How much should Social Media Management cost?
It is a question we are often asked and we often hear asked of others, and, as with so many such questions, the answer is of course – it depends.
But, rather than give the basic “how long is a piece of string” answer. We thought it would be a good idea to at least try to give you some idea of the factors that will effect the price you pay for your social media management.
1 – How do you define “social media management”?
This is perhaps the biggest factor in determining the cost of paying someone to mange your social media. How do you, and they, define the term social media management?
You might consider it as simple as just scheduling some posts once a week to sprinkle out across the course of the week to cover your social media obligations. But there are an awful lot of factors effecting that simple task.
Firstly, what posts are they scheduling? Do you already have content they can use or will they have to produce it first? If they’re going to have to produce it, you’re looking at much more time being required.
Secondly, do you want them just to post stuff up? Or do they need to actually “manage” your social media. Respond to comments, messages etc? Find and share content, engage with other users, develop your message and alternate between different post types?
2 – How many networks are you using?
Different social media networks require different approaches, different kinds of posts, different use of hashtags and alternative messages. They have different demographics and differing user behaviour. Their users are on them for different reasons!
So, if you just have one network to worry about, it’s a smaller task.
If you’re using six or more then, quite obviously, it’s going to be a much larger undertaking with a lot more time required to make it workable.
3 – Strategy or management?
Is the person you’re going to pay to look after your social media just going to be a glorified administrator? Or are they going to take an active role in developing the strategy, adapting to changes in the market, adjusting to the behaviour of users and trending topics? Are they going to experiment with spilt testing, refining your message, tweaking your brand voice and researching your customers and competitors?
There is a big difference.
Often this can come down to time. Perhaps the person whom you’re paying could be looking at your social media from a strategic standpoint if they had the time, but you’ve restricted their time due to budget and so, they just plod along doing the basics day in and day out and as a result, your social media does little or nothing for you.
4 – How skilled and experienced is the person doing it?
This question is often overlooked or ignored altogether. If you’re hiring a large agency to take over your social media management, it is important to remember this – you are just one of dozens, if not hundreds, of clients on their books. There is a very real chance that your account will be handled by someone who is assigned it and simply applies the same formula they have to every other account they manage.
Worse still, you might get passed to an office junior or apprentice. You’re not likely to get the MD of the company (with whom you’ve been speaking) working on your accounts for you.
Sometimes a smaller, more focused, more personal service will yield better results. Yes, these usually cost more, but you’re getting a much better return and much more experience and expertise being applied to your social media.
5 – Where is the content coming from?
We touched on this earlier yes, but it is a key and often forgotten point. In order to make social media work there needs to be something to post.
You need to have content.
Ideally this should be a combination of blogs, images and videos. Those things don’t just magic themselves into existence. You have to create them, or you have to pay someone else to create them for you.
Either way, content is vital and it needs to be produced in enough quantity to stop your social media becoming stale. And it needs to be produced with your company brand, voice and objectives in mind. Simply screaming about your products day in and day out is boring. You need to be funny, useful or interesting. Or sometimes a mix of all three.
6 – Are you going to get told what they’re doing?
Most agencies or freelancers who are confident, experienced and knowledgeable about social media will provide you with a report on what they have done, why they have done it and what the results have been.
They’ll also tell you what changes they’re going to make or where they’re going to put their focus to achieve the results you’re after.
Those that don’t volunteer this are those that do not have any intention or real confidence in being able to deliver results.
Whether you manage your social media or outsource to a freelancer or a big agency, you need to have data and reports to really know what you are doing, why you are doing it, what is working and what isn’t and what your return on investment is. Without data you might as well be throwing money down the drain.
So, what is the average cost of social media management?
Ok, so we’ve given you some of the key considerations that will affect the cost of your social media. There are of course more, but you’d be reading for hours if we went into them all.
Realistically, it comes down to time. How much time the person you’re paying is going to commit to your social media per month. And this time of course has to be split across your multiple channels, divided between strategy and management, be applied to posting and scheduling, be given to research and communication and analysis of results.
On average, you should expect to pay at least £500 per month per social network you have.
This is a UK average and would give most agencies the time to properly focus on each network with enough time to do what they need to.
Of course, if your networks are already large, with large followings, lots of engagement and regular interaction – the cost will be higher because more time will be required.
A word of warning
As with many things, you really do get what you pay for. If you’re being told by someone that they can manage your six social media networks fully for £400 a month, they’re just not going to be doing enough for you.
If they don’t ask you questions about what your aims and objectives are, if they don’t ask about your target customers, your marketing, content and social media strategy, if they don’t question the messages you’re wanting to project, what your brand guides are or what freedom they have – don’t use them. You’ll be wasting your money.
For help, advice or guidance on your social media and how you can gain control of it for yourselves, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
Written by Alex.S
Digital Marketing Consultant & Keynote Speaker @ Dragonfire Marketing