Two years ago I wrote a post entitled So How Much Will a Social Media Strategy Cost, which was designed to give businesses and organizations an idea of how much they should expect to pay consultants and agencies for basic social media marketing services. As you might expect, that post was insanely popular, so I followed it up with How Much Does Social Media Cost Companies in 2011 last year, and now this year those prices are being updated again with this post. For all three, these prices are taken from published rates found online, as well as what other agencies and consultants have told me they charge for these services.
In general, both posts in 2010 and 2011 were designed to give companies basic price information around the most common services, such as setup and execution of a blog, Twitter and Facebook page, as well as basic Social Media Training. In the comments of both posts, many of you mentioned that there were additional areas that you would like to see addressed in the future.
With that in mind, I reached out specifically to some friends and fellow consultants that offer Social Media Marketing services to their clients either as independents, or as part of an agency (their own, or someone else’s). I would like to thank the following experts for helping me by giving me their rates for these services so I could have the most accurate price information(And on short-notice during the Holidays!):
Jason Falls, Tom Martin, Jay Baer, Tamar Weinberg, Nick Westergaard, Mitch Canter, Lisa Petrilli, David Griner, Drew McLellan, Bobby Rettew, DJ Waldow, Jennifer Kane and Kary Delaria. If you have any questions about these services or need to hire a consultant or agency to help you with your Social Media Marketing efforts, please email me and I will be happy to work with you, or refer you to one or more of these fine people. Also, please click their names to visit their blog/site and learn more about their services.
Before I get to the prices, I wanted to talk a bit about how the area of Social Media Consulting has changed over the last few years. In 2008 and 2009, Social Media Consultants were in fairly high demand, especially the more well-known and established ones. Companies were realizing that they needed to start using Social Media as a way to listen to and connect with their customers, yet they had little to no idea how to do so. Enter the Social Media Consultant. A shift in marketing philosophy by many companies created a real demand for professionals that could create and execute social media strategies for companies.
By 2010 and 2011, most companies began to understand that Social Media wasn’t simply a fad, and it was a business necessity that they needed to address via hiring. Many companies, especially larger brands, hired Social Media Managers, and then entire Social Media Marketing teams. This shift had a profound impact on the area of Social Media Consulting in two ways:
1 – Many of these companies hired existing Social Media Consultants to be their Social Media Managers and fill their Social Media Marketing teams. Companies like Radian 6 and Edelman PR aggressively hired independent consultants as well as professionals at other agencies to build and compliment their own Social Media Marketing teams.
2 – Many of these companies stopped (or slowed in) hiring Social Media Consultants for execution work, instead giving that to their in-house team. The successful consultants and agencies today are usually the ones that adapted the quickest to this change.
As a result, the average Social Media Consultant today is doing less execution work, and is spending more time actually consulting with and training companies on how to use Social Media properly. Diversification is a good thing.
Now, on with the prices. As with last year’s post, for every service I am providing a range, as well as a Most Charge distinction. In general, the fees associated with setup of basic social media tools like a company blog, Twitter or Facebook page have gone down. On the other hand, rates for comprehensive Social Media Strategy auditing, creation and training services have generally increased.
In general, smaller businesses and non-profits can expect to pay prices that are closer to the low end of the price range, while large companies and organizations will probably see their quoted rates closer to the top end of the range.
Also, when looking at rates for monthly content curation and management of individual social media tools, remember that the more content the consultant/agency has to curate and create/edit for you, the higher the rates. Likewise, if you can handle the content creation and just need training and some light editing, then your rates will usually be lower.
Here’s the prices:
Custom design and template creation – $1,000 – $5,000
Most Charge – $1,000-$3,000
Writing/Editing Content for the blog plus ongoing training – $500-$4,000 a month (Assume 1-2 posts a week at this rate)
Most Charge – $1,000-$3,000
Ghostwriting blog posts – $50-$500 per
Most Charge – $75-$200 per
Account Setup – $500-$2,000
Most Charge – $500-$1,000
Ongoing Account Management and Training – $500-$3,000 a month (For this service, the more content you need provided for you, the higher the fees)
Most Charge – $500-$1,500 a month
Initial Page Setup – $500-$2,500
Most Charge – $500-$1,500
Monthly Content Management and Curation – $500-$3,000 a month
Most Charge – $1,000-$2,000 a month
Facebook Promotion Creation
Short-Term (1-3 months) Contest, including branding for the app, limited promotion on other channels such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the contest. Fee doesn’t include prize and Facebook Ads to promote – $1,500-$20,000
Long-Term (3-6 months) Contest, including above, more elaborate promotion based on client’s needs – $25,000-$75,000
Note: These are the ‘Big Three’ tools when it comes to Social Media for business, and many consultants and agencies will offer companies a package deal on setting up and maintaining all three. For other tools such as Google Plus, Pinterest, MySpace (yes many entertainment and music-related businesses especially still use it) and others, assume that rates in general will be consistent for what you could expect to pay for similar services with Facebook or Twitter.
Total to shoot, produce and edit video – $500 – $30,000 (Note: Obviously, the complexity and length of the video plays a huge role in the final cost. If you want custom animation, several scenes and a 30-minute video, obviously that’s going to cost far more than a simple, 2-minute one-on-one video. One expert told me that they charge $1,000 per minute of finished product.)
Social Media Strategy
Social Media Monitoring (Note – Number of keywords/phrases tracked here has a big impact on fees. More costs more.):
Setup – $500-$5,000
Most Charge – $1,000-$2,000
Ongoing Reports and Advisement – $500-$7,500 a month
Most Charge – $1,000-$2,000
Social Media Strategy Audit (Examine existing Social Media Strategy and give detailed recommendations on what strategy should look like moving forward, with instructions on how to measure results) – $2,000-$25,000
Most Charge – $5,000-$10,000
Social Media Strategy Creation and Integration with Existing Marketing Efforts (Note – Most consultants and agencies will require that this service be married to a Social Media Strategy Audit, as they will then create the strategy recommended in the audit) – $10,000-$30,000
Most Charge – $10,000-$15,000
Social Media Training and Consulting
Hourly Training/Consulting – $50-$500 an hour
Most Charge – $100-$250 an hour
Note: These rates are for 1 hour of work. If you can commit to a certain number of hours a month, for example, consultants and agencies will almost always give you a discount.
Social Media Workshops(All fees exclude travel and are for ON-SITE Workshops, not online):
Half-Day (Up to 4 hours): $500-$7,500
Most Charge – $2,000-$3,500
Full-Day (6-8 hours): $1,000-$15,000
Most Charge – $4,000-$6,000
Note: Keep in mind that these rates represent a significant amount of training and content creation time. So if you pay a consultant $5,000 for a day-long workshop, that consultant might have spent 20 or 30 hours creating that workshop. So the prep time has to be considered in addition to the actual time delivering the workshop when looking at fees.
Rates to Hire a Social Media Speaker
Individual session (Up to 90 minutes, usually 1 hour): $1,000-$5,000
Most Charge: $2,000-$3,000
Most Charge: $5,000-$10,000
All rates exclude travel.
Finally, I wanted to close with some advice on choosing a Social Media Consultant. First, before you begin the process of hiring a Social Media Consultant, you need to address a few areas:
- Figure out what you want to accomplish via Social Media. Do you want to generate sales? Increase brand awareness? Establish thought leadership for your CEO or company? Connect with donors? Giving some thought to what you want to accomplish via your social media efforts will make the rest of the process smoother.
- What are your human resources? How many people can work on your social media efforts? If you have a team of 10 at the ready, then the amount of assistance you will need is far less than if you are the only person for your company that will be handling your social media efforts. Know how many people can work on your social media efforts and how much time they can devote, because if you plan on executing a Social Media Strategy that will require a team of 5, and you only have 2, that shortcoming will have to be addressed either through hiring, or outsourcing to the agency/consultant. Either way, it costs you money.
- How long is your project going to be? You probably can’t pin this down exactly without talking to the consultant first, but it helps to give some thought to this.
When you contact a consultant or agency, they should be asking you questions as well. They should want to know why you want to use social media, what are you trying to accomplish. If they try to give you prices or push you toward using a particular tool without asking you questions, that is a red flag. They really can’t give you prices until they know more about your company, your resources, and what you are wanting to accomplish. Even if you contact them and tell them you need prices on creating and launching a blog, they should still ask you some questions to determine if you do need a blog to reach your intended business goals for your social media strategy.
As always, I hope this helps you in creating your Social Media budgets for 2012. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.
Joel Oleson says
Great info. Looks like in some areas I charge more and in others I have some updating. Very cool to see it in black and white. Nice post. I think it’s worth putting info on infographic design. That’s an area I’m looking to hire some talent. Visuals seem to be a growing area.
Web Promotion says
Nice post…It is a great platform to improve website. social media platform you would need to have a social media strategy as it partly determines which platforms you would need. Thanks for this blog post.
These prices seem steep to me a small business owner. I am an interior designer and a realtor. I want to focus my social media advertising on interior design. What would you recommend i do to generate repeat and referral business. Everyone says you have to have a twitter account and Instigram. I don’t really know what I’m suppose to do Please help!!
you may want to work on your mailing list, and put your energy in newsletter campaigns. But also have social accounts for promos. leading them to sign up to your newsletter.
Mya Dubeau says
Hi April, if you want to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I can help you out with some tips and tricks. I’m a fellow small business owner
Ricky Pinedo says
Sometimes this exorbitant cost actually end up bringing poor results. I had consulted with business owners saying their social media was poorly managed and had absolutely no impact for what they paid for.
Lori Davis says
Thank you for the post! I am working on a proposal to do Social Media training for a group of 25-30 people. This information will be very helpful in aligning my fees with the industry standards.
Thank you for the detailed breakdown! Have the prices changed much in six years? And in your opinion, what percentage of ROI justifies these rates?
Mack Collier says
Hi Natalie! I would say the fees for monthly social media management and tool maintenance are about the same. The fees for speaking and strategy creation have for the most part gone down a bit on average.
As for finding ROI, it really depends on each company’s particular digital strategy. In general, it goes back to how much revenue digital generates via new leads or how much money digital is saving via customer service, promotion, etc. If your digital only generates 1 customer a year, that might be an issue. Unless you are a B2B and that one customer represents $500,000 in revenue. There’s really no standard answer to the ROI question, each company has to measure its inputs vs outputs when it comes to digital then decide its worth.