Investing in social media management increases your brand’s awareness, generates leads, drives traffic to your site and boosts community engagement. While that sounds great to executives and stakeholders, they may not understand how the costs associated with social media translate to business objectives.
If you need help getting buy-in for your social strategy and building your budget, this social media management costs guide will help you get started.
We’ll walk you through what is normally included in the cost of social media management, how the cost of agencies compares to freelancers and the average amount a business should spend. Let’s dive in.
Social media management costs overall
First, we need to be clear. There is no one-size-fits-all social media management cost. Brands will spend differently depending on their unique goals.
Based on average costs, we determined a comprehensive social media management program is roughly $12,300 per month. That number includes all costs related to content creation, advertising campaigns and social media management software.
- Content creation: $7,950 per month
- Social advertising: $5,000 per month
- Platform management: $5,000 per month
- Total: $17,950 per month
However, as a rule of thumb, a more basic program costs anywhere between $500–$5,000 per month.
Here’s a breakdown of how we calculated this figure.
Cost of launching on a new social channel and creating content
Although launching on a social channel is technically free, running the profile and creating a content calendar costs a brand anywhere from $500 to $10,000 per month.
The estimated social media management costs depend on factors like talent sourcing (in-house talent vs. outsource) and third-party tools. For example, at Sprout, our content and social management is driven by our internal team members but we contract content creation too.
Here are the average rates for both:
- Social Media Specialist salary: $3,800 per month
- Social Media Manager freelance rate: $20–150 per hour, based on experience
- Creator compensation: $150–$500 per post or video
Cost of social media ad campaigns
To run a successful platform-specific advertising campaign, you should plan to invest at least $5,000 per month, according to Sprout’s Manager of Digital Marketing, Maggie Anderson. She points out that often the cost can be much higher, so you should consider this number a starting point.
Anderson explains, “Before finalizing your social ad campaign budget, pinpoint your goal, campaign duration and audience. These factors will help you choose target strategies and platforms that will work best for your campaign—which ultimately determines your budget.”
As you incorporate more platforms and run longer campaigns, expect the overall expense to increase.
Your campaign metrics will reveal ways you may need to optimize your strategy to reach your desired goals, so leave room in your ad budget for flexibility.
Platform management costs
Whether you manage multiple platforms through a social media management tool, an agency partner or both, you will pay around $500–$5,000 per month.
The price is influenced by the number of profiles you manage, the volume of inbound messages and mentions you receive, the size of your community and the features you use.
Continue reading to learn more about the costs of working with a social media management agency and using a social media management tool.
Social media management agency pricing
Some brands use agencies to complement their in-house social teams, while others use them to outsource all their social media management tactics. If you decide to work with an agency, here are the parameters for social media management costs you should plan for.
We asked 228 agencies how much they’re charging for their social media services. About 33% of the respondents said they charge an average of $1,501–$3,000 per month, while 27% of agencies are charging $501–$1,500 and 12% more than $5,000.
While the services offered depend on the agency type, they often entail:
- Platform management
- Social strategy
- Content development
- Social analytics
- Running paid social campaigns
- Engagement and community management
Keep in mind the scope of your social media management needs will impact cost. Prices vary depending on your goals, service term and the number of tasks the agency performs.
Social media management freelancer pricing
If you opt to work with freelancers, you will need to budget that into your social media management pricing. Freelancer costs shift based on their experience level and the extent of your project. On average, freelancers charge between $500–$10,000 per month. Many freelancers also offer hourly rates.
Once you determine your goals and budget, search for freelancers with the skills you need who fit your price range. Here’s a list of marketplaces you can use to kickstart your search:
- Upwork: A freelancing platform and independent talent workforce that helps you scale faster and transform your business. Upwork is a great option for larger projects that require subject matter expertise.
- Fiverr: A global online marketplace for freelancer services. Known as a cost-efficient choice, Fiverr helps brands bridge gaps in their overall social media management and achieve platform-specific goals.
- The Mom Project: A freelancing platform specifically designed to employ mothers and help over 650,000 talented women stay engaged in the workforce. The Mom Project’s Maternityship® program provides companies with coverage for resource gaps created by parental leave.
If your team opts to work with freelancers, we recommend starting with smaller tasks. Make sure their work aligns with your goals and expectations before partnering on large-scale, critical projects.
Social media management software pricing
Today’s social media managers know publishing, scheduling and reporting from the native platforms would be inefficient (and, in some cases, impossible). Social media management software simplifies the hard work of social media so you can focus on connecting with your audience and building insights-driven strategies that elevate your brand.
For a robust social media management platform, you can expect to pay up to $1,000+ per month to cover end-to-end needs. For less robust platforms built to support specific tasks, you can expect to pay the same amount or less.
Here’s an overview of our pricing models.
- $249 per month
- Manage up to five social profiles
- Access to the all-in-one Smart Inbox and social content calendar
- Manage reviews
- Scale engagement with tasking and social CRM tools
- Analyze group, profile and post-level reporting
- $399 per month
- All the benefits offered by the Standard Package
- Manage unlimited social profiles
- Use incoming and outgoing message content tagging
- Schedule posts with Optimal Send Times powered by the ViralPost® algorithm
- Find more reports, including paid social reporting and response rate and time analysis
- Employ custom workflows for multiple approvers and steps
- Take advantage of Helpdesk, CRM and Social Commerce integrations
- $499 per month
- All the benefits offered by the Professional Package
- Receive message spike alerts for increased activity
- Set up chatbots with automation tools
- Use the Inbox rule builder for automated actions
- Employ Automated Link Tracking
- Stay organized with a digital asset and content library
By using a management platform like Sprout, your social and customer care teams save time and increase productivity. Sprout’s integrations will make your team more informed and efficient, so you can spend most of your time growing and maintaining customer relationships and fine-tuning your strategy.
Cost of other software that can help with social media management
In addition to a social media management platform, you might need other tools to supplement your social media strategy. Here are two examples of platforms that can help you track your customers’ journey and generate new content ideas.
HubSpot’s integrated CRM platform helps you monitor social engagement in the context of your customer relationships.
The platform gives you a detailed understanding of your customers’ social interactions and how many marketing-qualified leads you’re generating from specific platforms—which makes it easy for you to prove the return on investment (ROI) of your social campaigns.
Cost: $800/month (Professional)
2. Post Planner
Post Planner curates articles, images and custom content feeds so you always have something fresh for your followers. The platform identifies your most popular posts and has automated features to repurpose and recreate top-performing content.
Cost: $47/month (Business)
Invest in long-term social media success
Designing your social media management budget requires thinking critically about the resources you need to reach your goals. While the upfront social media management costs might seem expensive, finding the right mix of tools will set you up for future success.
After all, growing your social media presence is a marathon, not a sprint. The investments you make in your management strategy today will accrue and deliver long-term gains.
Tap into the robust power of social by starting your free 30-day Sprout Social trial today.