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:

Blog:

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

Twitter:

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

Facebook:

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.

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: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pudge-Astis-Sports-Grill

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: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pudge-Astis-Sports-Grill/119204534779776

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.)

Thanks,

Erin

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

Mack,

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! http://www.rpmconsultants.us/profiles/blogs/social-media-outsourcing-vs-in-house

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

Hello,
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

Mark,
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

I was very happy to uncover this site. I need to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read about internet marketing for small business!! I definitely loved every bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new information on your site.

Joseph Sorbara May 16, 2013 at 6:13 am

Hello,

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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