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How Much Does a Social Media Manager Cost?

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Millions of businesses rely on excellent social media management as a low-cost way to build brand awareness and reach targeted audiences.

If you’re wondering how much a social media manager costs, it’s about $14 to $35 per hour for a skilled freelancer.

It’s essential to consider the level of experience you need, the scope of the position, and know the right questions to ask a social media manager at an interview to select the perfect candidate.

Here, we’ll explain a few critical factors that will impact your social media staffing budget.

What Are the Average Costs of Hiring a Social Media Manager?

If you’re looking to hire a social media manager to take over all supervisory responsibilities for a large team, your annual budget will inevitably be higher than hiring someone in for a junior role.

There are multiple variables at play, so your total costs will depend on the following considerations.

Social Media Management Experience

Hiring a social media manager who doesn’t have the appropriate background can be more costly than paying someone with a great set of skills.

Social media professionals with strong communication abilities and expertise in managing brand presence can transform the rate of return on your social media advertising budgets.

But, you don’t need to hire a hugely accomplished manager if you have a smaller business and want to test the waters with smaller campaigns.

The Number of Socials Used By Your Business

Social media management responsibilities can range from running one platform to juggling cross-posts and digital ads on multiple feeds, so you’ll need to think about:

  • How many different platforms and sites does your business use?
  • What metrics is your social media manager responsible for monitoring?
  • Are they required to create the content or will they work with an existing content creation employee?
  • How many colleagues will they need to supervise?

Pure management roles might involve content approvals, managing targets, building content strategies, and monitoring schedules.

However, your costs will be higher if you need an all-in-one social media manager to produce original content and then track progress right through to performance metrics. 

Your Expected Customer Engagement Volume

If you already have tens of thousands of followers and a very active social presence, the capacity of the social media management job immediately increases.

Businesses with engagement tools, customer service teams, or a network of social media managers might delegate tasks such as responding to individual comments to a more junior employee.

Social media managers required to manage responses, communications, and monitoring key performance metrics (KPIs) have a heavier workload, so it’s often best to agree to timescales for replies – and the faster a response you need, the more expensive the rate!

Advertising and Marketing Budgets

The larger your social media advertising budget, the greater the knowledge level required.

Free campaigns, organic growth, and natural customer advocacy are great aspirations – but most companies opt for an element of paid advertising or influencer ads to gain market traction.

The Underlying Customer Services Framework

Social media, inevitably, attracts negative responses from time to time (no matter how amazing the content you produce is!).

Pay rates for social media managers will depend on how much support you have in place to spread out the need to deal with any adverse responses:

  • Is there a dedicated customer services team to deal with complaints or negative reviews?
  • Do you invite customers to leave feedback through your socials, and who manages those dialogues if so?
  • Will your social media manager need conflict resolution or negotiation skills to deal with sticky situations?
  • Is there another manager who shares responsibility for proofing and approving campaigns before they go live?

Another factor to think about is specific expertise. Social media channels linked with technical products, for example, might offer troubleshooting services to address any user issues.

If your social media manager is required to deal with this, you’ll likely need to budget more to find someone with experience in your sector to answer detailed questions.

Content Creative Requirements

Original content is ideal for every social media post, story, advert, and campaign. 

Video content provides the highest engagement rates, and you’ll want to build a library of quality photos, graphics, videos, and interactive links to make the most of your platforms.

Businesses with a freelance content creator, or team of designers, won’t usually need their social media manager to get hands-on with creating the content – but a blended role including design tasks will command a more comprehensive skill set.

Social Media Manager Rates by Project Type

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that you don’t necessarily need to hire a social media manager for the long term, and many freelance professionals work on a per-project basis.

Indicative costs are:

  • $300 to $1,000 to create a new small business social media campaign.
  • $2,500 to $10,000 per month to manage up to two prominent social media accounts.
  • $400 to $1,500 for a new blog post creation with social shares.
  • $200 to $950 for graphic design services.

If in doubt, a great place to start is browsing through social media manager profiles online, looking at their hourly or project rates, and comparing the proficiency on offer with your requirements.

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