Pricing is a hot topic amongst freelance social media managers. And whether you are new or have been doing this for a while, it can be tricky to decide how to price your social media management packages, and what to include in them.
Your social media management fees need to cover all the skills and expertise you bring to the table, your expenses and the value or results you are providing. Plus tax!
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.
3 ways for social media managers to set prices.
Charge an hourly rate.
One of the biggest reasons that freelance social media managers struggle to grow their business and create a profitable business is because they are 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 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. You are also carrying out proactive and reactive engagement, you might be dealing with customer services, and creating content too.
Strategic social media managers don’t just post or schedule content; they research, create a strategy and ensure it is implemented and adjusted accordingly.
And the longer you work with a client, the quicker all of these things 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.
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 freelance social media managers who want to build a profitable business whilst also working hard to get their clients the best possible results.
As a strategic social media manager, you know your service is not simply posting a set number of weekly posts. You're working strategically to achieve your client's goals and the strategy will be different for each client and each goal.
Your tactics might change from week to week to meet those goals on ever-changing social media platforms. So it is impossible to put all businesses into a specific box or package because every business will 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 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'll 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.
We don’t want you to waste time trying to create something you don’t need.
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. 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.
Having set packages means you'll always charge every client the same fee. But as your knowledge and expertise grows and you become more in demand your package prices will hold you back from growing a highly profitable business.
Provide bespoke social media management prices
Create a list for your eyes only that details the costs of all your tasks as a social media manager. Think about how much you'll charge for completing 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, but also the results you will be working on achieving for the business and of course taking into account your knowledge and expertise.
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. In fact, 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!
Rather than displaying set prices or hourly rates, your website should display your “prices from” or “most businesses spend” figures to set expectations with website visitors and filter out anyone who can’t afford your minimum fees.
Before you even consider 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.
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.
Prior to being invited to a call, your pre-qualification system will have ensured they have seen, and understand, the minimum investment needed to work with you.
During your discovery call, you'll talk about money and include questions about the 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.
TIP: 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, and restated in the pre-qualification system) do not reduce your price for the proposal.
We'd advise 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 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:
- If you are looking for clients, read How social media managers can stand out and get hired.
- 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.
- Retain your clients for longer with this 4-step reporting strategy.
- Wondering how to create a social media portfolio, this blog explains how to showcase your work without a portfolio.
- Ask your pricing questions in our free community, The Social Media Managers Hub.