How Much Should Freelance Social Media Managers Charge?

Are you a social media manager in need of a new job? Do you have an idea for a cool blog about your favorite anime? Are you just trying to figure out how much to charge for freelance social media management services?

Well, we’ve got great news: we’ve created this handy-dandy guide to help you determine exactly how much you should charge for your services.

We start with the basics: what is a social media manager? Sounds like someone who manages social media! But they’re also responsible for content creation, growth, and ad campaigns. And they’re always updating their LinkedIn page. They’re basically superheroes!

The question of how much freelance social media managers should charge is a complicated one. There are a lot of factors involved, and not all projects are the same.

Whether you’re just starting out, or have been doing this for a while, here are some things to consider when pricing your services:

What to Charge for Social Media Management Packages
Key Takeaways
1. Value-Based Pricing: Consider the value you bring to clients and their businesses when determining your rates.
2. Service Differentiation: Tailor your pricing to the specific services you offer, highlighting how they address clients’ unique needs.
3. Market Research: Research the competitive landscape to understand prevailing rates in the industry and your niche.
4. Pricing Transparency: Communicate your pricing structure clearly to clients, outlining the services included in each package.
5. Adjustability: Be open to adjusting your rates as your skills, experience, and the market evolve over time.

1. Do Your Research

The first thing you’ll need to do is conduct research. A strong understanding of how much you should charge will give your rate-setting abilities a solid foundation. There are four main areas of business that you’ll want to research:

  • What the market is doing (How much are other people charging?)
  • What your competitors are charging (How do your services and skills compare to theirs?)
  • How much your clients can afford to pay
  • What your clients want from you

I recommend starting with the first two items on this list, as they will give you a good baseline idea of what the industry standard is for paid social media managers and how it applies to yourself and your business.

Building a successful career as a freelance social media manager requires a combination of skills, strategy, and dedication. Learn more about the essential aspects of this role in our comprehensive guide on Freelance Social Media Manager: Everything You Need to Know.

2. Understand Your Market

As a freelancer, you are your own boss. You determine your salary — or hourly rate. And when setting this price point, there are no hard-and-fast rules (though we’ll share some helpful tips in a moment).

Here’s what you do need to know: Your rates should reflect the value of what you’re providing to the client. If you charge too little, it could negatively impact your bottom line and send an impression that your time is not worth much, while charging too much could make you lose business.

3. Consider Your Value

When a client hires you, they’re not just paying for your time. They’re also paying for your experience and network, your skills, your education, and even your personality. If a client is hiring you as a freelance social media manager, they’re also paying for:

  • Your ability to produce excellent results for clients. You can use clearly defined metrics (like increased site traffic or sales) to show how you’ve increased the value of their brand.

  • Your ability to understand their needs and help them grow. Can you help them reach strategic company goals? Are you capable of managing your online reputation? Do you have enough expertise in the industry that they can trust you with their budget?

  • Your ability to stay updated with the latest trends (and find ways to innovate instead of following the herd). Can you do more than just post on Facebook? Can you keep up with new channels like Snapchat and Instagram Stories? Do you create content other users want to engage with?

  • Your ability to analyze data and make smart decisions based on it. How will that information impact your strategy going forward?

Determining the right pricing structure for your freelance social media services is a crucial step. Get insights into industry standards and strategies with our article on Social Media Rates: How Much Should Freelancers Charge?.

4. Factor In The Costs Of Doing Business

To get a clear picture of how much you can charge clients, you need to know your cost of doing business. Don’t think of freelancing as a side hustle or a hobby: It’s a business. You will have startup costs, operating expenses, and taxes to pay along with the time that you spend producing results for your clients.

Your cost of doing business includes all the costs incurred in running your home office or storefront, including furniture, equipment, utilities, and insurance. The IRS mentions other common expenses like dues and subscriptions (think LinkedIn Pro or Buffer), advertising, legal services, and employee benefits. 

You need to account for these items when setting your freelance social media manager rates for hourly work or monthly retainers and don’t forget about the time it takes to complete those tasks!

5. Calculate Your Total Hours And Multiply By Your Hourly Rate

To calculate your rate for a project, first, estimate the total number of hours you think you’ll work. Then, multiply that by your hourly rate. For example, if you estimate a 20-hour project and would like to earn $30 per hour, your client will likely pay around $600 for the project (20 hours x $30/hr).

Before you pull those numbers from thin air though, take time to consider all the tasks involved in completing the project. How many of those hours do you expect to spend banging out content versus how many will be spent on other tasks? 

For example, Researching topics, Conducting interviews, Writing copy, Scheduling posts, Monitoring social channels, Creating graphics and images, and Developing new ideas and concepts.

6. Charge Per Project Instead Of Per Hour

Hourly pricing can be difficult for clients to understand. Clients don’t care how long it takes you to do something. They only care about their one project and the cost of that project. Project-based pricing is a better way to go, especially if you charge by the hour because there’s no guesswork involved for your client or for you.

When quoting a client, remember to include everything in the project estimate: strategy, planning, research and implementation. As our expert panel said above, don’t forget about tools like buffer or Hootsuite; include them in your quote. 

The client will appreciate it when they see how much time using these tools saves on the overall project and how much easier it is for them especially if they’re just starting out with social media management!

Are you aiming to thrive as a freelance social media manager and achieve six-figure earnings? Our guide on How to Become a Freelance Social Media Manager and Make Six Figures outlines steps to turn your passion into a lucrative career.

7. Charge A Monthly Retainer Fee

Another way to charge for your services is a monthly retainer fee. This seems to be the most popular method for social media managers to use. Under this structure, you would contract with your client and agree on a set amount that they will pay you per month (or per social post).

A retainer is a fixed fee that is paid in advance. The great thing about retainers is that they ensure you have a consistent source of income. For example, if a client agrees to pay you $500 each week as part of the retainer agreement, then it becomes much easier to plan out what you expect your monthly income will be and make sure all of your bills get paid without having any surprises.

It’s important to note that when using the retainer method of payment, it’s critical to ensure that you can meet the expectations of the retainer before signing any agreements with clients. If someone wants 3 posts per day on Facebook and Twitter, are there enough working hours in the day for you to do all of those posts?

 Before agreeing with anything from potential clients, run through some calculations so that everyone understands exactly what will be expected from both sides as far as timeliness and frequency go.

8. Offer Package Deals

“Package deals,” as I call them (some folks refer to them as “bundles”), are a great way to attract clients. When you think about it, businesses have been offering these for years. Consider a package vacation: The hotel offers an all-inclusive rate that includes a room and three meals per day. The airline may offer an airfare plus hotel package at one low price.

Once we become more comfortable with our work and our rates, however, we can start to focus on what we really want: long-term projects that give us the most bang for our freelance buck. Whether you’re approaching new or existing clients, package deals are the perfect way to find long-term work and provide value while charging higher rates in return.

“Package deals” aren’t just another enticement or incentive they are still your hard work. They take time and energy to create, so make sure you don’t undervalue yourself by offering too much at too low of a rate!

Effective management of social media accounts requires knowledge beyond just posting content. Discover the key elements that every freelance social media manager should be aware of in our article on 15 Things Every Freelance Social Media Manager Should Know.

9. Ask Around

You can get better pricing information from your clients, other social media managers, and from your own expenses to determine what value you provide and how much to charge. To start, you can get pricing information from your clients and other social media managers. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, more than half of social media marketers charge hourly fees. 

The same report shows that more than one-third of marketers (36%) charge between $26-$50 per hour and almost one-quarter (24%) charge between $51-$75 per hour. But keep in mind that these rates are averages across all industries, so the rates may not fit within your own experience or industry.

You can also get pricing information from a look at your own expenses to find out what value you provide and how much to charge:

  • List the big expenses you incur on a monthly basis through your business (e.g., internet access).
  • Figure out how many hours you spend on non-billable work every month (e.g., assisting with pitches, creating new proposals).
  • List each activity you do for your clients: first, describe it as a task; second, estimate how long it takes; third, estimate how often it’s needed; fourth, calculate what percentage of time is spent doing this task vs. others; fifth, determine if there’s room for scale/automation (do you need to hire someone or use the software?); sixth, determine whether this is a billable service or not.

Dreaming of a fulfilling career as a freelance social media marketer? Explore the multitude of reasons why this path might be the right choice for you in our post on How to Land Your Dream Job as a Freelance Social Media Marketer: 26 Reasons.

Final Thoughts

Although this is just a guide, it can definitely help you figure out how much you should be charging. I’m sure many freelance social media managers are very happy to hear this article – it can be tough to find charging standards for all types of freelancers, and we hope that this helps! And if you’re still working on finding your own niche or don’t have a blog of your own yet, we suggest taking a look at our readership list.

Hopefully, after reading some of the articles in the previous link, you’ll get an idea as to what kind of blog most people would like to read, and you’ll already have an idea in mind!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you dive deeper into the topic of pricing for freelance social media management:

How Much to Charge for Social Media Management Short Description: Explore insights into effective pricing strategies for social media management services in this comprehensive guide.

Social Media Management Pricing: What You Need to Know Short Description: Learn about different pricing models, factors influencing pricing decisions, and industry trends in social media management pricing.

Understanding Social Media Management Pricing Short Description: Get a breakdown of social media management pricing, including average costs and the value of investing in professional management.

People Also Ask

What’s The Best Time Of Day To Post On Instagram?

That depends. If you’re a small business owner or sole proprietor, posting in the early morning hours might be best because it will match up with your audience’s sleep patterns. However, if you’re an influencer or brand with a substantial following, it might be more effective to post in the evening when more people are awake to see it. The best advice we can give is to play around with timing to see what works best for your audience.

How Often Should I Post On Twitter?

That depends on your audience and the platform you’re using. If this is your personal account, then once per day is appropriate. If it’s for a business, twice per day is good. Once per hour is overusing it.

What’s The Difference Between An Agency And A Freelancer?

Here’s the short answer: An agency has a team that manages multiple clients at once. A freelancer works one-on-one with each client she takes on. Freelancers are often more flexible and open to working with smaller businesses and startups, while agencies tend to serve larger companies.

What Do I Need To Do To Get Started?

Before you start pitching yourself to prospective clients, make sure you have everything in place:

Have a portfolio of work that showcases your experience and ability. You can use many different types of platforms to do this, for example, you could use sites like Pinterest or Tumblr, or Medium to showcase your previous social media marketing projects. On these sites, it’s important that you have a professional-looking profile so that people trust your ability from the outset.

How Often Should I Post My Social Media Content?

Like everyone else, we’ve got to keep up with the holiday busy-ness. And we’re here to help you do the same! We’ve put together this nifty little guide to help you out.

It depends on whether you’re posting photos or videos.

If your content is photos or videos, then you should post your content once every 15 minutes. Make sure that each set is different from the last, though!

It also depends on how much you have to say.

For instance, if you take a photo of your dog dressed as a Christmas tree and there’s nothing more to say about it, then don’t say anything at all! That’s what captions are for.

Don’t be afraid to change it up!

It can get boring if you always post the same thing on Twitter, so mix it up. Sometimes, post something funny.

How Does A Hashtag On Facebook Or Twitter Work?

The world of social media can be confusing. Have you ever wondered how hashtags work? Well, let me tell you: when you post with a hashtag on Twitter or Facebook, it lets other people find your content by searching that hashtag. 

Hashtags are also a way to tell others which topics are important to you. For example, if you go to an event and use the hashtag #conference2017, anyone else who was at that event will be able to see your post!

How Does A Client Ensure That I’m Using Their Money Appropriately For The Services I Offer?

Certain freelance social media managers, including myself, use a project management software called Basecamp to help us keep our clients informed and track our progress. In the Basecamp message board for your project, you’ll see what we’re working on and how much time it’s taking us. 

You can log in to Basecamp at any time and see what we’re doing, how much time we’ve spent, and how much money you’ve paid so far. That way, you can rest easy knowing that we won’t disappear with your money you’ll always be able to track where it’s going!

How Often Should I Update My Linkedin Profile?

By all means, update it as much as you want! LinkedIn is designed to be a professional networking site, so updating your profile will help you connect to others and make yourself available for work. However, when you’re building up your profile (or any online presence), it’s best to do so gradually and strategically. 

The more time you spend on social media sites like LinkedIn, the more popular you’ll become but if you’re spending 80% of that time just gaming your metrics instead of actually connecting with people, you’ll end up alienating potential customers and employers instead of securing future business relationships.

What’s The Best Way To Find Freelance Social Media Management Jobs?

You can post your availability on job boards like Upwork and Elance, but you probably won’t get much traction from just posting there. Instead, try networking with other freelancers in your niche using social media and email. You can also reach out to people whose profiles you admire on LinkedIn asking if they know of any opportunities; perhaps they will share yours too!

What Kind Of Questions Should I Ask Before Accepting A Job?

If you’re going to be working with a client on a freelance basis, there are some questions you should be sure to ask before accepting the job.

You’ll want to know what the expectations are from the client. Are they flexible with deadlines and payment? Do they have any special requests, such as needing completed work by the end of the week or wanting the output in a specific file format? How many resources and contacts do they have for future projects? Who would be your primary point of contact if something goes wrong, and how can you get in touch with them?

One of your biggest responsibilities is to keep your client happy and satisfied. To do this, it’s important to make sure you understand their expectations from the start so there aren’t any surprises down the road.

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