When you hire a lawyer, you probably have a general idea of what they might cost. You can shop around, but their pricing will most likely be competitive and you’ll need to choose one who you think can do the job best—rather than the one who is the cheapest. 

Lots of industries have “typical” pricing—grocery stores, coffee shops, plumbers, etc. You might shop at a high-end grocery store, but you probably still know what to expect in terms of pricing. 

Unfortunately, social media management is what we consider a “gray industry.” Because it’s a newer and ever-changing industry, its pricing has not settled into a “standard.” You can find a social media manager who will charge $500 for the exact deliverables another might charge $2500!

We all know that cheaper isn’t always better, but we also know that a high price doesn’t always equal a premium product. How can you make sure you’re getting the best product for the best price as a business owner? 

As you’re examining proposals from social media managers, these are some questions you should be asking to determine if you’re getting the best product: 

  1. What am I getting for the price? How many posts, videos, etc. are included?
  2. Who is doing the copywriting?
  3. What are some samples of their work?
  4. What is my goal for my social media? Does their promise align with my plan?
  5. How long is the trial period?
  6. How do they determine my style and voice?
  7. Will I get to see the posts before they go out?
  8. How much work am I expected to do?
  9. Who will be in charge of engagement?
  10. How do they keep up with current trends?

These questions will help you explore whether a social media manager is a good fit for you. If any of these questions bring up red flags, you may want to pause and reflect on whether the social media manager will deliver the best product they can. 

If you are feeling apprehensive about the price in their proposal, that’s understandable. If they’re on the low end of the pricing range, you may wonder if they will be able to give you a good product. If they’re on the higher end, you may be wondering why it costs so much!

I’ll walk you through one of our packages as an illustration of what’s going on behind-the-scenes for a social media manager. Pretend you’ve asked us to deliver 20 posts for Instagram and Facebook.

Our deliverables include: 

  • Copywriting
  • Graphic design or photo sourcing
  • Hashtag research
  • Scheduling
  • Monthly reporting
  • Monthly check-in meetings

Quick note: For this example, I’m not including time dedicated to engagement (responding to comments or direct messages, searching for new followers, etc.)

While our rates are package rates and not hourly rates, I think it’s important to show how much time goes into good content creation. 

  • Copywriting for 20 posts (5 hrs)
    • Our team can write 3-4 posts in an hour, depending on the topic. They spend around 15-20 minutes reading, researching, and writing a post. If it’s a complex industry, this may take longer.
  • Graphic design or photo sourcing (4 hrs)
    • Our design team creates custom graphics for each of our clients. In this scenario, pretend we’re doing 10 graphics and 10 photos. It takes about 3 hours to create those custom graphics. We’d spend another hour sourcing and assigning pictures from stock photo sites or our client’s repository. 
  • Hashtag Research (1 hr)
    • Hashtags are essential to an organic Instagram strategy. We spend time researching which hashtags will perform better and switch them up whenever we need to. 
  • Scheduling (1 hr)
    • We use CoSchedule to manage our clients’ posts. This software’s AI can predict when the best time to post is. It takes about an hour to schedule 20 posts and customize them between Facebook and Instagram.
  • Monthly reporting (1 hr)
    • Each month our clients receive a report with stats from their social media accounts. For an account only using Instagram and Facebook, it takes about an hour to compile the report. 
  • Monthly check-in meetings (1 hr)
    • Our account manager meets with our clients at least once per month to discuss their content. During this time, we talk about any upcoming promotions and any strategic decisions. 

According to this scenario, it would take our team a minimum of 13 hours to create content for social media. This calculation doesn’t include the time we devote to developing our skills, staying on top of trends, and any internal brainstorming meetings. 

All this to say, when clients are struggling to find a social media manager, I remind them that great content takes time to produce. If a proposal is on the lower end, will the social media manager have the time to prioritize your content? If the proposal is on the higher end, what are those extra things they are doing to ensure your content is spectacular?

You deserve to have the best content that fits your brand for the best price. That doesn’t mean it’ll be the cheapest option, but you should be FULLY aware of the deliverables you’re receiving for your investment. If you’d like to explore our social media packages, schedule an appointment so we can discuss whether we’re a good match for your needs. 


About the author:

Julia Block is the CEO of Stratos Creative Marketing, helping business owners make sure their marketing strategies all work together to produce results and revenue.

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