how to price your services as a social media freelancer

How to Price Your Social Media Services (The Fair Way)

Matt Astifan Convert Your Audience 3 Comments

Social Media services pricing can seem tricky and full of nuances. Here are some specific tips on how to price your services social media services:

Find Your Magic Number

First, figure out how much you want to make per year and how many hours you want to work per week – then calculate the number backwards.

For example, if you want to make $100k a year, with five clients you need to bring in an average of $20,000 per client, or about $1,700 per month, per client. Having SMART goals will help you put your full compensation terms together for each client.

From here, there are some market guidelines on social media management pricing.

Pricing Guideline: Social Media Management (eg, Curating Content For Weekly or Daily Posts)

This is what most “Social Media Managers” focus on and unfortunately it’s not a very high paying gig because there isn’t much direct ROI associated to curating content for daily or weekly posts. Let’s face it, posting on Social Media for the purpose of “Likes”, “Comments” and “Shares” doesn’t correlate directly to making the cash register ring.

BUT… It does create engagement and it’s important if you (or your clients) want to build a real tribe around your brand. You want people feel like they “know you” even though they’ve never met you, and you can do it through daily posts.

The master of this strategy was Guy Kawasaki. Back in 2009/2010 he was known for sharing a lot of content from other people… I mean A LOT. He was posting links to other people’s content multiple times per hour (just look at his tweet count @GuyKawasaki!). Later, Guy even created a site called AllTop.com that focused on curating and organizing other people’s content (btw, great resource for you to find content for your clients). Guy quickly raised to the top of the Social Media Influencers list (with over a million followers) and continues to stay there today while also creating a lot more of his own content.

The challenge with this strategy is that it is very difficult (if not possible at all) to track daily postings to ROI. So businesses aren’t willing to pay much for this service. And if they do, the churn on renewal is low.

There’s also many services out there which use algorithms to find content for you, for FREE (eg, Quuu, Hootsuite, Buffer and many more social media management tools have this built in). And that’s not to mention you are competing with a plethora of services which charge $99 to $299 per month.

So curating content ISN’T a place we recommend you play unless you combine Content Curation with other services which we’ll talk about below.

Pricing Guideline: Content Creation (eg, managing the creation of original content for your client)

Alright so now we’ve moved from “sharing other people’s content” to “creating your own content” (or content for your client).

Content Creation is the most important strategy that businesses must implement if they want a real Social Media Strategy. Note: There’s other ways to use Social Media which in our opinion isn’t really being “social” (such as a focus on Funnels and Ads which we’ll get into next). 

The goal of Content Creation is to document your company knowledge (or the knowledge of the company that hired you). You can do this through an assortment of media types.

  • Written (Blogs & Guest Posts / Contributions)
  • Images (Pictures/Graphics)
  • Audio (Podcasts)
  • Video (YouTube, Facebook, etc)
  • Live Video (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Webinars, etc)
  • Live Event (In-Person Meetups, Guest Speaking Opportunities, ect)

The challenge with creating this type of content is that you NEED your clients involvement. You need them to tell you what they know, what their customers want to know, and in a sense how to communicate it in their industries language.

Most clients prefer the hands-off approach to Social Media marketing which can be a challenge to create real meaningful content that will ignite a tribe online. So our recommendation is to batch the process. Schedule a full (or half day) interview/question period with your client to pull content ideas. Continue to execute on those ideas until you’ve run out of content ideas. Then, repeat.

So how do you charge for social media services like this?

Well there are several writers and writing agencies out there which will create written content for you (you supply the topic/info and they’ll write it for you). They typically charge anywhere from $50 to $150 per article. Then, there’s graphic designers who will create well branded images with quotes for anywhere from $5 – $10 or so (you supply the copy / image descriptions).

In our experience, most freelancers who have been doing this for a while and managed to keep clients for an extended amount of time are charging between $2000 to $3000 OR MORE. We’ve heard up to $7,000 per month which often doesn’t including the cost to hire writers, graphic designers, videographers etc.

Once you’ve created a good amount of content we recommend using a tool like SmarterQueue to create an evergreen cycle of content on your clients social media accounts. This way, there’s always content being published on their social accounts, even if it’s only a few times per week.

Pricing Guideline: Building Funnels & Managing The Facebook Ads

This is honestly the best and most profitable social media services model. This is what we call being a Social Media Director because you are directing all other aspects of their social media marketing to drive SALES. If you’re helping clients make money, and you can track it, you’ll be paid a lot more to do it.

So here we go… here’s the best way to make six-figures as a Social Media Director.

If you’re going to run Facebook Ads for your clients, they’re going to need a sales funnel. We recommend you charge no less than $2,500 to build out a sales funnel. Setting up a funnel includes building out all the pages with easy to use usability, mobile optimization, integrating with their email auto-responder (possibly programming the follow up emails too), consultation on copywriting and graphics, and adding the Facebook and Google Analytics pixels to all pages in their funnel.

If you’re new to Sales Funnels, check out this video to expand your knowledge.

$2500 is a very reasonable rate for this service, as it will take you a significant amount of time to set up a custom funnel. With more experience and proof of your funnel’s ROI, you have room to increase this rate big time.

Managing Facebook Ads campaigns effectively takes time and expertise, so charge a minimum of $1,000 per month. Facebook campaign management includes researching target audiences, creating multiple ad variations per audience, tracking, scheduling, and reporting.

That takes care of how to price your services as a Social Media Director that charges a flat fee. But wait, there’s more…

Factor a commission into your pricing

When you build a sales funnel for a client, you are building them a tool that is a virtual employee, selling for them 24/7.

A sales funnel takes tweaking and optimizing so that it performs better and better over time. So you also want to negotiate to get a commission on all sales from the funnels you build.

While some sales may come from other sources besides Facebook Ads, the precedent must be set that you and your client are a team. You want to be working together on collecting data and driving sales, rather than competing against each other for traffic. A commission of 5 – 10% (or more) on all sales through your sales funnel (or sales from ads only) is appropriate.

If your client can’t be convinced on these commission terms consider charging a higher price to build the funnel and run the ads. Commission percentage is negotiable and must strike a balance where both you and your client feel you’re getting a good value.

Presenting your pricing

There are two ways you can present your social media marketing pricing: bundle the cost of the setup with the cost of ads management or break them down separately. Ensure that you are establishing a fixed-term contract of 3 to 12 months — not a month-to-month agreement. Your client needs to be in it for the long run with you and not expect enormous results in the first 30 days – especially if it’s a new campaign they’ve never run Facebook Ads for before.

You can also include the option to cancel the contract with the payout of a lump sum or a percentage of the remaining fees owed. This is just in case they should ever want to cancel the agreement, they have an out. You don’t want to work with a client that doesn’t want to work with you.

Optional: to increase your client’s confidence in your ability, you may choose to offer a Facebook Advertising guarantee. The offer would include a contingency that if you don’t get them results, you don’t get paid. Only offer this if you’re confident in your ability to deliver results!

Here’s an example of guarantee you could offer:

“ROLLING 30 DAY GUARANTEE: If I’m not bringing you results, you shouldn’t pay me. That’s why I offer a Rolling 30 Day Guarantee. At the end of each month you can decide if my work is making you profits. If I’m not bringing you the results you want you can choose to cancel our agreement and I’ll refund your last month installment to your Facebook Advertising management.”

Fine-tuning the fee

Knowing how to price your services as a social media freelancer is a large part of the sales process. Be bold. Remember that good online marketing ain’t cheap. However, if you find you’re striking out, you may be setting your social media marketing pricing too high, too low, or not effectively translating the value in your offer.

Check out social media professionals’ Facebook Groups for input on what others are charging.

Did you find this helpful? What’s your experience with figuring out how to price your services as a social media freelancer? Any tips?