Engaging a social media professional to help manage your business’s online presence? Whether you already have your accounts up and running, are starting from scratch, or just need a jolt of fresh campaign ideas, an independent social media manager has the insights, experience, and savvy to ensure your social presence is relevant, responsive, and responsible.
But not all social media activity is created equal. For brands in particular, authenticity and value are paramount in keeping posts from getting hidden in your customers’ already busy feeds. Brands—especially high-visibility brands with large, active audiences—will want someone with the chops to execute a strategy that can deliver results.
So how much will it cost to put your social channels into the hands of a pro? Read on for tips or jump to a specific section:
Factors that may affect social media coverage cost
A lot can affect what a social media professional may cost, and it can vary widely—from a few hundred dollars a month to £10,000. While the scope of work will be a significant consideration, as you’ll see from the factors listed below, it isn’t the only one.
1. Experience required
While a great social media campaign may require a good-sized budget, social media that misses the mark can cost even more—including damage to your brand’s reputation. Engaging a social media pro with excellent communication skills and experience managing a large brand’s presence can help ensure you’re in the right hands.
More experienced social media professionals often command higher rates, but if your brand is highly visible it’s likely worth the investment.
2. The number of channels you’re active on
How many sites will be published to and monitored? Will content be tailored for each or shared via a social media management platform? The number of channels you post to, monitor, and create content for will be the most significant cost factor, since it will determine how much time the social media pro will put toward maintaining strategies for each.
Tip: Not every social channel will have the same ROI for your business. Trying to juggle too many without significant return—or without metrics to measure—can cost you more than it’s worth. Consider where your primary audience spends the most time on social, then focus on those channels.
3. Speed, frequency, and volume of customer engagements
A brand with a big, active social following will require more in the way of monitoring and responding. You may establish an agreed-upon timeframe for how quickly questions or comments are answered—and the shorter that turnaround is, the higher the rate might beg.
Tip: Ask your social media pro about tools that integrate with your social accounts to help track and aggregate mentions, messages, and comments in real-time, which can help streamline this process.
4. Tactics such as paid ads, influencer marketing, or contests
If you have the budget, running paid ads and contests or engaging influencers can be effective ways to amplify reach and engagement. These efforts may require upfront payments and additional coordination, however, so be sure to account for them in your budget and set benchmarks early on to gauge their relative success.
5. Your customer support structure
While many individuals use social media to share the things they love, it can also be a platform to vent about a poor experience. Do you have dedicated customer support in place, or does your social media project include support as a component?
Customers who have a complaint, bad review, or are frustrated will take often take to social media in an effort to be heard. It’s an opportunity for your business to address their complaints and turn things around—but it helps to know the person monitoring your accounts has the expertise to keep things under control.
If customers are asking questions on social media—maybe troubleshooting a product or asking a question about their account—you may want to budget extra time for this if you don’t have customer support reps who are ready to respond.
6. How much original content you’ll need
Social media is highly visual—video being a popular medium with the best engagement—and to stand out you’ll want plenty of visual assets to share. This may include photos, original graphics, video, and links to content such as blog posts. Quality visual content requires graphic design and copy support, or a social media pro who can create various types of content themselves.
|SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT JOBS (Estimated monthly billing rates charged by intermediate-level, U.S. based specialists)|
|Small Business Rates||Average Project Price (Per Month of Campaign)|
|Account Mgmt.(2 Channels/All Services)||£400 – £2,000|
|Account Mgmt. (Each Extra Channel)||£200 – £1,500|
|Blogging w/ Social Shares||£400 – £1,200|
|Influencer Targeting||£200 – £1,000|
|Images/Graphic Design||£200 – £950|
|Campaign Creation||£300 – £1,000|
|Customer Outreach||$200 – £1,000|
|Large Business/Enterprise Rates||Average Project Price (Per Month of Campaign)|
|Account Mgmt. (2 Channels/All Services)||£2,500 – £10,000|
|Account Mgmt. (Each Extra Channel)||£1,500 – £5,000|
|Blogging w/ Social Shares||£2,500 – £7,500|
|Influencer Targeting||£1,500 – £6,000|
|Images/Graphic Design||£1,000 – £4,500|
|Campaign Creation||£2,000 – £5,000|
|Customer Outreach||£800 – £4,000|
|Misc. Rates||Average Project Price (Hourly)|
|Social Media Training||£25 – £150|
|Campaign Advisor||£55 – £200|
It’s important to note that many larger social presences are managed by a small team of professionals who can help balance coverage (even across different time zones) and responsibilities, as well as contribute expertise such as graphic design or video production. Having a skilled social media manager at the helm will help ensure strategies stay on track, that the messaging and tone is consistent, and that no rogue decisions happen.