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Social Media Pricing: How Much to Charge for Social Media Management in 2023

Pricing your social media services fairly can be daunting whether you’re the new social media marketing agency on the block or a well-established agency. How much should one charge for a social media post? What about a campaign? Or a social media content strategy?

If that sounds relatable, don’t fret. We’ve put together a definitive guide to help you price your social media services accordingly.

We will take you through pricing models, strategies, and tips on designing your pricing around the services you offer. Or you can jump straight to our nifty pricing calculator at the end of the article.

Are you charging enough for social media management?

Social media management costs can vary a lot depending on the size of your business, the scope of your work, and the level of experience you bring to the table. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to charge anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per month for social media management services.

What if you’re just starting out as a freelance social media manager?

If you’re just starting out as a freelance social media manager, you may have to settle for charging on the lower end of the spectrum. But if you have a successful social media marketing background, you may afford to charge according to your experience.

Determine how much to charge based on the services you offer

Figuring out what to charge for your social media services may feel overwhelming initially, and that’s okay. This article will take you through the basics (and the nitty gritty) and help you create the best social media pricing plans.

  • assess your social media skills and experience

  • look at the scope of content creation work involved

  • come up with a range that you feel is fair

  • consider the size of the business (each company has a different marketing budget)

The rates you set should reflect your skill, experience, and task difficulty. Managing a few social media pages differs from planning and executing long-term social media campaigns.

Therefore, it’s essential to consider the type of social media management services you offer before settling on a price.

How much to charge for social media strategy

While social media strategy often falls under the umbrella of “social media campaigns” and “social media management,” these three things couldn’t be more different. The fact that they’re used interchangeably might lead to pricing confusion and pushback from clients. On a human level, it’s totally understandable. Would you pay for three different services if, from your perspective, they sound the same?

This goes to show how crucial it is to be clear from the onset what a service, especially one as nebulous-sounding to “outsiders” as social strategy, actually entails. 

Identifying target audiences and social media channels; setting objectives; auditing social media pages; combing through droves of data to identify the right topics to tackle. This is some pretty advanced stuff, and the pricing should reflect this. 

According to our data, most social media marketing agencies based in New York charge clients between $60 and $190/hour* for social strategy.

*Criteria: project handled mostly by seniors with an estimated time of completion of 30 hours.

Also worth considering:

  • Social media strategists perform very technical, costly work. 
  • Social media strategy services are usually priced on an annual or one-off basis.
  • Social media strategy is excellent for new agencies needing the cash and beefing up their portfolio.
  • Social media strategy-based projects attract two types of new clients: emerging brands that need expert help to build a solid foundation for their social media or established brands that are dissatisfied with their performance. 

Justifying prices to clients (more on that later) will always be a part of the agency hustle — so the clearer you are, the less explaining/convincing you’ll have to do.

How much to charge for social media management

There shouldn’t be much room for interpretation in your pricing. Since social media management can include everything from creating content, growing reach, and interacting with the audience to monitoring and even strategy, you’ll need to be very specific about what your pricing includes.

Our data shows that most social media agencies from New York charge between $40 and $190 per hour for on-going social media management, with some top-rated agencies charging as much as $350 per hour.

How much to charge for customer retention and community-building

Customer retention and community-building are also part of a social media manager’s job description.” Some companies hire in-house teams to handle this, while others outsource it. Depending on the client, this might require whole teams or just one person.

The nature of the work can also vary, from responding to DMs, addressing customer complaints on social media, organizing events and so on. As you can see, there are a lot of variables here, so you should take all of these factors into account when proposing a price to your client. 

After some digging, we found agencies based in the Midwestern United States charge between $40 and $190 per hour for community management (assuming it also involves content creation), with some top-rated agencies charging as much as $320 per hour. 

How much to charge for social media content creation

As for social media content creation, the price depends on the scope and size of the project. Some clients might have content producers in-house and hire agencies only for highly-specific work, like providing captions. Producing videos, designing social media assets, writing copy for dozens of posts each week, or any recurring work, for that matter, should be priced accordingly.

For example,  our numbers show that average-sized local agencies (outside major U.S. metropolitan areas) charge between $40 and $160 per hour for ongoing social media content creation. Some top-rated agencies can charge up to $280 per hour.

As always, clarity on the project’s scope will help you determine how much to charge for social media management.

How much to charge for social media marketing campaigns

Social media campaigns require a lot of legwork and specific skills ranging from analytical to creative. Moreover, the skills and know-how necessary to plan and implement social media campaigns often overlap, muddying the lines between services and complicating pricing. Does your client need an individual social media strategy? Content creation and management? What about budgeting? Can they provide you with numbers or at least a ballpark? Goals, objectives? Preferred social media platforms? Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

Looking at our data revealed that New York-based social media agencies charge between $70 and $190 per hour for social media marketing campaigns. That range assumes a month-long project where strategy, content creation, community management, design, reporting, and analysis are involved. Top-rated agencies can charge up to $320 per hour for the same service.

There are two ways to price this: 

  1. as part of a package 
  2. each service individually

Going the package route comes with the benefit of transparency and clarity. The downside is that “stuff happens,” and your packages might not be as all-encompassing as you thought. Pricing services individually gives you some wiggle room but with the added caveats of flexibility — pricing confusion and potential tensions with the client.

Social media management pricing models and strategies

In this section, we will take a look at two broad categories — pricing models and pricing strategies. As you’ll see, these two things are quite different. Understanding where they differ and overlap is essential to implementing them correctly. 

Social media marketing services — a few pricing strategies

1. Cost-based pricing

Cost-based pricing is one of the simplest pricing strategies out there. To turn a profit, you must sell more than you spend.

In simple terms, the agency owner calculates the services’ costs and then adds a percentage (profit) to that price. That results in the selling pricing.

It’s not research-heavy, as it simply involves adding your desired profit margin over your expenses.
It excludes demand or competition from the equation.
It’s not research-heavy, as it simply involves adding your desired profit margin over your expenses.
It excludes demand or competition from the equation.

This method is often used by agencies with limited knowledge of the client’s willingness to pay for the service provided. Most agencies use a cost-plus pricing structure and mark up 20% to 50% of their cost, whereas top agencies go much higher.

As an agency owner, the highest risk you’re looking at with cost-based pricing includes losing clients from the get-go. Why? Because clients might find the price too high.

2. Competition-based pricing

Competition-based pricing is the most natural approach for a social media management agency because it uses competitor prices as a benchmark. There are three ways to go about this:

  • Set the price higher than the competition.
  • Set the price lower than the competition.
  • Stay within the ranges of the market.
Although this strategy is quite research-heavy (even assuming competitor prices are publicly available), it’s still easy to implement, with the caveat that prices are dynamic, so you’ll need to adjust.
Its lack of flexibility. When you’re constantly trying to keep up with market prices, you have little to no wiggle room for price experimentation.
Although this strategy is quite research-heavy (even assuming competitor prices are publicly available), it’s still easy to implement, with the caveat that prices are dynamic, so you’ll need to adjust.
Its lack of flexibility. When you’re constantly trying to keep up with market prices, you have little to no wiggle room for price experimentation.

Additionally, while you could go with a competitive price, if you’re a low-cost agency might, competition-based pricing might severely impede your agency’s business growth and scaling potential.

However, matching the competition’s social media management cost brings differentiation dilemmas. As in: “What sets my agency apart from the other players?” And a higher price should always be paired with additional benefits and higher-quality services. 

3. Value-based pricing

Value-based pricing involves the value your agency brings to clients with products and services. Your customers’ perception of your agency’s worth is essential to this pricing strategy, as it dictates how much to charge for social media management.

You can leverage your agency’s reputation when setting prices.
Your pricing can be influenced by factors out of your control — bad PR, dissatisfied customers.
You can leverage your agency’s reputation when setting prices.
Your pricing can be influenced by factors out of your control — bad PR, dissatisfied customers.

With value-based pricing, negotiation is key in obtaining the best price for your services. The upside is that, unlike competition-based pricing, value-based pricing is more flexible. 

Additionally, your agency’s perceived value can increase through various initiatives — marketing campaigns and awards, for instance.

Sounds easy, but there’s more to this. There are some things most social media managers should consider before adopting this pricing strategy.

For one, analyze the market and how your competitors influence the perceived value of services. This will help you determine the highest price a customer would be willing to pay. You should account for the fact that every client is unique, and any piece of feedback will ultimately help you reach the best possible outcome.

Social media management services — pricing models

1. Price per hour

The hourly rate is one of the most popular models among agencies due to its straightforwardness. You simply determine an hourly rate, and the client pays for every hour of labor spent on that project. One big caveat is that not all hours are billable, so the rate should account for the time spent on admin work.

Very easy to implement and transparent.
Some clients may question the agency’s efficiency.
Very easy to implement and transparent.
Some clients may question the agency’s efficiency.

Since it’s in the agency’s best economic interest to have as many billable hours as possible, efficient time-tracking and smooth client management and communication are a must to avoid any conflicts with the client.

This social media marketing pricing model is best suited for prolonged, research-intensive projects that involve identifying target audiences and building social media strategies.

2. Price per activity or task

Sometimes, companies commission agencies for simple, specific tasks — and this pricing model is perfect for those situations. Still, when considering the pricing, you should look at the required time, the estimated delivery time, the number of people involved, and their seniority.

You can prevent what would otherwise become lost opportunities and forge long-term opportunities.
It is not very scalable as some projects can grow in scope and size.
You can prevent what would otherwise become lost opportunities and forge long-term opportunities.
It is not very scalable as some projects can grow in scope and size.

3. Retainer-based price

This is a pricing model that many agencies aspire to, and for a good reason. Essentially, clients pay in advance for work performed on an ongoing basis. It’s a very common pricing model as clients often prefer delegating the day-to-day operations of their social media accounts to specialists — ideally long-term.

It’s a predictable source of income.
Leftover monthly hours must be carefully accounted for.
It’s a predictable source of income.
Leftover monthly hours must be carefully accounted for.

A few examples of deliverables that clients could request are:

Since client retention is one of the most important factors influencing an agency’s long-term success, agencies often prioritize landing multiple clients looking for this type of collaboration.

As some services are not clearly outlined from the beginning and can evolve, clients often pay for a specific number of hours of labor in advance at the agency’s rate. In this situation, be clear about what happens with leftover monthly hours. Do they expire or roll over to the next month? As always, communication is key.

4. Performance-based price

Last but not least is performance-based pricing. As the name suggests, the social media marketing agency is paid based on the performance of its services. It’s prevalent in the advertising industry, as agencies get paid based on achieving specific pre-defined marketing goals. 

Its major perk is predictability — the agency knows it’s an excellent opportunity to scale, whereas clients know they will only pay if targets are reached.
It’s incredibly risky. Despite all efforts, some factors will be out of the agency’s control. Lack of clarity regarding resource and time allocation can further complicate things.
Its major perk is predictability — the agency knows it’s an excellent opportunity to scale, whereas clients know they will only pay if targets are reached.
It’s incredibly risky. Despite all efforts, some factors will be out of the agency’s control. Lack of clarity regarding resource and time allocation can further complicate things.

What about social media management packages?

Pricing packages are very popular in the agency world for one vital reason: they streamline and transparentize client-agency dealings and social media management costs as a whole.

Agencies typically price their packages according to the droves of data they’ve gathered over the years. Of course, you don’t have to run an international agency to package your services — on the contrary. Social media agencies of all sizes can find a lot of value in this approach.

For one, a custom package attracts a wide variety of clients because they can pick and choose whatever’s relevant for them.

Secondly, social media packages standardize your offering, making time and money investments easier to predict. 

Bonus: social media packages allow you to lock in contracts and ask for payment upfront.

That sounds great and all, but how should one make those packages? Don’t fret — we got you covered.

How to create a social media package

For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to focus on one school of pricing packages: the tiered model.

There’s a reason why this pricing model is so popular: it’s great for attracting new customers and for retention. That’s actually two reasons, but you get the idea.

Let’s assume you’re going for three tiers. In that case, it should look something like this:

  • “Good” — can attract new customers
  • “Better” — great for customer retention
  • “Best” — can incentivize current customers to spend more

It might seem very basic, but tiered pricing is actually deceptively effective for several reasons:

  1. Provides clarity and prevents choice paralysis. How have you ever waded through dozens of pages of cat harnesses, unsure which one to get? Now imagine that scenario, but with clients, social media management services, and possibly thousands of dollars at stake.
  2. Makes it easier for clients to scale as their business grows and their needs become more complex.
  3. Streamline workflows and incentivize the creation of transparent processes.
  4. Shift focus from cost to value. Itemized pricing models can be fertile ground for haggling. Not so much with tiered pricing models, where prices are immediately visible.
  5. Accommodate customers of varying economic means.

It’s important to remind non-social-media-savvy customers that everything is quantifiable.

For that, you’ll need to consider how to scale your offerings. Let’s take the skeletal pricing structure exemplified above and put some meat on it:

  • Good. 15 social posts per week and one monthly report.
  • Better. Four profiles and 30 posts per week + monthly reporting and strategic consultation by expert social media consultants.
  • Best. Let’s say ten profiles and 40 posts per week.

Here, you can include services such as strategy, monitoring, community management for each social media account, and so on.

The idea is to bestow the feeling of progression and incremental value on your social media marketing package.

NB: When naming your packages, ensure the lightest packages don’t look bad compared to the others. Clients should never feel bad for not choosing the highest tier.

Any specific factors I should consider when deciding on social media management pricing?

Visual reprezentation of optimum price formula for pricing social media services

Know your client

Different industries require different skill sets, tactics, strategies and approaches to content creation. While you may have some wiggle room for experimentation with media and entertainment clients, pharma, government and NGOs have different requirements (including legal). As a social media agency, you should consider whether your team has the know-how to navigate industries that are more restrictive with the social media content they produce.

Know your costs

Most businesses go on one of two routes: they either don’t factor in all costs and underprice or factor in all of their expenses and overcharge. So, you’ll need to find the sweet spot. To do that, you must assess your costs realistically and build your pricing around them. 

Here are a few factors to consider when assessing costs:

  • employees/freelancers
  • labor, marketing, and selling costs
  • operating costs without which the businesses wouldn’t be able to exist
  • tool stack/software
  • financial reserves for future expansion

Don’t forget about your competition

The customer’s first impulse will be to scan the competition — so why shouldn’t it be yours too?

The best approach here is to use your competition’s pricing model as a point of reference and put your spin on it. Pick it apart and ask yourself: “What could I do better” or “What are the gaps I could cover?”

Word to the wise: don’t try to one-up the competition if you lack the foundation to sustain those prices. Always consider your costs first, and then figure out the finer details — services offered and pricing structure.

Bonus: A few miscellaneous things to take into account:

  • Type of clients and their potential to become long-term partners.
  • Resources/workload (e.g., number of social media pages, content types, special requests, number of people involved, etc.)
  • Level of attention and number of social media managers required for individual social media networks.
  • Types of activities: strategic, operational, repetitive.
  • The client’s marketing budget.
  • Your personal and team experience.
  • Original content vs. curated content.
  • One-time vs. ongoing activities 
  • Are regular (on-site) meetings with clients required?
  • The time needed for research and analysis.
  • If there’s a community-building aspect to managing social media pages.

Get a tailored cost range with a social media management pricing calculator

Want to figure out how much you could charge for your social media services with little to no effort?

If you’re a marketing agency, this social media pricing calculator will help you price your social media services accordingly. 

Developed by Planable and the pricing experts at Soft Fight, this pricing calculator is powered by a complex algorithm that determines the ideal pricing range for your business.

We’ve based this calculator on the following assumptions:

  • The higher the quality of work, the higher the rate you should charge.
  • The higher the costs, the higher the rates should be to ensure a good margin.
  • The importance of having competitive rates.

To make the final result as representative as possible, we fed the algorithm data from 3 high-quality sources and handpicked 16 variables.

Broadly, this social media pricing calculator considers your costs, the quality of your work, perceived value, the market, and competition.

Specifically, the calculator accounts for these variables in an easy 4-step process:

  • General: location and hourly costs
  • Client data: type of collaboration, provided services, and client industry
  • Value: level of competition, overall project importance
  • Team: level of experience and industry knowledge

NB: All of these variables count towards the final result. 

Ready to take your pricing to the next level? Give it a try here:

Start calculating your social media management pricing

Find out how to price your agency services correctly. No complicated formulas. No boring spreadsheets.

2Client Data

Justifying prices to (potential) clients

Despite all your best efforts to make your pricing as clear and transparent as humanly possible, there will come a time when you’ll have to justify prices to clients. Again, don’t fret. It’s all part of the game, and we have just the thing to help you level the playing field.

Here’s what to prepare if (or rather when) that moment comes:

Estimated time of project completion & effort

Some projects take more time than others. Fortunately, this can tip the scales in your favor, especially if you charge by the hour. To use this as justification, prepare data showing how much work can be done in a certain amount of time. 

Going in, your clients should know that there’s more to a Christmas social media campaign than flooding timelines with Mariah-Carey-defrosting-jokes in November (as funny as that may be). Time is of the essence, and if you’re dealing with the sort of client that asks for a lot of edits and revisions, it’s best to present realistic project timelines.

The expertise you bring to the table & proven track record

Your expertise will obviously weigh heavily with clients, as social media managerial and logistical experience can make or break their exposure, conversion rates, and goals. Agencies with proven track records building communities around brands will always gain a competitive edge.

In those cases, portfolios and data are (co-ruling) kings. Portfolios to give rundowns and provide historical context for your experience and data to show results. For extra clout, reach out to current and former clients and start building video case studios.

The micro and macro skills you offer

Creativity, writing ability, content curation, project management, design, strategic thinking, community management, and analytical skills are just a few of the elements that can influence your pricing. Ensure your clients understand the value your agency’s employees and collaborators provide to their business. Explain each skill’s role in the bigger picture.

While clients are fully aware that they need your services, they might need help understanding the value of fulfilling that need. 

That’s why you’ll have to justify your prices. And in most cases, it’s not a convoluted scheme to get you to lower the numbers. All it takes is explaining the price with facts, logic, and numbers. Long-term, this helps with building trust, and it will show that transparency and constructive communication are the tenets of your agency.

Social media management pricing FAQ

What should you charge for social media marketing in 2023?

A standard social media marketing package costs around $700 per month. Use our pricing calculator to get a range.

How much do beginner social media managers charge?

Monthly packages can start from $500 and can go upwards to $2500/month.

How much should I charge to write a social media post?

The standard rate for writing a social media post starts from $50.

How much should I charge to manage a Facebook Page?

Anywhere between $30 and $140/hour. 

This pricing assumes the following factors:

  • Ongoing collaboration
  • One approver from the client’s side
  • An estimated time of 160 hours/month (Full-time)
  • The client doesn’t have the option to do it in-house
  • Other competitors (generalist agencies) are considered for this project
  • Medium level of involvement from clients in the project
  • Your team are experts in the client’s industry

This range is based on the assumption that you manage content for multiple social media platforms. For managing a single Facebook page, you can halve that range.

Social media management pricing wrap-up

By now, you should have a better understanding of the basics of social media management pricing. Consider all the factors, do your research, and talk to other professionals in the industry for advice. And remember — always make sure that your client understands why you are charging what you are asking for. That way, everybody will be on the same page, and you can ensure that you’re both getting the most out of your collaboration. 

Marco Giuliani
Marco Giuliani

Content marketer and aspiring YouTuber, in no particular order. Expertise in content writing, social media copywriting, and neo-noir graphic novels. Used to run a music webzine in the 2 seconds in the early 2010s when blogs were hot. I tweet very badly on Twitter.

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