Whether you are a brand new social media manager, or have years of experience under your belt, it’s human nature to want to compare your earnings with that of fellow social media managers. Knowing what other social media managers charge is one of the most FAQs in our Social Media Manager Facebook group.
We’ve created several pieces of content to help social media managers figure out what to charge, including adding a session on this topic to the line up of one of our Virtual Summits, videos for our group members and an article about pricing and packages.
The questions never stop though.
Here is one more attempt to answer: ‘How much do social media managers charge?’
7 Factors That Determine What To Charge
If you ask 100 social media managers ‘how much should I charge?’ you will get 100 different answers.
There are so many factors that determine what you can and should charge. Most social media managers I know undercharge for their services. Then there are some who overcharge and underdeliver.
Determining what to charge for social media services depends on many factors. Let’s look at those factors to find out more!
1 Cost of Living and Living Wage
Ask yourself these questions.
- How much do I need to earn as a social media manager to support myself and my dependents?
- How much do I want to earn to be happy with my life and do all the things I want to do?
- How much would I love to earn to get ahead in business, scale and become independently wealthy?
Your answers will be different from anyone else’ answer. Your cost of living, your past, your current financial status and the number of dependents you have will determine what you need to earn.
Remember that as a freelance social media manager, you run a business and you alone are responsible for building up your pension, paying taxes and benefits like health insurance.
2 Geographical Location Matters
If you live in Africa, your cost of living is going to be different than that of someone who lives in South America, Australia, New York City or someone like me, who lives in rural Vermont.
Geographical location matters as it factors into what the cost of your basic needs are.
As a digital nomad, you have freedom to live and work from anywhere in the world. Yet you still will need a home-base (or country) for tax purposes and business licensing and insurance. There are some amazing online communities for digital nomads who will be happy to share more details on what it takes to live on-the-road and life as a digital nomad.
Whether you can choose where you live, or if you are ‘stuck’ in a more expensive city, country or continent, the reality is that most social media marketers can live and work from anywhere as long as they have access to the internet.
3 Experience and Education
What you know, what you bring to the ‘table’ as well as any past experience you have working as a social media manager weighs in when determining what to charge! Staying on top of the latest trends, the social media industry and continuing your education can help raise your rates and perceived overall value of your services.
I can share that when I started out 10+years ago I charged $20/hour for a consult and $100 per platform per month for management. Today, my fee is $250/hour for social media consulting services and a whole lot more for managing platforms. I have the experience, and know-how to move the dial for any potential client. I charge accordingly.
Education and certification are additional determining factors in what to charge: having credentials will allow you to charge more, or at least give you credibility to charge more!
If you have a college degree, a Bachelors or Master Degree, your social media management packages should reflect the expertise you bring to the table!
4 Service Structure: Freelancer vs Agency
Next up: how do you structure your services?
If you are a freelancer, out on your own, you are a business owner. That means that you need to take care of more than producing social media content and managing social media accounts. You are also responsible for invoicing and billing, payroll, taxes, contracting and more. Many freelance social media managers either work from home, or out of a co-working space. Overhead cost when it’s ‘just’ you is much lower than that of an agency.
If you are an agency, your overhead cost will be high. You have salaries to pay and an office to run. The fees you charge agency clients should reflect that overhead cost. At the same time, you can offer clients access to your full team: customer service, graphic designer, content creation team, community managers and more!
5 Social Media Management Services Offered
Next, determine the value of these services you offer. Videography, photography, video editing… all of these services add to your overhead – tools and equipment are an on-going business expense. If you offer these services, factor in these costs to what you charge!
Another piece to this puzzle is that some services are more time consuming than others. Knowing exactly how long tasks take to complete, will make it easier to price service offerings.
6 Hourly Rate vs Monthly Fee aka Retainer
Most experienced social media managers, freelancers, and business owners will tell you to stop offering your services by the hour! This is especially true for those working with brands, signing longer contracts. Why? As you get to know the client, the brand, and have access to their assets, creating content and managing their social media platforms will be tasks that will go faster and smoother as time goes on.
If you were to charge by the hour, you’d get paid less for a job done better! That doesn't make much sense now does it?
Charge for the value you bring to the job or project!
As a social media manager, you should have a social media strategy of your own, to grow your freelance business. Use visual content and blogging to get inbound leads and get bigger accounts, sign large companies as clients.
7 Offering Niche Services
Niching down is where you can charge a lot of money! If you are a specialist, concentrating on one social channel, you can charge accordingly. Additional niche ideas include specializing in becoming a webmaster, copywriter, video editor, livestreaming producer etc.
If the niche you offer is in high demand, you can charge high fees.
What Does Value-Based Pricing Mean?
Here at Social Media Pro® we teach value-based pricing.
If you've never heard of this before, and would like to know more, watch and listen to our senior instructor, Jesse Jameson explain this concept!
We understand that pricing your services is tough and can be scary at times. Here is a one more tip: if have several potential clients jump on your proposals like hotcakes and want to work with you, it's time to ask for more money! My rule of thumb is: if two or three people have paid for that service without blinking an eye, my value has gone up and it's time to raise my prices.
Download this FREE Social Media Management Pricing Guide!
If all this information still has you scratching your head, click the image below to grab this FREE Pricing Guide! You'll learn everything you need to know about Social Media Packages & Pricing
Best of luck to you and your business!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.