How much does Social Media cost companies in 2011?

by Mack Collier

Click here to get the 2012 Price Update to this post.

Last February I wrote a post about the prices companies could expect to pay for basic social media services.  It ended up being the most viewed post here in 2010, by more than a 3 to 1 margin.  And interestingly, it gets a TON of search traffic, terms like ‘social media cost’, ‘cost of a blog’, ‘social media fees’, etc.  That tells me that there’s still a lot of confusion and a lack of clarity about what prices companies should expect to pay for basic social media services.

So I wanted to update that post for 2011, with a bit more information, and greater clarity around the numbers. These figures come from rates shared with me by fellow consultants and agencies that specialize in social media marketing, in addition to my own research, as well as what I charge for similar services.   Last year I only included ranges for each service, this year I’ve added a Most Charge distinction to give everyone a greater idea of what they will probably pay.  I’ve also added a few more services, such as training workshops, speaking, hourly consulting rates, and even ghostwriting fees (yes companies pay for this).

As I mentioned last year, when you are trying to set your social media budget for a project, there are several questions you need to ask yourself, such as:

  • What are your goals for using social media?  Brand awareness? Generate sales or leads?  This greatly determines the tools necessary to achieve those goals
  • What are your resources?  Can you handle everything in-house, or will you need to outsource some of the work?  All of the work?
  • What is the length of the project?  Obviously, a 6-month project will cost more than a 3-month project.

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 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.

Here’s the prices:


Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource all content creation (including customer interaction, handling responses to comments, etc) – $1,000-$12,000 a month

Most Charge – $3,000 – $5,000 a month

Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource some content creation – $1,000-$8,000 a month

Most Charge – $2,000-$3,500 a month

Restructure an existing blog to improve your efforts – $1,000-$5,000 a month for 3-6 months

Most Charge – $2,000-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Ghostwriting blog posts – $50-$500 per

Most Charge – $100-$250 per


Launch a new presence on Twitter and outsource all content creation and customer interaction – $1,000-$7,500 a month

Most Charge – $2,000-$4,000 a month

Launch a new presence on Twitter and then provide ongoing training for company – $1,000-$6,000 a month

Most Charge – $1,000-$3,000 a month

Restructure an existing Twitter presence to improve your efforts – $1,000-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Most Charge – $1,000-$2,500 a month

Limited coaching to improve your existing efforts on Twitter – $1,000-$4,000 a month

Most Charge – $1,000-$2,500 a month


Launch a Facebook Page from the ground-up, outsourcing all content creation and customer interactions – $2,000-$9,000 a month

Most Charge – $2,500-$5,000 a month

Launch a Facebook Page from the ground-up, with limited ongoing training – $1,500-$7,500 a month for 3-6 months

Most Charge – $2,000-$4,000 a month

Social Media Strategy:

Comprehensive Social Media Strategy Creation, assuming outsourcing of all content creation through all channels(minimum 2) – $3,000-$20,000 a month

Most Charge – $4,000-$7,000 a month

Comprehensive Social Media Strategy Creation, assuming limited outsourcing of content creation and/or ongoing training –$3,000-$15,000 a month for 4-12 months

Most Charge – $3,000-$6,000 a month

Audit of existing Social Media Strategy Including Recommendations for Improvement – $2,000-$10,000

Most Charge – $2,000-$5,000

Social Media Consulting:

Hourly rates – $50-$500/Hr

Most Charge – $75-$200/Hr

Note: These prices are based on buying just one hour of a consultant’s time.  Many consultants also offer their consulting time in blocks of time.  These hours are usually offered at a discounted rate.  For example, a consultant might charge $100 for one hour of her time, but if you buy 5 hours of her time, she’ll give you a 25% discount to $375 for 5 hours.  Progressive discounts are sometimes offered as the volume of hours bought increases, with final discounts being as high as 33-50% off hourly rates.

On-Site Training/Workshops (All fees excluding travel expenses)

1-2 Hours – $500-$5,000

Most Charge – $500-$2,000

Half-Day (4 hours) – $1,000 – $10,000

Most Charge – $1,000 – $4,000

Full-Day (6-8 hours) – $2,000 – $50,000

Most Charge – $2,500-$5,000

Note: Keep in mind that consultants (at least the ones worth hiring) will invest several hours of prep time in assembling and customizing their training materials for you.  So while you might buy a full-day workshop, the total time investment for the consultant (including the workshop) could easily be 20-40 hours.  Plus they will likely lose at least a full day in travel to and from your company.

As with volume discounts on hourly consulting rates, many consultants will charge more at an hourly rate for workshops shorter than a full day.  For example, one consultant might charge $2,000 for a 2-hour workshop, and $5,000 for an 8-hour workshop.

A final word about prices: Don’t be afraid to negotiate.  If the quoted price is past your budget, ask for a break, especially if the project will be longer than 3 months.  A consultant might not be willing to give you a 15% discount on a 2-month project, but they might for a 6-month project.

So hopefully this post will be of some value to you as your company finalizes its 2011 budgets.  And if you need help fleshing out your own social media strategy, or if you need social media training, please email me for a custom quote.

Shree January 24, 2011 at 4:55 am

The price quotes will be really helpful for me.Much sought after information.

Kimberly February 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Thanks, for the information Mark. I’m in the process of rolling out some training and speaking engagements and this is very timely information.

Richard Keeves February 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hey Mack, good post and you cover a range of valuable services.

One thing though, there’s a whole area you did not address in Social media monitoring.

Of course there are a bunch of tools that people can use to do this monitoring themselves, but it’s also becoming a bigger service industry niche for consultants and digital agencies.

Another thing… I guess it is worth pointing out that providers of all these services you’ve listed above can easily be found off-shore, and generally for a fraction of the above costs. The quality of the work varies enormously so people need to take care. There are some major traps to avoid.

Well done on the list.
Richard Keeves

Ricky Pinedo April 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

Now this is an excellent read with a great cost breakdown of what to charge and offer!

Social Don February 11, 2011 at 7:15 am

Thanks for posting! A lot of ranges in there. Like partnering with any company, check the references!

@RichardKeeves We are based in the US and offer what I call HaaS (Humans as a Service). We use a work-from-home work force (now in the hundreds) to monitor (push and pull relevant, engaging info.) our client’s social media platforms. We are able to keep cost at $1,000 per month, per brand.

Feel free to give me a shout if you need additional information.

Keep it Social,


Jerome Pineau February 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

Hey Social Don – sorry for the delayed reply but do you have clients/work/brands (a portfolio I mean) you can point me to for the stated price of a grand per month? Would love to see what one gets for that.
How about your website?

Kevin Ekmark February 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Allow me to just say, “Wow!”

Thanks for the info Mack. This is a big help!

Kari DePhillips February 28, 2011 at 6:32 am

It always amazes me what some companies can get away with charging. Unless those estimates also work in web design and back-end SEO integration, they’re criminally high.

As a contrast, for $1,600/month per brand, we blog, get our social media on (including monitoring), do some backlinking and work on traditional PR opportunities via HARO/ProfNet/etc. Instead of breaking the individual services out on their own and charging for them separately, we take an “all or nothing” approach to online PR and social media management.

For instance, it’s way easier to drive traffic to a website when there’s always fresh content to promote via FB/Twitter — that’s where blogs come in. The two go hand in hand, and one becomes significantly less effective without the other.

Mack Collier February 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

Kari is there any chance that your company could be charging more than you are for your services?

If someone is charging more than you are, then it’s usually because they can get it. And I know it’s sometimes easy to convince ourselves that they can get it because they have ‘fooled’ someone, but it could be because they deliver on what they promise.

Maybe it’s not so much that someone else is overcharging, but maybe your company isn’t charging enough?

Kimberly March 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Just because you can get the higher prices doesn’t mean you should. That’s not very good ethical business if you’re just charging people a higher price just because you can.

Also, price does not always have to reflect quality.

If Kari’s company is covering their fixed and variable costs and still making a decent profit then I think she’s in the right in what she’s saying. Not everyone needs to make an unnecessary outrageous profit off of people.

Mack Collier March 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Actually Kimberly, charging what you are worth is not only ethical, it’s smart.

Let me give you a for-instance. Let’s say I hire Kari at $1,600.00 a month to manage my social media services. Let’s say after 6 months I tell Kari that her efforts have generated $50,000.00 a month in profits, and that I checked and her closest competitor wanted $5,000.00 a month for the same services.

Are you telling me that under the above scenario that Kari would be UNETHICAL to ask for $3,200.00 a month when our next contract started?

If you are worth $10,000 a month and you are charging $1,000, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

Kari DePhillips March 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

We’ve found that $1,600/month is a pretty good sweet spot — we’re able to attract lots of clients that can’t afford (or don’t want to pay) what other agencies charge. Let’s not forget, my company is relatively small and agile and has next to no overhead. Personally, I can’t justify charging much more than $2k/month, especially at the beginning when we’re building a following and the going is slow. That said, once we have them in the door, they’re usually with us for a long time.

To be clear, I wasn’t complaining — I just don’t understand those price points without website work (which we don’t do, so that may be where the discrepancy lies). Overall, we’re turning a really decent profit in a really tough economy, and so far I’ve been pretty happy with the way things have been going. For us, finding clients is easy, finding the right employees is an entirely different story. Sometimes, it seems like we’d have just as much luck hunting pink unicorns.

Jerome Pineau March 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm

@Kari – I still don’t see what you provide for $1600/mo – can you be specific besides “a blog and some backlinks & PR”?

Mark Burhop March 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

There is a great Star Trek DS9 episode on this exact debate. Anyone got a link?

How about this… What is the value of water? To us, its pretty low with it flowing out of the tap. If you are in the dessert, it could be worth billions of dollars a glass. Morally, I hope no one charges this.

Of course, the difference here is competition and control of supply. The supply of “social media experts” is pretty good (some say too good :-) ) so you are really only going to be able to charge what you are worth. I don’t see any moral dilemma here.

Mack Collier March 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Mark that’s a good point, anyone can call themselves a social media expert.

Whenever I see that someone is charging more than I am for the same/comparable service, my reaction isn’t to get upset about it, I want to try to figure out if they know something I don’t. And let’s be honest, if you undercharge for your social media services, you are probably far more likely to LOSE business.

For example, if Chris Brogan charges $15,000 a month to manage a community site for a company, and they get quoted a price of $500 from Jessica, who gets the business? My guess is neither of them do, they may decide that Chris is too high, and that Jessica is too low. Then they would probably do more research, and settle on a firm that charges say $3,000 a month.

Undercharging can be just as dangerous, if not moreso, than overcharging.

Mandy Vavrinak March 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm

The idea that I can only charge what all the other providers out there deem is morally OK (regardless of any difference in geography, experience, proven results, type of client or challenge, etc.) is ludicrous. I am the sole support for my family of 6. I chose to have a large family and I choose to have a career that can support them. Further, I choose to work with clients who pay what I charge. No one is going to get paid more than they are worth to a business or client more than once, maybe twice…. unless you believe all businesses are too stupid to do a simple cost v value analysis and will keep paying unreasonable prices for less than stellar return on that investment. Do some people charge less than me for what I do… sure. And some charge more. Neither is my concern. My concern is to charge what is appropriate for my business, for my services, for my results, and then deliver outstanding results. Every time… so my clients will always feel like they are getting the results they want and I’m a high-value investment. Not low cost… high value. And I will not apologize to anyone for making an honest living. (steps off soap box)

Mack Collier March 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Mandy you’re exactly right, your services ARE an investment that clients make in their business. If I do some research and see that most people are charging $2,000-4,000 a month for a service, then if I find a consultant that only charges $350 a month, that could give me pause that they might be ‘too cheap’.

Jerome Pineau March 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

If you are perceived as “cheap” in an industry, this is what happens:

And Mack no offence but your $350/month consultant will eat your lunch every time – of course, he can’t feed his family either, but that’s not the client’s problem then is it? :)

JD Lasica March 4, 2011 at 3:11 am

Jerome, I disagree. Because strategists like Mack and myself go up against the 22-year-old social media gurus every day, and businesses ultimately know that cheaper is not always the most cost-effective. While some smaller businesses intelligently turn to newcomers to manage their social media presence, mid-size and larger companies know that social media is more than setting up a blog, Twitter account or Facebook presence. It needs to be tied to business goals. And the gurus don’t know how to do that. :~)

Bernard Martin March 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

Great set of articles Jerome!

Mack Collier March 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Jerome the $350 a month consultant will still have to explain what you are getting for that $350 a month.

If their answer is little more than X number of Twitter followers a month, then I like my chances 😉 And anyone that can build and maintain a solid social media strategy for a company won’t be charging $350 a month.

Jerome Pineau March 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

You’re not kidding! But I still haven’t gotten an anwer on the $1,600 a month one either – unless I missed it in there somewhere…

Jerome Pineau March 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

@JD – I can only hope you’re right!

Geoff Miller March 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Great Info. We do all the above plus video and monitoring for a combined price much less than if you added up the averages!!

Carolyn March 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Interesting article. I am industry specific in my social media marketing-real estate. Can anyone tell me if they have found fees to be industry specific?

William March 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

I have a quick question. Do a lot of these pricing points for social media marketing and management include the cost of Facebook Ads and, let’s say, a service like Looxii?

Or would they say “okay, here is my proposal, and there is a $2,000 Facebook Ad budget that we will add onto your overall costs” or would they say “it’s $10,000” and then use some of that money for Facebook Ads?

I hope that question makes sense.

Jerome Pineau March 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

@William – Typically, you wouldn’t include the cost of a campaign in a fee – at least in my experience, unless the client insisted for accounting or reporting reasons.

Feargal Byrne May 5, 2011 at 6:43 am

Great post Mack. However, I did not see anything on conversion optimization. I understand that this does not fit strictly under the umbrella of Social Marketing but it does relate to the conversion rate of social media special offers. From my experience $2,000 – $3,500 per month would be typical. However, once the research campaign is over, a much lower management fee would be charged depending on the work involved.

MichelleManire May 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

excellent post! makes me feel much better about what i charge. so i’m not crazy. 😉 thanks for this!

Jana Quinn May 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm

This is an excellent outline of prices. I’d love to see a greater breakdown to specific industries. For example, what would the difference in charge be writing movie review posts versus soft drink distributors? Broad audience versus specific audiences?

Thanks for providing all the info!

Apratim May 20, 2011 at 2:53 am

Mark, This is an excellent one. Thanks. However, there are some issues I have in my mind. Either you or anyone who is a part to this thread can clarify,it will be certainly more value adding. Is the pricing reflects a Global Trend? (Do correct me in case I missed any point). Is the pricing applicable for retail as well as corporate markets/customers? Do clients really look for outsourcing a part of content and social media optimization job to vendors overseas?

Thanks again for the excellent write up. In case you can spend a min to reply back it will be extremely beneficial.



LisaRaymond May 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

How much experience should a social media manager have and how does a business owner determine the level of experience of the person they’re talking with – by fan base, followers vs. lists, etc. Also, these prices look as though they are geared toward a medium-large based business. Would you give smaller pricing to small-business companies or solepreneurs?

Thank you,
Lisa Raymond
Deseyner’s Eye Creations

Moviebarn June 14, 2011 at 3:09 am

Ok lots of good stuff on blogs, twitter and facebook, but not a mention of Youtube yet you display a Youtube logo right in the middle of the header.

Is Youtube the forgotten man of social media or is it that no one knows how to use it correctly?

ZacHolzapfel June 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

@LisaRaymond Yes. I actaully do that for small businesses in our area in Jacksonville Florida. Depending on the level of involvement of the company owner or any employees, I charge prices starting at $100 a month or starting at $1000 per year up front. I am not sure if there are many others out there that do it like I do because its a lot of diverse work with a lot of companies, for my company to be profitable. I like the work though and its great to know that I’m a help to smaller businesses.

The key is a combonation of posts from you (the passionate one) and our post/replies for general communication.

This is supplemented by efforts to engage existing fans/friends and get them to recommend you to their friends, and the “trusted friend” effect you have because of your expertice in the field.

MackCollier July 31, 2011 at 11:05 am

@LisaRaymond Lisa when I am dealing with small businesses, the arrangement is typically that I provide them with social media training and mentoring, usually X number of hours a month. Most small businesses can’t afford to outsource content creation and their strategy, so they need to do it themselves. I offer them training as a way of ‘looking over their shoulder’ and make sure they are doing as effective a job with social media as possible.

And yes, I have given better rates to smaller businesses and solopreneurs when I can.

MackCollier July 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

@Feargal Byrne As you can tell from the list, the services are pretty basic. I only listed the services that I could find several cited prices for, either online or by talking to consultants/agencies directly. For example, if I can only find 2 sources for a monthly rate for a service, and they are $1,000 and $100,000, obviously I don’t feel comfortable publishing that until I have more sources and a better idea of which end of the pricing spectrum that service would fall under.

Vickie Christensen August 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

kari: The right employees is the key! You nailed it. To help small businesses ENJOY their work and hire GREAT employees check out this retreat (complete with wine and chair massage in the Gold Country of N. Calif. foothills).

Best of luck to you and hope to see you there in September or October. Tell your friends.

Vickie Christensen

Vickie Christensen August 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

kari: The right employees is the key! You nailed it. To help small businesses ENJOY their work and hire GREAT employees check out this retreat (complete with wine and chair massage in the Gold Country of N. Calif. foothills).

Best of luck to you and hope to see you there in September or October. Tell your friends.

Vickie Christensen

Vickie Christensen August 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

kari: The right employees is the key! You nailed it. To help small businesses ENJOY their work and hire GREAT employees check out this retreat (complete with wine and chair massage in the Gold Country of N. Calif. foothills).

Best of luck to you and hope to see you there in September or October. Tell your friends.

Vickie Christensen

PegFitzpatrick September 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I should be making more money….thanks for the fabulous advice Mack! Love learning from you.

MackCollier September 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

@PegFitzpatrick Thank you Peggy!

JPeck September 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I built a facebook page for my boss and have maintained it for over a year now. I also put together his profile page for him and tutored/trained him on how to use facebook. My work on the page is very basic but it has become a job for me as I am at his beckon call for anything he wants done on the page and troubleshooting. I am curious as to what would be a fair amount for me to ask from him in return for my time invested. Check out our page and tell me what you think:

JPeck September 24, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I built a facebook page for my boss and have maintained it for over a year now. I also put together his profile page for him and tutored/trained him on how to use facebook. My work on the page is very basic but it has become a job for me as I am at his beckon call for anything he wants done on the page and troubleshooting. I am curious as to what would be a fair rate for me to ask from him to continue maintaining this page? Check out our page and tell me what you think:

Erink February 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Jpeck, Did you get any replies to your question?
I am curious what to charge a small business who sends me about 15/20 items to “post” for them per month, (meaning posting to their blog and then creating links/ image to post and link to from Facebook.)



Matthew S. October 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thank you for the article, I really needed this info. One thing I was curious about is how those costs break down? Is it man hours, cost of creating logos, etc?

Cynthia October 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Great reference. What about non-profits, would the rates be the same? Any suggestions for start-up business rates?

Karen December 9, 2011 at 3:21 am

Hi Mack
This was a wonderfully helpful article. Thank you. I have now confirmed that I have been undercharging! Do you have a ballpark amount of hours per week that you were thinking of when outlining the above charges for maintaining a Twitter account, for instance?

Bernard Martin December 12, 2011 at 8:28 am


You should see a trackback to your article hear from my recent article “Social Media Outsourcing: Selecting a consultant” Just dropping you a quick note to let you know and looking forward to your 2012 update on this topic. Happy Holidays!

Susie Erjavec Parker (@susie_parker) January 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Hi Mack,

As usual you nail it. I know in our conversations, we’ve talked about these things and how many brands want to believe that they can set-up some intern or their 17-old nephew as the company’s social media consultant.

As usual, with any business function, brands need to invest in this carefully and with proved, trusted resources or risk being burned.

Great post as usual, Mack! 😀

Blane January 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Great article. Very inciteful. I really appreciate you updating this to 2011 numbers.

Victoria January 11, 2012 at 7:50 am

Could I possibly ask about the stage prior to embarking on a campaign. If you wanted to instruct someone/company for an initial ‘listening’ report what would you expect to pay or apportion for days?
Thank you

zecryder February 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thank you for the article, I really needed this info.

zecryder February 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Great advice. You’ve done a real public service laying out this information for your readers.

Rafael Castillo February 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

This is great information. Do you have the data for the information? I would be great to see an infograph for the prices per industry or just comparison on the prices against the type of social media used.

Rodeena Stephens February 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Hi Mack!

Thank you for sharing such great information! I just picked up a new client who happens to be a small business owner. She’s outsourcing strategy and some content creation. The prices you shared are a great resource, but I’m concerned that it might be too costly. Do you have a price schedule for small biz that choose to outsource the entire package?

Thanks for being such a great resource!

Jala Smith-Huys February 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Hi Mark. Do you happen to have an update to this for 2012?

Daniel Norwood March 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I work for a ad agency here in the Smoky Mountains, and we are so under priced compared to your pricing. Not saying that you or us are not worth what your charging,but the clients around here would laugh in our face if we tried to charge them that it’s hard enough to try to get them to do social media at all matter of fact at these rates.

Mack Collier March 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Daniel the funny thing is, I was talking to someone from Dell last week, and they couldn’t believe how LOW these prices were.

I’ve been doing this pricing list for 3 years now and there have been two constants:

1 – Small businesses and companies (and those that service them) think these prices are too high.

2 – Larger companies (and those that service them) think these prices are too low.

As with much in life, your mileage will vary. If I deal with clients in the Deep South, I know I have to charge closer to the bottom of the ranges. If I work with clients in the NE or West Coast, rates are in the middle or upper end of the range.

kim November 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm

So you’re saying it’s difficult to talk companies into social media no matter what the price and that these prices are no where possible?

Orlando August 1, 2012 at 12:04 am

I have noticed that with prices for blogs, social media and such can get expensive but is well worth for certain niches.

Philipp September 27, 2012 at 3:10 am

Hey Mack,
thanks for the article.
Your astimation seems to be accurate and well profound.
Good luck for the future!
Greets Philipp

social media companies April 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm

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Joseph Sorbara May 16, 2013 at 6:13 am


I understand this is an old posting but I am looking for SMM for a restaurant business (No online presence, grand opening) and I am curious to know of prices and packages for today’s market. If anyone comes across this posting feel free to send me a line, thank you!

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