Marketing analytics & reporting

How Much to Charge for Social Media Management

Social media marketing appears to be the fastest, highly economical, and most effective way to connect with a target market. On the surface, it seems to be merely posting pictures, videos, and sharing opinions to get a reaction from a target audience. 

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Gintaras Baltusevičius

Oct 19 2020 8 min read

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Table of Contents

  • What do social media managers do?
  • How much does Instagram Management Cost?
  • How much do social media managers make?
  • How much should be charged for managing social media?
  • The Hourly Rate
  • Monthly Retainer Fees
  • Per Project Rate
  • Social media packages
  • Hire someone to do social media

This perceived simplicity leads many business leaders to believe that they can manage their social media independently. The truth is, to get real and valid results, social media management is essential.

A social media manager understands core fundamentals that will turn a post into engagement and, finally, conversion.

What do social media managers do?

Many people assume social media managers put up posts, monitor and track posts, and respond to comments as their core responsibilities. To prevent a potential client from minimizing the role and work of a social media manager, you should define various platforms' advertising management requirements.

To begin with, the social media manager speaks for the brand. To engage with the target, they put together an advertising campaign, create content to share, and respond to comments. These details help social media managers understand what their target is interested in.

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In addition to this core framework, social media managers also do the following:

  • Seek to reveal why a customer should connect with a business, brand, product, or service.
  • Offer insights on paid advertising, working with influencers, and elevating organic traffic.
  • Ensures that there is an excellent visual representation of the business profile on social media accounts.
  • Create content that is SEO optimized to reach the right client.
  • Brings together a strategy for engagement with all audiences, with the intent to build relationships with the target audience and convert them.
  • Reporting on industry, competitors, agencies, and sharing case studies of the latest trends in online marketing.

Thus far, these are some of the roles and responsibilities of social media managers who work with brands and businesses. The skills needed for working with an agency are different. With an agency, the media strategy is typically more project-based.

Content production, campaign management, tracking, and community management are the key activities that agencies practice. In an agency, the social media manager collaborates with the in-house marketing team. This way, the agency meets the needs of numerous clients.

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Some of the critical roles of the agency social media manager include:

  • Brand rejuvenation for brands that are changing their core messaging. With this type of project, the manager will need to communicate the new brand image to the target audience and drive positive engagement.
  • Audience growth by creating posts that have a high client retention rate.
  • Generating leads and traffic to websites to drive up conversion rates.

An agency owner will demand more than media management as they may want to make the best impression on their customers. Hence, customer service, handling customer complaints, and giving advice will be part of the job description.

How much does Instagram Management Cost?

Instagram is climbing up to become the most popular social media network – especially when it comes to customer engagement.

For this reason, more business owners are looking for an opportunity to advance their communication on this platform. A good manager will be up to the challenge, increasing presence, and shaping relationship fundamentals with the target audience.

There are various factors to consider with management pricing for Instagram or any other social network. A social media manager acts as a strategist and will determine what the goal of media strategy is.

Some common goals include trending posts, elevate brand awareness, increase website traffic, achieving impressions, or gaining target attention.

Instagram management works hand in hand with content marketing, with a social media strategist who understands the time, type of posts, hashtags, and influencers that can help drive a campaign.

The manager also understands the investments needed to achieve a specific result and can share estimates on an outcome based on actions taken. Here are some factors to consider when deciding the cost of managing an account on the Instagram social media platform:

  • Research through a demographics analysis for industry understanding.
  • A number of times to post each day, and the amount of time it will take to create and put up the posts. When considering the time taken for putting up posts, an hourly rate often applies.
  • Marketing cost in terms of content creation, placement of advertisements, using different tools, and tracking hashtags.
  • The number of followers on the page. Any page with more than 1,000 followers counts as being influential. The more influential the pages are, the higher the fees that can be charged.
  • Determine whether it will be necessary to manage influencers to drive engagement.
  • Maintenance of the page daily by keeping track of all activities such as comments, messages, and likes.

With Instagram, a long term outlook is more effective than a short term project. It would be best if you based the charge on a monthly fee or retainer model.

Should all the above factors form part of Instagram management, then the estimated cost, without any advertising dollars, should come to approximately $800 per month. This rate is ideal for a manager who has at least five years of experience.

How much do social media managers make?

social media expert payment rates


Like many careers, the amount of money that social media management services command is based on experience level, social media strategies, projects, and more. For a ballpark estimate, the salary of social media marketer who is employed full time starts at $42,000 per year.

With more experience, a mid-level social media manager makes around $58,000 annually, with a social media pro making upwards of $90,000 annually.

When considering how much to charge, you could go the salaried route, choose a fee option where you charge hourly, or work on the contract. It would be best to decide on the price for social media management pricing based on packages that incorporate various responsibilities. These include social media accounts, blogs, hashtags, clicks, and more.

As a new social media management freelancer, you can charge between $15-$80 per hour, depending on your skill level and ability to produce results.

With at least three years of experience, your rate can increase to $50 -$100 and when you become an expert with at least ten years of work experience, charging a minimum of $120 is the norm.

How much should be charged for managing social media?

Before considering what charges would be ideal for managing social media, consulting with the client will give insight into what they hope to achieve.

In this consultation, a basic proposal will offer some clarity on their core issue and create a chance for feedback so that the problem approach can be accurate. This makes it easier for a decision to be made and the right resources to be allocated to meet the client's expectations.

The Hourly Rate

When pricing social media management services, you may consider having several clients and then charge each of them an hourly rate.

For a freelancer, here is an example of earnings that can be achieved within an hourly rate. One client offers work for 10 hours per month. As you are new at providing social media services, you charge $30 per hour. At the end of the month, you will have made $300 from this client.

If you have another two clients at the same rate, you will make $900 each month. This is a great way to start, though, after some time, you will either need more clients or have to increase your hourly rate to make a decent living.

With an hourly rate, a social media manager also can schedule posts to do several days of work within a few hours.

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Monthly Retainer Fees

As you build up your experience and increase your confidence as a social media freelancer, you can explore a monthly retainer. The key benefit of choosing to charge a retainer is that you get recurring income, and you can focus on building the online presence for your client over time. It is also easier to get paid by one consistent client instead of searching for new clients constantly.

A monthly retainer also offers more flexibility: they can create a package that focuses on their experience while meeting the clients' needs.

But, there are some disadvantages to charging clients per month for social media marketing. The workload can increase rapidly as clients believe that they 'own' your time and can therefore give you as much work as they choose.

Others may take advantage of this type of charge for social media by consistently rejecting work and requesting it to be done numerous times.

A social media marketer working with an agency can create preset social media management packages that can meet small businesses' needs. This can be excellent when working with multiple clients, making it easy to measure when their wishes are fulfilled.

Per Project Rate

This pricing option is ideal when the job requires considerable time to get done. Ideally, when setting up new clients or introducing a new product into the market. The weight of the project needs to be estimated, and then a package price can be set.

Charging per project is ideal for clients who want to start something off and then take over and maintain it themselves. It is also suitable for a project that has a one-off occurrence.

As a social media management freelance professional considering how much to charge for social media management, think of your long term outcome. As a newbie, you can focus first on growing your client base to build your career and then get paid based on your understanding of what works best for your clients.

Finding the right price point is essential when considering how to charge. Too high, and you will not get business. Too low and clients may think you do not know what you are doing. With the following steps, setting a price is much more straightforward:

  • Determine your clients' core needs and the results that you have been able to attain for them. If something works well, see how you can duplicate to create a brilliant experience for another client.
  • Check out the similar competition, those serving the same types of customers and offerings.
  • Listen to your potential clients when you share your prices. Their reactions will let you know whether your prices are too high or low and reveal what they think you can achieve.
  • Focus on packages so that new clients can choose something they feel is the best fit. This can help you overcome the hurdle of explaining what you can do, especially with a client who may have no experience working with online marketing.

Several other factors may affect any quotes shared with a client seeking social media management.

Suppose there is content to be created, such as images that need specialized software or designers. In that case, the social media manager may consider outsourcing key talent using freelance job websites. In this instance, any quote shared should also consider this.

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Social media packages

More and more small businesses seek the services of social media consultants and managers, and there are various packages that you can offer them.

The type of package you offer provides different price points and outcomes and dictates how much they want to accomplish. Here are some examples to help create a package:

  • Starter package: Manage two social media accounts (choosing from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, or Yelp) with content creation and customer engagement.
  • Main package: Manage four social media accounts, including blog posts, content creation, and customer engagement.
  • Advanced package: Manage six social media accounts, including influencer marketing, blog posts, content creation, and customer engagement.

The packages can be tailored to meet the needs of the customer.

Hire someone to do social media

Companies with large marketing departments and excellent budget options can easily hire full-time social media management teams. But some companies don't have the capacity, though they still require social media services.

When hiring someone to do the work needed, there is no need for a full-time employee, and that's where platforms like Upwork, Dormzi, or Fiverr come in handy. The nature of social media management is that it requires several hours of work each day and can therefore, be done by social media management freelancers.

When a business, agency, or individual chooses to hire a freelance manager, they must consider following the long term vision for the social media activity, particularly if it requires building a brand and customer loyalty.

Also, tools to measure milestones will offer clarity on the expertise of a social media manager. For instance, you can use Whatagraph to build automated social media performance reports. It allows you to track multiple metrics in real-time without having to check them separately.

Social media freelancers need to have long-term visions for their work. Once hired, the social media manager will work continuously to meet their client's needs and lead their product, brand, service, or business through an evolution.

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Published on Oct 19 2020

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Gintaras Baltusevičius

Gintaras is an experienced marketing professional who is always eager to explore the most up-to-date issues in data marketing. Having worked as an SEO manager at several companies, he's a valuable addition to the Whatagraph writers' pool.