When you run a small or medium-sized business, you want to maximize every part of your budget including what you spend on social media marketing.
Perhaps you wonder if social media marketing is even worth it?
There are plenty of small business owners who think it’s a wise investment. In one study, 92% of marketers said their business garnered more exposure through their social media marketing efforts. Also, more than 50% of marketers who have used social media for the last two years said their efforts have helped improve sales.
Not every business has the resources to manage social media internally, though. That’s where hiring a freelancer or small agency can help you.
However, there’s no straightforward pricing standards in the industry. So, how do you know if you’re paying a fair price?
In this article, we’ll discuss typical social media marketing cost, services, and how to balance managing those activities internally versus outsourcing them.
Social Media Marketing Services
There are three main services that a digital social media agency might offer:
- Content Creation – these services include blog post writing, video production, image creation, social post creation, etc. Some agencies and freelancers might rely on you to provide content ideas or even some of the actual content.
- Follower or Audience Growth – some social media agencies don’t offer this as a separate service so it may just be assumed that your social audience will grow as your social channels are maintained. However, some agencies provide billable services for account growth.
- Social Media Advertising – this is very similar to PPC management of Google or Bing Ads, but is essentially paid advertising specifically on social networks.
When you sign up with a social media agency, they should be able to tailor the services to you based on your needs. If you are good at content creation but don’t have much experience with paid social advertising, they should be willing to omit the content creation service.
Social Media Marketing Costs
What you’ll find as you shop around for a place to outsource your social media management is that costs can vary widely. There are many different service and pricing models.
Some companies offer just general social posts to keep your social networks populated with content. Others excel at creating amazing social presences that are designed to function as additional sales and customer service channels for your business.
If you’re a small business with a small budget, you’ll likely find the greatest success with a social media freelancer or small social media or digital agency.
If you’re on a really tight budget then consider using a service like Fiverr.com to find a social media strategist. Fiverr’s marketplace includes a rating system so you can feel confident you’re picking a freelancer that’s reliable. Plus, Fiverr will refund you if the freelancer doesn’t deliver as agreed.
The only complaint we have about Fiverr is that the quality of work you get is typically not what you would get from a more experienced freelancer or an agency.
If you’ve got a little bit larger budget and you want to work with a more experienced freelancer then perform a Google search for “social media freelancers” and look through the results.
We suggest looking for someone who has at least 3 years experience and who can show you proof of successful social media management.
Always review a freelancer’s social profiles!
If a freelancer isn’t maintaining some pretty awesome social media profiles then don’t expect him or her to be able to effectively manage yours.
An experienced freelancer will cost around $50/hr. If the freelancer spends an hour each day managing your SM activities, you’re looking at about $1000 per month.
The drawbacks of hiring any type of freelancer are that they don’t have any loyalty to you (you’re out of luck if he/she is busy or sick) and you don’t have a way to oversee that he or she is working the amount of time you’re being billed. Therefore, it’s probably best to agree on a flat-rate for the month instead of worrying about micromanaging the freelancer.
If you’re concerned about the content and quality of your posts then have the freelancer use a social media dashboard with a post calendar so that you can review the posts prior to anything being published.
A good small agency will cost between $400 to $1,500 per month. What you get for that range is a customized package for your needs, a larger staff, and commitment to you as a client.
Additionally, most agencies will have online reviews so you can determine if they’re reputable. Some drawbacks include that you might need to sign a 6-12 month contract and/or make a down payment.
If you’re not really sure what to do with your social media strategy but your budget isn’t really tight, then a small agency may be the best option. An agency has reliability and experience which will both make your social marketing efforts more effective.
To Outsource or Keep In-House
Following basic economic principles, keep social media activities that you do well in-house and outsource what you don’t do well. For example, if you have trouble converting your Facebook followers into paying customers, try outsourcing content creation or social media advertising.
And, treat your social marketing like you would any other business process.
Streamline things when and where you can. Maybe you’re comfortable creating your own social media posts, which is great. But, consider using a social media dashboard to help save time.
You should outsource activities that take too long because it’s more cost-effective to do so.
Content creation can be a huge time killer, and if you don’t know what content to produce it can be a complete waste of time and effort.
For example, let’s suppose you have to pay a single employee for three days worth of work to create a marketing video. On top of the fact that he spends three full days on producing the video, he also interrupts employees from other departments to assist with parts of the video shoot. At this point, the cost of your video is a lot more than just 3 days of his salary.
Now, let’s say he doesn’t do a very good job of picking a topic because he doesn’t understand content marketing or SEO basics. You could end up with a very expensive video that doesn’t produce any digital marketing ROI. Ouch.
It’s important to take a look at what aspects of social media marketing you and your employees can perform and the decide what you’re actually good at.
If you aren’t sure what you and your team are doing well, then reach out to a digital marketing consultant to get professional feedback. We provide free internet marketing evaluations to anyone considering our services.
Find Your Agency
Now that you have a better idea of social media marketing costs, you can start looking for a freelancer or SM agency. Remember, outsource what makes the most sense for your business.
You can learn more about ClickFirst’s social media management packages here.