If you have no previous work experience in marketing or social media management, it can be tempting to start out on an hourly basis. Many newbie social media managers charge approximately $25 – $35 an hour to start, typically between 10 or 20 hours per month per client. This means that each client is worth $250 – $700 per month.

However, it’s very hard to earn a reasonable living charging that amount when you’re self-employed. Creating pricing packages and retainers (which allow you to earn more) requires confidence and experience to do them right. So for the first 3 – 6 months of your business, go ahead and charge hourly if you feel more comfortable doing so. But then once you have experience and can create case studies for your work, it’s time to move towards packages.

There are different ways to charge for social media management:

  • Hourly
  • Monthly rate
  • Flat project rate

How much to charge for social media management pricing rates graphic image

An example of a flat project rate could be to help a business set up their social media accounts or for a new product launch. The easiest way to do that would be to determine what you want to make hourly, estimate the project, and then provide a flat quote.

However, this type of work isn’t very common within social media management.

Most businesses are looking for someone to help them grow and maintain their social media following over time. They don’t want a one-off project.

Because social media management is ongoing, it represents recurring income for you as a business owner. Recurring revenue allows you to focus on serving your clients without having to always bring new clients in the door every month.

While some inexperienced social media managers may choose to charge hourly, this quickly becomes a problem. It’s hard to scale, hard to outsource if you decide to grow your business, and it’s hard to raise your rates because business owners get nervous about paying higher amounts. While it is absolutely possible to charge $100+/hr, it isn’t necessarily easy.

Pricing packages solve all of these problems. Here are the benefits of creating monthly packages for your work:

  • Regular, recurring income from clients
  • Clients know what to expect to pay every month
  • Showcase your expertise by creating packages that meet their needs
  • Make it easy for clients to choose which package fits them—too many options can kill sales
  • Scale your business more easily if you decide to

There also are downsides to monthly package-based pricing:

  • Clients might push the boundaries of what’s included
  • It’s hard to come up with packages that reflect reality (especially if you’re inexperienced)
  • Some clients won’t fit into your preset boxes

Even still, these negatives don’t outweigh the positives. For social media management services, monthly packages are the most desirable way to charge. And there are workarounds for the clients who need a custom package.

For agencies working with medium or large enterprises, preset packages may be impossible. Packages are a great fit for agencies working with small to medium-sized businesses, but with complex organizations with dozens of social media accounts potentially across different brand lines, regions, and even languages…you’ll need to master custom pricing, which I discuss in detail below.

How much to charge for social media management packages image

What to do when prospective clients don’t fit into your packages

Package-based pricing is very trendy right now. It’s not only trendy with social media management. It’s trendy with graphic designers, copywriters, other types of consultants, business coaches…pretty much everybody.

But package-based pricing can cause a lot of anxiety. What do you do if the client doesn’t fit into one of your packages? Do you let them go? Absolutely not! Provided they would make a great client, you should create a custom package.

Here’s an example of what this might look like in your business.

The Sparkle Package: Manage 2 accounts including content creation and engagement

The Firework Package: Manage 4 – 5 accounts including content creation and engagement

The Lightning Package: Manage 5 – 6 accounts including content creation, engagement, influencer marketing management and user-generated content management

Custom package: Internally, create a flat rate price sheet with a monthly price on everything you do, from the copywriting work to the design work to scheduling to engagement. And also special services like influencer marketing management and user-generated content management. Then on a sales call, when a lead doesn’t fit into your small, medium or large package, simply add up what services they need to provide them with an accurate quote. You can give the quote over the phone, or follow up via email after your call.

Process to determine how much to charge for social media graphics

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some social media agencies are husband-wife teams who work with small, local businesses. Other agencies have 20+ employees and 100+ clients around the world.

It would be absurd to give you a number and send you on your merry way.

But ranges are silly too. Knowing that most social media management freelancers charge $200 – $1,000 per month and that most social media management agencies charge $500 – $10,000 per month doesn’t help you.

What you need is a process of finding the number that is right for you, your business, and your clients.

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