Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Today, many people find it impossible to get through a single day without checking at least one social media platform. Everyone's online, which is why businesses are, too. If you're a business owner, you might wonder, how much does a social media manager cost? How much would you have to budget to maintain your online presence?
If you are looking to hire a social media manager or wondering how much it costs to hire one, keep reading! In this article, we will break what to prepare when considering social media manager costs for your business.
How Much Does a Social Media Manager Cost? It Depends
First, let's define the role. A social media manager is responsible for creating and executing a social media strategy. This may include tasks such as content creation, community management, Ads management, and reporting.
Besides a social media manager, a marketing team might also have a social media assistant. This person is responsible for administrative tasks such as scheduling posts, responding to comments and messages, conducting research, and compiling reports.
That said, the terms "social media manager" and "social media assistant" are sometimes used interchangeably, or in place of each other. In some companies, especially ones with smaller marketing teams, members often take on overlapping tasks. The social media manager might also be the one handling admin tasks for marketing. In more established teams, there would usually be more than one person doing these tasks.
For our purposes, though, we'll be using "social media manager" to refer to someone who handles both the strategic and administrative aspects of social media marketing.
How Much Does a Social Media Manager Cost: What Should Your Budget Be?
How much a social media manager costs to hire will vary depending on their experience, skillset, and location. In general, you can expect to pay a freelancer anywhere from $700 to $5,000 per month, or anywhere from $5 to $32 per hour. A more junior marketing professional, or someone fresh out of school and starting their career would have rates on the lower end of this range. An entry-level social media manager may charge $700 to $2,000 per month.
Meanwhile, an experienced social media manager with a proven track record will have rates on the higher end of this range. A seasoned professional may charge $3,000 to $5,000 per month. Salaries of in-house social media managers are within a comparable range. The U.S. national average, as of writing, is at $4,480 per month, or $26 per hour.
It's important to remember that these are averages. Individual marketers' rates may be lower than the baseline or higher than the ceiling we provided, and outsourcing everything from campaign development to execution, analytics, and reporting can cost up to $7,000.
Moreover, some social media managers don't have hourly rates. Some social media professionals charge a flat rate, while others package their services and charge on a per-project basis. None of these is the "best" option—your needs will inform the kind of professional you should hire.
Flat Rate, Per Project, or Per Hour? Here's How to Choose
Many business owners worry that they aren't getting their money's worth in hiring a contractor. A perfectly reasonable concern—luckily, there are rules of thumb for when to hire per project, per hour, or with a flat rate.
When to Hire Per Hour
Consider hourly rates if any of the following apply to your situation:
- You're hiring for a single project with a well-defined scope. For example, you want to hire someone to host a live online event. This job has a clear timeline, so you have a good idea of how much to pay.
- You're paying for one-time execution. For example, if you have the concept for a page logo or an illustration, you can hire a social media manager to draw it for you. Note, though, that you'd need to specify milestones in your contract to keep the costs within budget.
- You don't know how often you will need the freelancer's services. Examples include competitor or audience research, especially for new products or services you want to launch.
When to Hire Per Project
Consider hiring a social media manager on a per-project basis if any of the following apply to you:
- You're hiring for a single output you need ASAP. Per-project payments encourage contractors to work quickly since it means they get paid sooner rather than later. The drawback here is that per-project freelancers might fall into the trap of submitting half-baked or unsatisfactory work.
- There are industry standard prices for a job. For example, if you're hiring a social media manager to make four social media posts (complete with hashtags and captions) for two channels, that would cost anywhere from $280 to $300.
When to Opt for a Flat Fee
Choose a contractor with a flat rate if any of these apply to you:
- You have a recurring task to offload, one with a variable time frame. For example, if you want your social media pages to regularly put out new content, you can hire a social media manager to produce content monthly, for a flat fee.
- The scope of the recurring task you're offloading is narrow and well-defined. Community engagement and reporting on social media metrics fall under this category.
How Much Does a Social Media Manager Cost: Factors to Consider
Besides the rates of a social media manager, many other crucial factors might affect how much you'll end up paying for one. Here are some things that influence how much you would have to pay for a social media professional.
The size of your business
If you have a large business, you may need to pay more for a social media manager. This is because they'll need to juggle more tasks and responsibilities. They would also have a larger effect on your company's brand, especially online.
The scope of the project
How much a social media manager costs could also increase depending on the project scope. If you're looking for someone to manage a large, ongoing social media campaign, you would need to pay them more. This is because they'll need to put in more hours and may need to hire additional help.
The complexity of the project
If your project is complex, you may need to pay more. If you're launching a social campaign with a dynamic outdoor marketing component, for example, you would have to pay your social media manager higher. Similar to the previous item, it's because they will need to put in more hours to plan and execute the project.
The location of the social media manager
If you're looking to hire a social media manager in a major city, you may need to pay more. This is because the cost of living is higher in these areas. Conversely, if you hire a professional from a smaller city, or from overseas, you would end up paying less for the same skills.
The skillset of the social media manager
If you're looking for someone with a specific skill set, you may need to pay more. For example, a social media manager who knows how to use Photoshop or Canva would understandably charge more than someone who cannot create graphics.
The size of your budget
Finally, your budget will affect how much you can pay for a social media manager. If you have a small budget, you may need to find someone willing to work for less.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can affect the cost of a social media manager. You'll need to consider all of these factors when deciding how much to budget for this position.
Alternatively, you might want to hire a social media assistant instead. If you hire through a managed VA provider, like Wing, you don’t have to worry about figuring out how much to budget.
For a flat monthly fee of either $649 (for 80 work hours) or $999 (for 160 hours), you’ll get an additional teammate who will take care of your most pressing and tedious social media admin tasks.
Should I hire a General Virtual Assistant Instead?
If you have tasks other than social media management that need to be done, you might be better off hiring a general virtual assistant. Wing also has general VAs whom you can hire for 80 hours per month ($499) or 160 hours per month ($899). That works out to 4 hours per day or 8 hours per day respectively.
As the name implies, a general virtual assistant is someone who could help with day-to-day business tasks. This can include things such as scheduling posts, responding to comments, and writing blogs. This can also include things like taking and making phone calls, scheduling meetings, and planning trips.
The cost of a general virtual assistant will depend on their skill set and experience. However, you can expect to pay less for a general virtual assistant than you would for a social media manager. This is because a general virtual assistant's skill set is not as specialized as a social media manager's.
Nevertheless, hiring a social media virtual assistant is a good option if you're on a budget. This is because you can get all of the benefits of a social media manager without having to pay the high cost.
Tasks You Can Offload to a Social Media Manager
As a business owner, you likely have a lot on your plate. This can make it difficult to find the time to focus on your social media presence. Luckily, you can offload some tasks to a social media manager or a virtual assistant. Here are some examples of things you can hand off:
- Creating content: A social media manager can help you make blog posts, infographics, images, and videos for your social pages.
- Scheduling posts: A social media manager can help you create a content calendar and stick to it by scheduling your posts for you.
- Engaging with followers: A social media manager can help you engage with your followers. They can respond to comments and questions, and help build relationships with customers.
- Analyzing data: A social media manager can help you analyze key performance indicators for your social media content, like engagement rate or post reach. They can also prepare reports so you can see if there is ROI to your organic social media efforts.
Do Some Research Before Hiring a Social Media Manager
Before you hire a social media manager, it's important to do your research. You'll want to read reviews and compare prices. You should also ask for references and check out the social media manager's work portfolio.
Make sure you understand the scope of the project and what you're looking for before you start interviewing candidates. This will help you find the right social media manager for your business.
Or, you could offload the entire hiring process to a managed service provider like Wing. When you hire through Wing, you'll be sure to get top-notch talent. We have a robust screening and vetting process for our dedicated social media VAs, who specialize in a range of skills.
Whether you need content creation, community management, audience research, or some other job done, we have you covered. Don't worry about social media manager costs and get started with Wing—schedule a call or chat with us today!
Aya is Wing Assistant’s blog manager. When she’s not wrangling content briefs, editing article drafts and handling on-page SEO, she is crafting messages for Wing’s other communication materials. Aya writes about SaaS startups, marketing for startups, search engine optimization, and pop culture.