efforts. The constant evolution of social client services has impacted how agencies price. This article on social media marketing pricing plans in 2020 will highlight certain aspects of this pricing scenario. 

We will highlight these points below in our discussion:

  1. TYPICAL PRICES OR PACKAGES
  2. HOW DO THEY SET THOSE PRICES
  3. HOW SHOULD YOU CHARGE CLIENTS
  4. WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO WHEN PRICING
  5. EXPERT OPINION ON PRICING.
  6. MARKETPLACES 

Typical Prices or Packages:

Hourly Rates:

The Social Media Strategies Summit blog in 2019 pointed out that these are the general fees for freelancers and consultants:

  • Beginner (0-3 years experience): $15-$50/hr
  • Intermediate (3-5 years experience): $50-$100/hr
  • Advanced (5-10+ years experience): $120+/hr

Our research shows that 

  • Beginner Social Media Managers charged       50-100/hr
  • Intermediate Social Media Manager charged 100-150/hr
  • Advanced Social media Manager charged     150+/hr
Monthly Rates:

The Social Media Strategies Summit blog in 2019 Monthly fees can vary widely, depending on what services are rendered. Typical social media campaigns can run between

  • $399-$5,000+ per month.

We asked a few of our clients and some social media managers about their Social Media Marketing Pricing Plans and rates and we came up with rough estimates. 

  • Beginner Social Media managers charged  500-1000 per month
  • Intermediate Social Media managers charged 1000-2000 per month
  • Advanced Social Media Managers charged 2000+ per month

These figures largely depend on the services being rendered, complexity and experience of the social media manager. One client stated that you have to think about your experience level and the results you know you can achieve. You need to look at the caliber of clients you are working with. What is their brief? How can you help them achieve that and more? 

How do they set those prices? 

There are a lot of factors that influence how much a social media manager charges. 

Experience Level:

The less experience, the lower the service cost. This factor is crucial when negotiating with a client. Clients want to see your portfolio to demonstrate your ability and skills. You need to prove that you know your stuff and have had previous successes through your referrals. If you can show that your previous results, then you can charge higher. If you’re starting out, you may need to lower your fee or ask the firm what their budget is. 

Your Fixed Costs:

Determine how much you need to make per year to be comfortable. Create a list of expenses for your business.

Your Fixed Costs Might Include:

  • Overheads (office rent, software( Heropost), tools, computer, phone bill, transportation, office supplies)
  • Outsourcing (graphic designers, content writers, assistant)
  • Taxes
  • Marketing Cost (ads, website, networking at conferences)

Your general Costs Will Consist Of:

  •  SEO and keyword research. Eg Ahrefs 
  • Content hosting. Eg your website
  • Editing tools. Eg Adobe Premier
  • Project management systems. Eg Trello
  • Scheduler/ Social Media Management System Eg HEROPOST
  • Analytics tools. Eg HEROPOST

So factor in these costs in your strategy.

Secondly:

  • Create two budgets

These budgets may include:

  • Your minimal bare budget (essentials for survival)
  • Your desired budget(where you can grow your business)

Always understand these costs when factoring where your price point should start. Have a GOAL SALARY.

The Type Of Business

Is it small or large? Usually the bigger the more money in the marketing budget.  What sector is it in? This is important because if it’s in a sector where there’s a lot of competition coupled with their competition being on social media then you need to try new things to get a leg up. If it’s smaller, then you may need to hustle harder and be clinical as there are fewer funds and little to no presence on social media. 

Remember you are a  Strategic Partner. Never forget that.

What Your Direct Competitors Are Charging

By doing this you will be able to see if you’re under-priced or overpriced. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market because you’re expensive. 

The Services You Are Offering

The more you offer the better in most cases. If you’re capable of rendering the Complete social media package which includes everything your clients could possibly want. From creating, curating content, to engaging with followers across multiple platforms, scheduling (WITH HEROPOST OF COURSE) and managing the day to day social media of the client then you may charge higher.

By offering this service, you are like a marketing department. At Heropost our Social Media Manager that we have outsourced actually sits in meetings as well. You become part of the family so as to speak.

Social Media Platforms the company Want you to Manage

This point is closely linked to point 4 above but it deserves an explanation. Look at whether or not the platforms have already been started. If you’re creating a brand new account for that company from scratch with no followers you may need to factor this in. If the social accounts have got a good engagement rate you may also need to adjust your fee.

Customer Service

We recently consulted a social media manager and this point came up. Social media provides ease of communication between you(the business or social media manager) and the customer. What happens if the customer has an issue and uses twitter or Instagram to communicate? If you don’t reply to the customer on these platforms this will create a bad customer experience and service. 

You should let the company know this and put a system in place to solve these customer complaints and inquiries. Handling customer complaints and inquiries is time-consuming. If you’re good at your social media management and as a result, the business grows you’ll have more customer complaints and inquiries. We believe you need to raise your fee for this service. 

Training the in-house Marketing Team

The company may hire you for 6 months but they may want you to train their in house marketing team on top of the work you’re already doing. You need to consider factoring in this point.

How many freelancers you refer to? 

By this, we are talking about graphic designers, content writers and other social media-related professionals. You need to make this point clear so that the customer understands the reasoning behind your fee. It’s also important to show why you need these freelancers in your social media strategy.

Deadlines

If the brief you have been given is time sensitive then you may need to charge more. It means you will be directing all your energies to one project. Your work hours will become longer and you may actually need to beef up your team.

How long it will take to finish the project

This is important because this will affect the cash flow of your business. If you spend too long on a heavy project that isn’t paying too much and you are refusing to take on new projects because you’re swamped it may be concerning. 

You must find a way to manage this issue. We are not saying take on every client, as that would be dangerous because you will be spreading yourself too thin and the quality of work goes down. When that happens you can forget about client referrals or getting rehired. 

Always calculate how much time you would reasonably need so that you can still take on new clients. Remember you need to build your client base.

How should you charge clients 

You need to decide how you will be paid. Our Social media manager clients state that there are 4 main ways they are paid: 

  1. Hourly
  2. Monthly
  3. Project-Based 
  4. (RETAINERS)
  5. Package Based

Hourly

The Social Media Strategies Summit blog in 2019 recommends that if you are new to offering social media management services, this is a safe option. An hourly rate will give you time to gauge how long projects will take, giving you better insight into how much you should charge on a per-project basis in the future.

Advantages

  • You’ll be incentivized to be productive and use your non-billable hours to land more clients.
  • You don’t under-price yourself for a project that becomes lengthy 

Disadvantages 

  • Customers may know how much you charged previously meaning you will be expected to charge that same rate.
  • difficult to scale your business by building a team.
  • Next time you may be hired by the same client and they may expect you to finish at the same time
  • What if something comes up unexpectedly and you then take longer to finish the job

Selling hours creates a conflict of interest. It puts you and the client on opposite sides of the table. Your client wants the job and results immediately but the job is taking longer than usual and the client then accuses you of taking your time so you can bill more. This would be a mess to avoid. So be wary of this.

Monthly

Monthly fee-charging is popular among social media managers as it is an easy pricing model to incorporate. 

Advantages

  • Clients know what to expect to pay every month and there are no surprises
  • Unlike an hourly rate, you can scale your business as you can plan your finances ahead of time.
  • Easier to take on more clients as you can organise yourself better. 

Disadvantages

  • It is easier for customers to cancel your service after only a few months. Nothing is keeping them attached to you for more than a month. This can create certain cash flow problems if you had hired more people to work for you. 

Word of advice, a monthly model is not something that should be taken lightly. You need to look at your goals and your structure if you want to make this advantageous. 

Project-based

Usually bigger or more experienced Social Media Manager with a lot of referrals go for this structure but in practice, anyone can. 

Advantages

  • Offers flexibility in outsourcing some of the work if you wanted to scale.
  • Social Media Strategies Summit blog states that Project-based pricing allows you to embed the costs of all your operating expenses within the project costs more easily than it is at an hourly rate.
  • clients cannot scrutinize your hourly worth, therefore, making it better for you
  • You are not tied to a rate, you can calculate how much work will be needed for the client.

Disadvantages 

  • Our Social Media Clients state that a major drawback is that you’re not in control of the project’s speed. What they mean by this is that clients may drag the project that could have been done a while ago because they know you have been contracted for that project. Furthermore, if you leave it creates a negative mark on your character or service.  
  • You may also run the risk of undercharging a project especially if it takes longer than expected. (so do your research and add extra fees if the project takes longer than the time stipulated and it’s not your fault.)

Retainer

A retainer is a payment made in advance for future services. Usually, Social Media Managers get this from previous clients they have worked with and are happy with the services they got from the Social media Manager previously. Or you may just be a badass Social Media Manager. It’s a great model if you’re established because it allows the client to seek your services at an unspecified time in the future.

Package based

This is also a great way to package your services. You normally do this when some of your potential clients do not fit your other pricing plans or if you just want to customise. Customisation is great because you can impose what you think would work on the clients’ project. This ensures that you are in control of the project. 

What you should not do when pricing 

  • Do not “Sure I can do that, but it’ll be an extra charge.” You want your client to feel cared for not taken advantage of.
  • You must not let the client set your fees. 
  • Do not accept a job which may be out of your weight class
  • Never offer to do Social Media for free unless its something you think is not difficult and would help you secure the client, this creates issues down the line
  • Make sure you do not hide your prices on your site, make them clear
  • Do not forget to put together everything a client needs (before they have to ask), You want to look like a professional.
  • Do not forget to take all costs into account.
  • Never talk about price before value

What the “Gurus” Say About Pricing

These videos give you a great gauge on  Social Media Marketing Pricing Plans

Gary Vee

Gary Vee puts forward that with Social Media Marketing Pricing Plans :

  • Go as big as you can but be self-aware but add value 
  • Experience will also play a part 
  • Stick to a number and then keep going up as you serve more people

 

Gary Vee states that:

  • The market can sometimes decide what you are worth
  • You must know when to negotiate down if you feel that you may need this client in your portfolio going forward. What we learnt is that deploy a give and take strategy when locking down a potential client. 
  • Deploy practicality NOT romance of the moment  

Jordan Platten 

What he says about Social Media Marketing Pricing Plans:

  • He doesn’t like packaging your services because it is impersonal and it shows a lack of care.
  • Social Media services are value-based meaning how much money can you bring for that business. Increase engagement, increasing customer enquiries.
  • He used to charge 1000 a month for Facebook ads now he is going for the higher companies charging 5000+ a month.
  • A great example he uses is when a client that was a dentist was offering 1500 for his services but the product he was selling was 30000. He said what if he brought 2 people or even one person, the value he was bringing wasn’t proportional. What we learn from this is that, understand your clients’ product and factor in what value you will bring for them. You can’t bring in 500 000 for a client and you’re only getting paid 1000, there needs to be proportionality. Add a clause in your contract that states you get a percentage of the profits. This ensures that you work and also the client will know that you will work otherwise your pay is less.
  • You must not be scared to price at a level you that you think you’re worth but be practical.
  • Look at who your client is and what you can do for them so that you can price appropriately.
  • Realise your value, your self-worth and what you can do for them. Don’t doubt yourself

Marketplaces 

You can find and hire social media experts on these platforms.

Job Posting Sites:

Freelance Sites:

The best piece of consulting advice we at Heropost can give you is that you’re worth what you say you’re worth full stop.

No matter how much you decide to charge, some people will think you’re charging too much and others will think you’re charging too little. The challenge is figuring out how much you need to earn to make a living, and finding clients who will pay what you decide you’re worth.

So pick a price, and own it. 

The value of what you do is based on the impact you can have on your client’s business.

We hope you gained some insight into Social Media Marketing Pricing Plans and that it helps you gauge your pricing.

Manage Your Social Media Marketing Using Heropost.

Free Trial
Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown, lead content producer at Heropost. I hold a Degree in Communication and Journalism from USC. Family, friends, dogs and sunshine with a bit of surfing in between.