Pricing is a hot topic amongst freelance social media managers, whether they are new or have been doing this for a while. And it can be tricky to decide how to price your social media management packages and what to include in them.
You need to charge for the value you are providing and all the skills you bring to the table (plus tax) whilst also ensuring you don’t lose a client purely because of your fees.
This article will cover different ways social media managers can set their prices.
Should social media managers charge by the hour?
One of the biggest mistakes we see is social media managers charging by the hour. We would always advise against this pricing method because social media management is not an administrative job that depends on specific tasks being done within set hours..
Social media managers don’t just post on social media; they research and create a strategy and ensure it is implemented and adjusted accordingly. Engaging, offering customer services, and possibly creating content too.
And the longer you work with a client, the quicker this process can become.
So charging by the hour is risky. Do you want to cut your pay because you got better at your job?
Hourly rates also allow clients to reduce their investment in you by reducing their hours, which often comes with the risk of them expecting the same amount of work in a shorter period.
But when people ask how to price social media services in our Facebook group, the answer is never simple because there is a lot to consider when working out what is included in social media management packages.
How to create social media management packages
This might fly in the face of other advice, but we strongly believe that set packages don’t work for social media managers.
As a strategic social media manager, you'll know your service is not simply posting a set number of weekly posts. You're working strategically to achieve your client's goals.
Marketing a business will be different for each client and each goal. And your tactics might change from week to week to meet those goals on ever-changing social media platforms.
It's impossible to put all businesses into a specific box or package because they will all have different goals, audiences, assets and deadlines.
A business that is new to social media and has no content or ads budget can’t be compared to another with five active platforms, thousands of engaged followers, a £10k ads budget and strict content guidelines.
Can you see the problem?
Both have a completely different needs and you'll work differently with each.
So having spent days and hours agonising over what to include in your social media packages and what to call them because everyone goes for “Bronze, Silver or Gold”, you realise that none of these packages is suitable for your latest client enquiry anyway.
We have been there, agonising over pricing and social media packages, and we’ve lost valuable time stressing about what should be in each package to make it stand alone from the rest. That’s before we even try to put a price on it.
Instead, we recommend all freelance social media managers offer bespoke social media management pricing, which they draw up for each client after an initial discovery call.
We don’t want you to waste time trying to create something you don’t need.
Clients are all unique and have different needs for their businesses, so as far as social media management pricing is concerned, they will all require a bespoke proposal.
How to set your social media management prices
Your website (yes, a professional freelancer needs a website) should display your “prices from:” to set expectations and filter out anyone who can’t afford your minimum fee.
You can move anyone who isn’t prepared to pay your base rate onto training and nurture packages, so you can work 1:1 with them to help them learn how to manage their social media marketing.
Create a list for your eyes only that details the costs of the certain tasks you undertake as a social media manager. And then price those individually.
Think about how much it costs for a social media strategy, how much you want to charge for hashtag research etc.
These prices should not be based purely on the time it takes. Think about the value you bring to their business. Use this whenever you need to set a price for a client, and remember it’s for your eyes only.
How to get paid your true value.
Before you even think about quoting a client a fee for social media management, you should conduct an initial discovery call to ensure you understand exactly what they need and can price accordingly.
Prior to the call ensure they have seen, and understand the minimum investment needed to work with you. You can send them to your website to discover all this information.
Your discovery call should include questions about budget so that your price won’t come as a shock to them when you send your proposal. You’ll want to find out if they have a budget for advertising, and content creation and whether they are also working with other freelancers.
Never give a price on the phone.
If you are asked for a price during the call, explain that you will need to work that out based on their exact needs and that you'll provide a detailed proposal outlining your services and fees.
If they can’t afford your minimum rate (the one clearly advertised on your website, which they should have seen before your call) do not reduce your price for the proposal.
We'd advice you to:
- Never reduce your price – instead, prepare what you'll do and say if a client thinks you are too expensive
- Never offer to work on a free trial period; there are other ways of gaining trust with a new client, for instance, offering a paid Audit.
- Never give a fee for social media management without carrying out a discovery call.
- Never work for a percentage of the sales.
If you want more advice on pricing or need a watertight proposal document, check out The Social Media Managers Toolkit, where you'll find everything you need to win, onboard and work with clients as a social media manager.