How Much Does Social Media Cost?

by Carter Thomas

It seems that most people in business are starting to realize that social media, though free, really doesn’t do much unless you put a lot into it. Who has time to manage a facebook and twitter account, let alone set up a killer strategy?

Here’s an interesting article that lays out some costs for social media. Prepare yourself – it’s not cheap. And don’t worry – I’m not in the social media game so I’m being very objective with these prices.

Here’s a breakdown:

Here’s the prices:

Blog:

Get a blog built starting from zero, including design, and having someone manage all your content and customer relationships (comments and emails, etc) - $1,000-$12,000 a month, median of $4K. This will change if you want to write some yourself and handle any parts of the experience. But, be honest with yourself in terms of how much you are going to do.

Blog posts written on your behalf – $50-500

Blogging is one of the best ways to jack up your SEO efforts, so make sure you have someone who knows a ton about SEO. You’ll need to balance keywords with originality to make it successful.

Twitter:

Start from zero, have a page designed, post creation, actively finding new followers, managing messages – $1,000-$4,000 a month.

Facebook:

Start from zero, design, content, customer relationships, everything - $2,000-9,000 a month

Social Media Strategy:

Full social media strategy, full outsourcing of content, design, maintenance, setup - $3,000-20,000 a month

Social Media Consulting:

Hourly rates – $50-$500/Hr

Most Charge – $75-$200/Hr

If you are interested, I urge you to read the full article here. It’s pretty interesting. I also think these prices are pretty high for Maine and are more relevant for Boston or New York, but they’re not completely off. You get what you pay for.

The Bottom Line:

• More often than not, you get what you pay for, but make sure you don’t pay for a brand name. Pay for results and knowledge, not someone who can tell you what you want to hear.

• Absolutely grill anyone you hire for this stuff. Don’t let them hit you with buzz words and fluff. If they can’t break down the entire process into 3 sentences, they don’t really understand it.

• Negotiate and ask for proof. If they want you to spend $10K on these efforts, make them prove that it’s a good investment. If they can’t, think twice.

• Ask around. A lot of this stuff can be done by a college intern or your friend who even some of your best customers who want discounts. Get creative and you might save a ton of money.

Want more info? Follow me on Facebook!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Rose Feng January 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Hi Mr.Thomas,
I just opened a new spa, and I do not have the money to hire anyone to manage the social media for me. But I really like to get into it. Would you please give me some advice what should I do for expose my business ?
Thank you!
Rose Feng

Carter January 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Hey Rose,

I hear ya. Your best best is to focus on the setup first, then the strategy second. If you’re in a pinch for cash, check out http://www.fiverr.com and look for Facebook type posts. You can probably find someone to get you up and running for Facebook and Twitter for under $10. Then you could hire someone to design it for another $5. Now all that’s left is to start posting on there!

Strategy wise, it’s always best to look to friends and family first. Reach out to them and ask them to Like your FB page and follow you on Twitter. There is no right or wrong in social media, just make sure you’re doing it with a good attitude and talking about positive things. You’ll get people signing on.

Good luck!

Carter

bn August 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

where does those rates apply!

FB February 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Hi,
my question is similar: what’s the expected revenue?
what should be the company volume to efford the prices?
If I want to spend only 3000 a month for the SMStrategy, I should anyway a positive cashflow of about 5.000 a month.
What ROI should I expect?

Anne McGowan March 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

We have received a quote from a local social media consultant that will do the following:
build a blog and write the blog
put us on the search engines
redo our webpage
manage our website and the social medias

We are in Vancouver, WA they want $15,000 for everything for one year. Then we would have to figure out if we would continue with them or maintain some of it ourselves. This is the cost of doing everything mentioned above for one year. Is this a good deal?

Ashley March 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Hi!

I am new to the business and currently have two clients this far that I am working on building. I am looking for companies that need a consultant so I can build my portfolio. I am over qualified and will charge half these rates.

Lynette Podkranic March 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

To Anne M.,
Looking at your website to learn more about your small business, I’m concerned about you making a one-year commitment for that large amount. Would feel more comfortable with you making more of a “pay as you go” deal and see what the consultant can do; see what kind of results they can achieve. Get them to focus on most important first; what will have fastest impact to start getting more customers to you. For example, initial thought is that separate blog to start could be overkill. Could get more traction with Facebook, etc. channels. If you are open to more proposals, I’d love to send one! Vancouver is my hometown and I’m just across the river from you now. ~Lynette

Carter Thomas March 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Lynette – thanks for your advice! That’s good stuff. Glad we’re all helping each other here :)

Carter

Erica Hobbs June 7, 2013 at 12:08 am

Mr. Thomas,
I am hoping you can help me with a question I have thus far been unable to answer. I have seen various articles such as this one giving costs of how much a media manager charges. But none of the descriptions quite fit my criteria as a media manager, so I am unsure how much to charge the group I am working with.

I work with a local non-profit literacy group. I am a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Mass Communications and English. I have worked with this literacy group for almost three years now. I kind of have an assigned supervisor, but I pretty much work with all the board members for this group.

These are the jobs I do for them: I created and update a newsletter that was sent out twice the first year (this previous year was my last year of college so I was so busy the group and I decided they would be fine without it); I update their main website (which is owned by the national literacy foundation, so no coding or actual design is necessary on my part) with articles and photos sometimes written/ taken and edited by me, sometimes written/taken by the board members but edited by me; I set up their Facebook page and have continually updated that with the same content put on the website; there are plans for me to set them up with a PayPal on their website; I occasionally write articles for them for publication in local newspapers; and I sometimes do random jobs for them, for example I made a slideshow video publicizing an event they were going to do.

So far most of this work has been volunteer. Recently though, they told me that even though I have graduated and will be moving on I have been working with them for awhile, and they want me to keep working with them and they want to pay me hourly for time I document for them. They want me to set the price, but I am not sure what is usually accepted for such duties. Also, I love these people, and since I often feel the tasks I do for them are simple anyway I definitely do not want to take advantage of them.

I apologize for such a lengthy message, but I hope you could help me figure out what would be an acceptable price to ask of them, or at least direct me to someone who might be able to help. I appreciate it.
Erica

deborah June 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I have created a facebook account for my business but it is linked to my personal facebook account and every time I am trying to post a picture or wording it is rejected. What must i do? Thanks for your advice.

Jessica June 11, 2013 at 3:04 am

Hi Erica,

I admire your passion for working with the non-profit organization.

I worked with a literacy – council for three years supporting their re-brand, fundraising, and marketing efforts. Several of the things you do for your organization, I did for that client.

I was paid through a Trillium grant, and therefore the funding set the pay structure.

Personally, I work with companies as big as some of our leading banks, and as small as one-person start-ups with everything in-between. Over the years I have develops a ‘sliding scale’ that respects industry prices, but shifts from lower to higher end depending on the client’s ability to pay.

Having said that, I would recommend you have an honest discussion about what the non-profit is in the position to pay. Pricing yourself too high may sour a good relationship, and pricing too low may devalue your services and the trade (I similarly have been educated formally in Corporate Communications).

Non-profit organizations have budgets and they tend to know how much they can spend on what. Also, if they do not have the funding consider applying for a grant. If they need help researching and applying for grants feel free to contact me at http://www.tjsolutions.net it is part of what we do.

Good luck,

Jessica

Kawin long July 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

In today’s world, social media management costs an extremely a lot of cash and for small businesses can be an overwhelming charge and burden. I suggest everyone post on your social media pages that you are looking for some social media management bc five times out of ten someone you know is already doing it for less. For instance for content creation I charge 20/hour with a minimum of 5hr blocks purchased, social media posting with a company’s very own content 25. 00 daily, content created by my company 75.00 not including fees for creating content, social media consulting 30/hour, etc. I am myself a small company, so that’s why I charge so less and I work with a lot of small businesses and I know the hardship when trying to make a name for your self. Now here’s the other thing, a lot of companies are charging thousands of $$$ to have their Facebook page, twitter page and instagram show millions of likes. Did you know that you can buy your social media audience? There are a lot of companies that offer that as well. Will this generate business? Maybe! But none can be too sure! I have seen businesses spends lots of money on SEO, likes and so fourth but it doesn’t necessarily mean it turns into revenue, which a small business needs.

Here’s my tip: research SEO even if you aren’t capable of doing it yourself,
Know what you are supposed to be getting, since you know your brand better than anyone, write down ad words that you feel identify your brand, then if only once a day take out some time and post pictures referring to your ad words. Look for bloggers and newspapers etc that will allow free posting or ads or just hire a pr to do the entire social media management for you!

Kyle Willis July 25, 2013 at 2:00 am

Great article Carter! Finding helping with your social media accounts is hard when most businesses or agencies require you to sign 6 month or year long contracts, charge $2k or higher as you stated above, and lack the creativity to get real results.

I call this status quo social media marketing and I hate it.

That’s why I launched No to the Quo where we don’t require any contracts and start monthly services as low as $500/mo. The mindset behind this is: you shouldn’t be paying if we aren’t getting results. Sure, it takes time to build a following and have people engage your content, but don’t tell me it takes a year to do that!

With No to the Quo, if we aren’t producing, then you can fire us :)

Hope this perspective is a welcome addition to what some of you guys are experiencing when talking to social media strategists!

Aissa August 24, 2013 at 2:09 am

@Kyle,
That sounds more like what I intend to do with my clients. Now, I know how to set up Social Media accounts, draft messaging schedules and use tools to disseminate messages across the various platforms. My question to you is, how do you measure ROI? It seems to me, in my experience, that while Social Media is great for increasing brand awareness and maintaining touch points with potential income generating customers, I have rarely seen it convert to actually dollars. What is your experience with Social Media efforts actually converting? Perhaps I may need to adjust my approach. Thank you in advance.

Julie September 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I also work like Kyle does. I do not have a contract and my monthly services start as low as $395.00 per month. I ask that people stay with me for 3 months because it does take time to build a following and have people engage with your business. I have various packages but I am also more than willing to customize something special for a clients based on their particular needs. All I ask is for my clients be committed to sharing their organization with me. http://www.simplysocialmediallc.com

@Aissa maybe you, @Kyle and I should have a Skype!

Vincent October 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hi

I’m in the industry, and those prices seams to be very expensive to me.
I’m actually working in developing country with outsourced team, so it might explain the lower cost. Is it really the prices found in north America? Can a middle size company afford this type of prices?

When I’m working with big brands with tons of likes or followers, cleaning the spam and answering fans can be a big job, but for a middle size company is not that high maintenance in my opinion.

Vincent

alex selvig October 12, 2013 at 1:03 am

Hey, anyone looking to get into social media, but doesnt have the money for it you should look at reading “unmarketing” by scott stratten. It is very helpful.

Jake November 1, 2013 at 3:11 am

Don’t bother to get a social media manager unless they can prove they have something you can’t do with a tool like Buffer and reading sites like Social Media Today.

The only value I see in my ability as a consultant/manager is that I’m extremely connected, and I can set up promotions with just about any other large social media account. I also have grown my own audience of over 1 million followers. Make sure they have case studies or proof or actually developing results.

Michael November 14, 2013 at 6:18 am

Hi Guys,

I’ve read through the comments (and of course the article) and found this thread extremely helpful as I’m researching and putting together budget projections for a small lifestyle blog I run. It’s a site I started a few years ago and feel passionate about so I decided to hire a content writer and social media manager to help grow it.

My question is – for those of you who do content writing and/or social media managing and posting, how do you find jobs? So far I’ve used craigslist and freelancer to post a job or writing gig and try to find talented people to do these tasks, but a lot of the applicants are from the Philippines or India and I either find the communication to be a challenge or they are simply not reliable. Are there other places I can look for reliable and motivated freelancers for an on-going commitment? Thanks for you help.

Timothy November 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Full social media setup and management every day for only £150 a month.

Social media does not have to be expensive!!!!!!

Qasim December 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hi guys,
Just like you, I’m a business owner with Social Media accounts and also a PR, Marketing, Social Media manager of some respectable companies. I’m always learning more and that’s honestly why I’m here.

BTW, I learned a lot from each of you great aspiring individuals.

I’d like to share some fodder with you in case this may benefit you as well as help answer a question some of you had regarding ROI…

You can track your ROI (return on investment) by the leads /reaches that are linked to you landing page (where your prospects make a decision to buy it or not). The sale comes after they find the page, but the value of that sale depends upon how good the salesman is studying up on his skill or the configuration of your words that NEED to communicate well to your public is formatted on that landing page — that is if you have a the type of service and/or product that could work with a landing page.

Get my drift?

I would look into it, as the links you create from your SM sites to you website/ brick and mortar business could be easily created (using HubSpot) and also easily located for one to have accessibility to your products. But for you to manage anything with some understanding where your efforts are going to, it would require the old fashion way of you using stats and there are 6 main stats to you need to be tracking to get a predictable amount of gross income and managing them into any sort of affluenc for your business or others…

To know more check me out or email me anytime.

Best,
Q

JeKaren Taylor January 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I work exclusively with small businesses whose revenue does not even meet this bottom line. My rates are on a sliding scale, according to revenue and social media need for each business.

C. Lewis January 29, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Wow! I’ve been managing social media and doing all the graphic design for a small company for $15.00 an hour. The owner of the co is a friend of mine, I knew I was cutting her a deal but I had no idea just how good of a deal she is getting!

Mike April 1, 2014 at 5:47 am

Hi Carter, thanks a lot for the advice. Honestly, that’s just the information I was looking for.

I’m sure you get a lot of these type of questions but the fact is that me and my team are not technical at all and we don’t want to get into the hassle of getting in the PC, logging in, posting, basically that social media management process. We are looking for a low cost social media management company, specifically in Vancouver, BC. Looking into a few options I came across companies like rtown.ca and codetactic.com – These seem to have way better prices than what you show here are the standards but I don’t get it, how can this be? Are they lying or can they get me results with this minimum investment? Not sure if you’d be able to see what they advertise but I’m a bit sceptical. Suggestions?

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