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Social Media Management Pricing Advice

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Whether you are just setting up as a freelance social media manager or have been working as a social media manager for a while, deciding how to price your social media management packages and what to include in them can be tricky.

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.

In this blog, we'll help you figure it out once and for all!

How to price your social media management services

To start pricing your services first, you'll need the following figures:

  • Your income goal (either monthly or annual)
  • Your expected business outgoings for the same period
  • The % tax you'll need to pay

You'll then also need to factor in your profit and the expertise you bring to the table.

Should you charge an hourly rate for your social media management services?

We think not.

One of the biggest reasons freelance social media managers struggle to create a profitable business is that they charge by the hour.

Social media management is not an administrative job that relies on specific tasks within a set timeframe.

As explained in the ultimate guide to being a social media manager, social media managers have so many responsibilities. The only one that could be classed as an administrative task is scheduling.

But strategic social media managers don’t just post or schedule content; they research, create a strategy and ensure it is implemented and adjusted accordingly. You'll be carrying out proactive and reactive engagement, dealing with customer services, and creating content too.

And the longer you work with a client, the quicker these things can become.

So charging by the hour is risky.

Do you want to reduce your income simply because you got better and faster at your job? We think not!

Hourly rates also give clients more opportunities 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.

So we would recommend avoiding charging an hourly rate wherever possible.

Create social media management packages.

This might fly in the face of other advice about social media management packages.

Still, we firmly believe that set packages don’t work for freelance social media managers who want to build a profitable business and get their clients the best possible results.

When you work as a strategic social media manager, your service will be more involved than simply posting a set number of weekly posts.

You'll be focused on achieving your client's objectives, and the strategy will differ for each client and each of their individual goals.

Your tactics might change from week to week to meet the business goals on the ever-changing social media platforms.

So it is impossible to put all businesses into a specific box or package because every company will have different goals, audiences, assets and deadlines.

A business new to social media and with 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. 

Both have entirely 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'll realise that none of these packages is suitable for your latest client enquiry anyway.

What a waste of time!

Don't waste time agonising over your social media packages. Don't lose valuable time stressing about what should be in each package to make it stand alone from the rest!

Having set packages means you'll always charge every client the same fee.

And as your knowledge and expertise grow and you become more in demand, your package prices will hold you back from growing a highly profitable business.

Instead, we recommend you offer bespoke social media management pricing.

After an initial discovery call, where you will find out the business's overall needs and objectives, you will create a bespoke price delivered in a customised proposal.

The best way to price your social media management services is with a bespoke price

By offering each business a bespoke price, you can ensure you are being paid appropriately for your service.

And as demand for your services grow you'll have more opportunity to increase your fees and your profit!

The best way to do this is to refer back to the numbers we listed at the start of this blog:

  • Your income goal (either monthly or annual)
  • Your expected business outgoings for the same period
  • The % tax you'll need to pay

You'll also need to know how many clients you'll work with at any one time.

Simple pricing formula

Use this formula to figure out the base rate you'd need to charge to make a profit:

Income Goal + Expenses + Tax / Number Of Clients = Base Rate

Once you know this figure, you'll have the minimum fee you need to charge to hit your income goal.

Using this formula, create an internal price list for your eyes only.

Figure out how much you'll charge for one-off tasks like social media strategy, audits, hashtag research, etc.

These prices should not be based purely on the time it takes but also on the results you will be working on achieving for the business and, of course, taking into account your knowledge, expertise and base rates.

Once you've created this list, you will use it whenever you need to set a price for a client, but remember it’s for your eyes only and should not be displayed on your website or sent to a client.

We'd recommend you put this list in the ugliest document ever so you'll never be tempted to send it to someone to save time!

Sharing your social media management prices

Unless you want to waste time with people who cannot afford your fees, we would highly recommend you have a price guide on your website.

This will deter people who cannot afford you and help you avoid those awkward pricing conversations when someone has no idea how much they may need to spend.

But, rather than displaying package prices, your website should display your “prices from” or “most businesses spend” figures to set expectations.

Before you even consider quoting a client a fee for social media management, you should conduct an initial discovery call to ensure you understand precisely what they need and can price accordingly.

But if your website currently has a ‘book-a-call' button, we'd recommend removing it asap and replacing it with a pre-qualification system to ensure you don't waste time with anyone who cannot afford your minimum fees.

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.

Host a discovery call to provide a bespoke price.

When using bespoke pricing, you will need to know the potential client's needs to be able to provide them with a fee.

To do this, you should invite prequalified leads to a discovery call.

During this call, you'll find out their specific objections and needs so you can create a price for them.

We would advise you to talk about money and budget during the call so that your price won’t shock them when you send your proposal.

But avoid giving a price on the phone and instead 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.

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.

If they can’t afford your minimum rate (the one clearly advertised on your website and restated in the pre-qualification system) do not reduce your price for the proposal.

Four important pricing tips

  1. Never reduce your price; prepare what you'll do and say if a client thinks you are too expensive.
  2. Never offer to work on a free trial period; there are other ways of gaining trust with a new client, for instance, by offering a paid Audit.
  3. Never give a price for social media management without carrying out a discovery call.
  4. Never work for a percentage of the sales.

If you want more advice on pricing social media management packages 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.

Resources you'll love:

  1. If you are looking for clients, read How social media managers can stand out and get hired.
  2. You might also enjoy episode 8 of JFDI with The Two Lauras podcast, where we discuss pricing mistakes you should avoid as a social media manager.
  3. Retain your clients for longer with this 4-step reporting strategy.
  4. Wondering how to create a social media portfolio, this blog explains how to showcase your work without a portfolio.
  5. Ask your pricing questions in our free community, The Social Media Managers Hub.

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