So how much will a social media strategy cost?

by Mack Collier

One of the most frequent questions I get about social media is the cost. What will launching a blog/Facebook fan page/Twitter presence cost me? What will a social media strategy cost? The answer is never clear-cut and depends on several factors, including:

  • What are your goals for using social media?  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.

From my point of view as a consultant, I am looking at how much work is involved, and what type of work, when I give a quote.  One word of caution; If you contact a consultant or firm about doing social media work, they SHOULD ask you several questions before they can give you a price.  If a company contacts me and asks “Ok, what’s it going to cost us to launch a blog?”, then I can’t answer that question without more information.  And here’s a tip; If you ask a consultant/agency how much it will cost to launch a blog/Facebook fan page/Twitter presence for you and they immediately quote you a price, that is a big red flag.  They can’t answer that question until they know what your resources and goals are for using social media.

Now, I know what you are thinking.  “Yeah that’s great Mack, but give me some prices!”  While it’s almost impossible to give any company an accurate quote without talking to them about the above and so much more, I’ll share some ranges with you to give you an idea of what to expect.  And I will caution you that these are my prices, some agencies/consultants will be more, some will be less, and you should consider this a guide only.

Blog:

Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource all content creation (including customer interaction) – $3,000-$6,000 a month

Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource all content creation at first, eventually take over – $3,000-$6,000 a month for 3-6 months

Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource some content creation till you can handle all – $2,500-$5,000 a month for 3-6 months

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

Limited coaching to improve your existing blogging efforts – $1,500-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Twitter:

Launch a new presence on Twitter and outsource all content creation and customer interaction – $2,000-$5,000 a month

Launch a new presence on Twitter and outsource all content creation at first, gradually taking over – $2,000-$5,000 a month for 3-6 months

Restructure an existing Twitter presence to improve your efforts – $1,500-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Limited coaching to improve your existing efforts on Twitter – $1,500-$3,000 a month for 3-6 months

Facebook:

Launch a Facebook Fan Page from the ground-up, outsourcing all content creation and customer interactions – $3,000-$6,000 a month

Launch a Facebook Fan Page from the ground-up, outsourcing most of the content creation at first, gradually taking on more – $3,000-$6,000 a month for 3-6 months

Launch a Facebook Fan Page from the ground-up, outsourcing some content creation at first, till you can handle all – $2,500-$5,000 a month for 3-6 months.

Restructure an existing Facebook Fan Page to improve your existing efforts – $2,000-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Limited coaching on improving your Facebook Fan Page – $1,500-$3,000 a month for 3-6 months

Social Media Strategy:

Comprehensive Social Media Strategy, assuming outsourcing of all content creation through all channels (not recommended) – $5,000-$12,000 a month

Comprehensive Social Media Strategy, assuming outsourcing of most content creation at first, with company assuming more responsibility as project proceeds – $4,000-$9,000 a month for 4-12 months

Creation of a Social Media Strategy, with limited coaching and assistance with execution of the strategy – $3,000-$6,000 a month for 3-9 months

Restructuring of existing Social Media Strategy, with limited coaching and assistance with strategy – $2,500-$6,000 a month for 3-9 months

Limited coaching on improving the execution of an existing Social Media Strategy – $2,000-$5,000 a month for 3-6 months

Social Media Strategy Audit – $2,000-$5,000

Thanks to Anita for leaving a comment that reminded me to include this.  This is a service I offer to companies that gives them an audit of their existing social media strategy, as well as that of their competitors and the marketplace, to give them a suggested course of action for social media, moving forward.  This is for companies that aren’t sure how to proceed with social media, and want to know what sort of resources they will need to use social media effectively.  I have been getting several requests for this service over the last couple of months as companies begin setting their budgets for 2010.

Again, these figures should be considered a guide to get you started.  Obviously, the more work you need, the more the cost.  For example, if you have a team of 10 bloggers that I will be coaching, it’s probably going to cost more than if I am working with 2 people.

One final point: In general I don’t advise companies to outsource their social media efforts.  If you need to outsource some/most of your efforts at first till you get up to speed, that’s fine.  But if you hire someone to create and execute a social media strategy for you and outsource EVERYTHING to them, then you’re locked into needing to pay them big money for as long as you use social media.  And what happens if they are hired by a company?  There goes your social media strategy.

I understand that some companies need to outsource.  But in the long-run, your efforts will be more effective, and cheaper, the more you can handle yourself.  I was talking to a company recently about their launching a blog.  We were discussing if the company had the resources to keep and MAINTAIN a blog.  The CEO said he could that he had a great passion for his products, and the people that use them.  I pointed out that the PASSION was the one area that can’t be outsourced.  I can show you how to craft content that will be more valuable to customers and show you how to encourage interaction, but I won’t be able to match the passion or understanding that YOU have for your business.  That can’t be outsourced.

PS: If you’d like to get a custom quote on a social media project that you are considering, please email me!

NOTE: If you found this post via a Google search, this post first appeared in 2010.  The prices and services in this post have been updated for 2011 and you can find those prices here.

Rick Holden November 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Those figures is what I need. I will share your post to my friends who is setting up a site for her business. This post is a big help for her to budget her finances. Thanks for sharing!

Dania Toscano Miwa January 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Mack,
This is a great article. I will be referencing it often. I work mostly with Nonprofit Clients, so it will be interesting to see how the price structure varies, especially since many of my clients devote little or no resources and money towards social media…yet. I’m seeing that change a bit, and I’m hoping the trend continues.

HelioB April 7, 2012 at 10:05 am

This post is so very refreshing. I’m so tired of clients asking for me to create an entire social media strategy up front for free just to land the job, then pick someone else while keeping and likely implementing my strategy. I recently also had a client ask me to work the first week for free because they wanted to see results first. Also, I am consistently faced with people and companies that have no awareness, no product, nothing…yet they expect to be famous overnight or expect their newly launched wood cutting company from Podunk Arkansas to have 10,000 legitimate FB likes in one week.

Oh, and lets not forget they always want me to creat and implement and monitor and single-handedly maintain a Twitter, FB, YouTube, LinkedIn, blog, SEO, etc and devote all day to their non-stop communications…all for $500 a month. I think a huge problem are the types of social media “professionals” who quote and take these low ball amounts. They ruin it for the rest of us who actually know what we’re doing and should be paid properly. Everytime I give a LOW BALL quote, I see clients flip and call something like $1,500-$2,000 a month “waaaay out of our budget”. They instead want to pay someone $10/hr for only 5 hours a week, what they don’t understand is it takes so much longer and is worth so much more when done properly and with experienced, intelligent strategy. The problem is many people accept these low rates because they’re looking for easy money and will just post a few straight forward, bland posts and call it a week. They’ll sign up a dozen clueless clients at this rate and do little work or buy fake follows or do the age old follow/follow back routine to artificially inflate numbers and that’s it, they collect a handful of dirt cheap rates and are set.

They ruin it for those of us who have fully developed strategies and a willingness to devote the proper time and CREATIVITY to the job.

One thing I want to recommend is that one should always make what a rate covers clear. I once landed a client for a low ball $1,400/mo to run all social networks and do a once a week simple video editing job. We sign the deal and then they star asking for in depth graphic and flyer creation…three times in the first week. Plus they sent me 25+ emails a day and asked me to star helping them land advertisers and sponsors and PR. I informed them my rates werent covered under this, but then they threatened to find someone else (i.e. someone who quoted them “$500 for everything”). At that time I was in a family-related financial bind so I bent over and took it so I could maintain the job. Taught me to always make a clear cut list what my rate covers and for how long and how much.

Lisa April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi Mack,

I love this breakdown. I’m in business for myself and am thinking about starting a youtube channel. I’d be interested in someone doing it for me, but don’t know what the typical price variance would be for something like that. I’m not looking for a brand channel, but something customized with videos to be upload for me, so I don’t have to mess with it. Could you give me an “idea” or range that a good Social media person would cost?

Janelle McLeod August 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm

WOW! You’re so right on point with these facts…

I honestly built my own empire online. I’ve done so well over the years, that people CONSTANTLY inbox me, email me, or sends me a text message ALWAYS asking me “how do you do this?” or “how do you do that?” I get marketing questions over questions to the point where I decided to start my own business / brand as a Social Media Manager because people are really watching me in my area of expertise and appreciate they way I work my flow on line…

I’ve built a huge “online” boutique store in just ONE year and grew my twitter followers to 600, facebook fan page to 10,000 fans, and pinterest to a little under 1,000 followers and honestly I really enjoy what I am doing online. So I put my boutique store aside and start to help brand others online and build their presence etc… I do list price but I also let it be disclosed that prices are not guaranteed until a FREE consultation is conducted in order to know what all my (pontential) client needs are.

So far I have 5 clients and things are working out really great!!!

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