Social Media Management Pricing: What Are the Costs for 2024?

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Did you know that the average person spends more than 2 hours per day on social media? If you’re not already taking your social media presence seriously, then now is the time, given that your potential clients are spending a significant amount of time scrolling. Your audience is ready, waiting and hungry for fresh content.

Investors can sometimes overlook social media as a ‘non-essential’ spend, but the benefits of investing in a solid social media strategy are numerous. A strong social media presence can help your business attract leads, drive traffic and conversions to your website, post at the right time, and overall increase your brand awareness.

What are the Best Social Media Management Tools?

We recommend the following social media management tools:

  1. Planable – collaborate across your team
  2. HubSpot – scale up your marketing
  3. Zoho Social – schedule unlimited posts

Click either of the links above to check out our top platforms

These programs help you plan, create, and post content across multiple channels from one convenient platform.

In this article, we’ll outline how much you can expect to pay for professional social media management tools so that you can decide for yourself whether they are a worthy investment.

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Social media management platforms let you take control of your social marketing. Planable is our top pick and you can try it for free

Social Media Management Pricing: Overview

A standard social media management package will cost $750 per month and it will cover Facebook and Instagram. Hiring a freelancer to manage your social media will cost between $35 to $350 per hour, depending on the level of expertise and volume of work you're looking for.

If you're willing to bring the work in-house, Planable is a low-cost DIY social media management tool. Using it will cost you either $0, $11, or $22 per user, per month. Custom enterprise pricing is also available on request.

Mid-range professional social media management tools include Sprout Social (around $249-$499 per month) and HootSuite (around $99-$249 per month). For an additional $199 or $349 per month, you can add another user to your Sprout Social plan.

How Many Americans Use Social Media?

In 2023, 74% of Northern Americans are active social media users.

Cost of Social Media Marketing Tools and Software

If your staff are skilled with social media platforms and can dedicate at least 15 hours a week, using just social media tools, vs. a separate agency, could be a good option for your business. Another benefit to using social media tools is that you don't need a designated team member to run your social media, so you'll save on hiring costs by outsourcing this to tech. Implementing tools allows you to replace the manual effort of tasks, such as being online to post at desired times and logging into various accounts one by one.

As this is being done on company time, you'll only need to pay the monthly fees for the tools. This saves you the agency's retainer fee. General pricing for social media management tools is dependent on the number of users and the number of social channels you're posting across. This is why costs are as wide as $0-$3,600+ per month.

Here's a summary of some top social media marketing tools:

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Buffer

SocialPilot

Sprinklr

Best for

Team collaboration

Best for

Social listening

Best for

Large businesses

Best for

All round social media oversight

Best for

Overall audience engagement

Best for

Overall social media campaign tool

Price Range

Free-$22 per month

(Enterprise plans available)

Price Range

$10-$40 per month (billed annually)

Price Range

$800-$3,600+ per month (paying annually)

Price Range

Free-$126+ per month

Price Range

$25.50-$200 per month

Price Range

Pricing on request

Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan
Free Trial/Plan

A small business can pay just $6 per month per social channel (eg. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) for Buffer's Essentials plan. You can reduce the need to stay glued to social feeds by scheduling up to 2,000 posts in advance. Marketing managers can deepen their understanding of audiences by accessing post analytics and user demographics.

If you're looking for a complete marketing powerhouse, HubSpot's Marketing Hub Professional plan ($800 per month) caters for up to 50 social accounts. You can really scale up your social media content output, publishing a maximum of 10,000 posts per month. It's also worth noting that you'll have to pay a one-off $3,000 onboarding fee with this plan.


How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost?

You have two options here. You can either work with a social media management company, which typically charge monthly, or you can hire a freelancer, who will usually charge by the hour. Below, we outline the average cost of both options.

Social Media Marketing Company Costs

Social media marketing should be a key pillar in your digital marketing cost strategy because you need it to deliver measurable results like improved conversions and more website traffic. You'll often pay for social media marketing services on a monthly retainer, ensuring you have a regular set of services for a fixed, predictable rate.

Below we've outlined some examples of monthly costs for social media marketing companies with good reputations:

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Lyfe Marketing

NetReputation

Firebelly Marketing

Price Range

$750-$1,400+ per month

Price Range

$500-$2,000 monthly retainer

Price Range

$3,000-$7,500 per month

Key Features
  • Content creation for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok
  • 12-20 posts monthly
  • 10 comment responses daily
  • Campaign strategy
  • Paid ads management
Key Features
  • Social media strategy
  • Original content
  • Post scheduling
  • Real-time analytics
  • Account manager
  • Additional project costs apply ($10,000-$49,000)

Key Features
  • Customer responses
  • Paid posts
  • Tailored content calendars
  • Monthly reports
  • Price varies according to number of social channels and publishing frequency

The above table outlines general monthly fees. However, there are likely to be extra costs involved. Don't say we didn't warn you…

Hidden Costs of Social Media Marketing Agencies

In an ideal world you'd know exactly what your monthly marketing costs would be. However, some additional charges may apply if you choose to hire an agency to handle your social media.

  • Setup fees: Also known as onboarding fees, you may have to pay a one-off charge to cover the introduction and training it takes to get your account started. Lyfe Marketing charges $300 in onboarding fees.
  • Ad spend: If your marketing strategy includes paid post promotion, you'll have to pay each platform. These costs are never included in agency retainer fees. Depending on your campaign goals, this could call for an extra $50-$100 per day or $1,650-$3,000 per month.
  • Premium customer support: Some partners offer basic support as standard, with the option to upgrade for quicker and more direct assistance.
  • Additional channels: Look closely at your service agreement because only some social media channels will be included. You can typically pay $150 for each extra channel (for instance TikTok, LinkedIn, or Pinterest).
  • Influencer fees: If you want your brand name-dropped by a content creator with an audience that trusts their opinions, this will cost extra. You may be asked to pay per piece of content or negotiate a longer-term agreement that includes multiple posts over a period of time.

Social Media Marketing Temp, Part Time, and Freelancer Costs

It has become easier to find peer-reviewed social media managers through platforms like UpWork and Fiverr. When researching prices, we included top-rated and vetted freelance professionals endorsed by their respective platforms as reliable for quality and punctuality.

Highly-rated social media managers can charge between $35 to $350 per hour, though most fall between $50-$85 per hour.

You can always find someone willing to do the work for less money but beware of poor-quality marketing that could harm your business's reputation.

Specialist agencies offer a more thorough level of vetting and will match you to a specific pool of professionals according to your business' needs. For example, MarketerHire's requirement is a minimum monthly spend of $3,000-$6,000 for 10 hours of work.

graph which shows social media platforms with the best ROI in 2023 according to a survey from HubSpot State of Marketing 2023. Facebook is in the top position with 22%, then YouTube, Instagram and TikTok are all tied at 16% and finally LinkedIn at 7%

Across industries, marketing leaders most frequently named Facebook (22%) as the social media channel that delivered the best return on investment (ROI). That was followed by YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok (16%) in joint second position. LinkedIn was the best investment for just 7% of respondents.

What It Would Cost To Do Social Media Marketing In-House

The first cost you need to consider if you choose in-house social media marketing is staff time; the upkeep of one social media channel requires a minimum of one hour of concentrated work per day. Realistically, you should plan to create useful, educational, or entertaining new videos at least twice a week. This is in addition to answering questions, queries, and complaints and participating in general industry discussions.

You can do all this with free or relatively cheap professional-grade tools. For instance, Planable provides clear channel oversight and makes it easy for colleagues to work together to create branded posts. You can start for free, and the premium plans cost $11 monthly per user or $22 per user for more social media pages and more post approval types.

Alternatively, Hootsuite offers a free 30-day trial and comes with a comprehensive set of tools. Pricing is $99 monthly for one user, $249 monthly for three users, or custom pricing for five users and up. We'll go into tool pricing comparisons more in the Cost of Social Media Marketing Tools and Software section below.

Handy Tips if You're Thinking of Switching

It's easy to get drawn into obsessing about the monthly subscription price of social media tools, but there's more to budgeting than choosing the cheapest plan.

1. Define your business' goals

You need to understand why you're investing in social media, and decide what you want to achieve. Only then will you be in a position to understand how to get there. The good news is you're likely to succeed with careful planning – a promising 90% of marketers believe their social media marketing will bring good ROI in 2023.

2. Evaluate your team's skillset

Have you hired staff who are adept at database software and video editing, or are you working with less experienced marketers – perhaps you're a beginner yourself? This informs how much customer support as well as onboarding and training your team will need. All of these will affect your budget.

3. Look for a system that scales

Budgets change and so does your business, but what nobody wants is to switch tools every six months. Your team can work efficiently with tools that feel familiar, so ensure you select a software program that can accommodate increases (or decreases) in your team size.

Cost of Hiring a Social Media Manager vs a Social Media Agency

Social media manager salaries can vary wildly, although agency fees tend to remain in a narrower range. The tech platform Built In puts the average base salary for a social media manager at $73,177 per year.

This works out to about $6,000 per month to hire an in-house social media manager. This is noticeably higher than the $1,500-$3,000 bracket we've outlined above for agency costs. There are also the extra costs that include onboarding, training and development, space in the office, and equipment.

However, there are also extra benefits from having your own dedicated staff member. A social media manager who is loyal to your company will know your business thoroughly. Frequent contact with internal stakeholders will ensure each post aligns strongly with your business strategy and values.

On the other hand, hiring a social media agency is likely to be far more affordable for most small businesses. You'll have to rely on your instincts to judge how well your chosen agency's staff can understand and interpret your requests.

How Much Does it Cost to Outsource Social Media Marketing on a Small Budget?

You can expect to pay $35 to $55 per hour for a social media management freelancer on an outsourcing platform like UpWork.com. If you're really trying to get the lowest rates possible, you can outsource to English-speaking countries like India, the Philippines, Malaysia, or Singapore.Of course, the main way to cope with a small budget is to tackle your own social media until you can afford to hire professionals.

What Social Media Services Will I Get for my Money?

Here's the question you really want answered: “What exactly will I get in return for $X,000?”

Here's a list of basic social media management services you can expect to receive:

  • Optimize or create social media profiles from scratch
  • Develop a content calendar
  • Publish custom branded content (i.e. posts and tweets)
  • Responding to customer questions, reviews, and complaints across social platforms
  • Connect with influencers to broaden the reach of your content

If you choose to pay for social media advertising services, these should entail:

  • Lead generation (attracting the right clients or customers to your business)
  • Driving website traffic through paid-per-click advertising
  • Precise audience segmentation and targeted advertising
  • Managing your brand's reputation through positive narratives

How Can I Ensure Good Return on Investment (ROI)?

You may now be wondering whether clicks, hearts, shares and follows actually translate to increased sales, turnover, and ROI. It's true that having more followers doesn't automatically mean more customers, and adding more followers is not a good enough exchange for your marketing budget.

You should draw up concrete business goals based on your particular industry. Here are some examples:

  • Increased website traffic of at least x% – consultancy and services
  • More customers through the door at lunchtimes – food and beverage vendors
  • Uptick in sales – ecommerce, designers, resellers, and physical stores
  • More bookings – medical and personal services
  • Better attendance at events (x% more visitors than previous event) – B2B, weddings or events-based businesses

What to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Professional

Before you hire anyone, we recommend you ask any potential social media managers how they will achieve your specific business goals. You must also examine evidence of their past campaigns.

  • How well do you understand my target market/industry?
  • How will you approach content strategy and planning?
  • What tools do you use to track performance?
  • How will you ensure I get the best value for my advertising budget?

Brand Reputation Benefits of Social Media Marketing

It is worth noting there will inevitably be more intangible benefits to polishing up your social media presence. Although it is harder to measure, you may want to consider the potential knock-on effect of these when it comes to improved investment opportunities, hiring and retaining talent, and responding better to market changes. To name a few:

  • Widen brand awareness
  • Strengthen customer loyalty
  • Increase opportunities to define yourself as a company (including beliefs and values)
  • Position yourself to engage with potential clients using ABM and ABX strategies
  • Better communication with customers, building rapport and understanding
  • Manage customer dissatisfaction, concerns, and complaints
Should You Go Social?

Almost any business stands to gain from a strong social media marketing campaign. While you may think it's just for retail or events-based businesses, even law firms using social media benefit from increased brand awareness.

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Planable offers premium plans for as little as $22 per month

Or, you can try for $0 per month on its free plan before you upgrade!

Cost of Social Media Advertising

We've mentioned briefly above that you'll need to pay additional fees to each platform for your posts to reach additional users. Because it's free to create an account on many social media platforms (like Facebook), paid content promotion is a major revenue stream for social media companies. You're paying for the access to the social platform's audience.

This means there are two costs to running paid social media advertising campaigns: the cost of content creation and the cost of promoting it on each platform.

The cost of promoting your post depends on the individual platform and whether you're using an agency or doing your own marketing.

If you're using an agency or hiring a freelancer, you won't necessarily know the exact budget that's allocated towards promoting your content. This is because social media professionals may prefer to agree to provide certain services for a fixed fee or achieve certain goals rather than provide an exact breakdown of how every penny is spent.

How Does Facebook Charge for Promoting Content?

When you run an ad campaign on a Meta platform, like Facebook, you'll set a certain maximum amount you're willing to spend. However, you'll only be charged for each impression (view) or click from a user. This is known as “cost per click” or CPC. This means you can set a campaign budget of $1,000, but you may only billed $700.

Facebook algorithms actually calculate which ad is likely to achieve the most engagement from certain users and allocate ad space based on an auction system. There are dedicated bidding strategies that can boost your chances of winning ad visibility. It's complicated – and that's why most business leaders delegate these calculations to paid marketing or “biddable” specialists.

How to Calculate ROI on Social Media Ad Spend

For example, let’s say you pay $0.97 – the average cost for Facebook PPC (pay-per-click) ads – for each time a customer clicks on your advert link. Now let's say you get 1,000 clicks. That costs $970 in total.

Don't forget to factor in the cost of content creation and social media management fees, which may be rolled into one package if you hire an agency. Say this is $350 in graphic design fees plus $400 in social media management fees. Your total campaign spend is $1,720.

You’ll then need to figure out the total revenue earned from the campaign. You'll need to track user behavior once they land on your site or store from the social ad. Say you calculate $3,200 in sales from customers who clicked on the social ad.

Next, subtract the costs of the campaign from the total revenue, and that's your net profit. In this case, $3,200 – $1,720 = $1,480.

It's not a minus number, so that means you're doing well! However, you may not find every campaign is profitable and this is normal. It's better to look at the bigger picture and measure all your paid social campaigns together. Try to analyze how you could improve on your results, either with better targeting or higher quality ads.

Will I Get Good Return on Investing in Social Media Marketing?

If you're concerned about calculating the return on investment (ROI) for your social media spend, you're not alone. Around one in three marketers (34%) felt uncertain about their ability to measure ROI on their social media marketing.

However, you can fight this uncertainty by remaining focused on your business' goals. Ask yourself if you're meeting the revenue gain, customer satisfaction improvement, or brand awareness targets you'd set in the beginning.


How Much Do Businesses Spend on Social Media Marketing?

According to the Content Factory, the average company in the US spends between $200 and $350 per day on social media marketing. This means total costs can end up somewhere between $6,000 and $10,500 per month, equating to anywhere between $72,000 and $126,000 annually. 

There's no denying that social media marketing can be expensive, but the results of an effective campaign will pay dividends: helping your business find new customers and boost sales. So, in the end, the rewards you’ll gain can make it a worthwhile investment.


How Much is Social Media Marketing Worth?

The majority of businesses and marketers agree that social media marketing is a worthwhile investment. According to current research, 73% of marketers report that their social media marketing efforts have been effective, and 90% say it has increased their business' exposure.

We also know the popularity of social media marketing has an upward trend. The amount of social media users is expected to rise to  6,054.0m users by 2028. Impressions are on the rise as well, with social media users spending more time on platforms that continue to show them content that's tailored to their tastes. Social netizens are viewing 20% more advertising than they did the year prior.

How does this translate into meaningful figures for your business? One way to calculate your ROI (return on investment) of your social media marketing campaigns is to measure your quantifiable goals, such as the number of online form submissions or product purchases you gain, compared to the amount of money you spend on your social media marketing.

How Much Should a Small Business Pay For Social Media Management?

The amount you're willing to spend on social media management depends on your ambitions and goals. If you're seeking to maintain a positive business reputation and gradually grow your brand awareness, you can expect to pay between $500 to $1,200 per month for basic social media management services.

If you're looking to scale up an ecommerce business and grow your revenue quickly, you should expect to invest in wide-ranging services. For instance, you may spend $5,000-$10,000 on social media management fees plus $7,000 monthly on an advertising budget.


Expert Verdict

The services of a top-rated social media marketing firm, such as Lyfe Marketing, start at $750 per month. This buys you 12 posts per month across your business Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can find services that are cheaper than this, but you'd be wise to remember you get what you pay for.

It can be hit-and-miss to hire a social media marketing agency. After all, you're placing your brand's reputation into the hands of another. So it pays to check out whether you can do the work in-house. To help you out, our top social media management tools are:

  1. Planable – Best for team collaboration
  2. Hubspot – Best for large businesses

Remember, investing in an effective social media marketing campaign can bring in more customers and sales as well as attract online traffic to your website. This is what makes social media marketing strategy a worthwhile investment.

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Planable gives you control of your social media marketing for $0-$22/month

And you can try it for free before upgrading to an affordable premium plan

FAQs

How effective is social media marketing really?

Social media marketing can be very effective in helping businesses meet several goals, such as:

  • Increasing brand awareness;
  • Driving website traffic;
  • Boosting conversions;
  • Gaining loyal followers;
  • Directly contributing to ROI.

However, the results may vary depending on different factors, including the target audience, the quality of the content, and the overall marketing strategy. To ensure maximum success, it's crucial to set clear goals, analyze performance regularly, target the ideal customers, and optimize content for each channel.

Investing in a dedicated social media manager can help ease the workload of maintaining a solid social presence and ensure that your efforts are met with the desired outcome.

How do I hire the right social media agency?
To hire the right social media agency, it's important to first understand that it's not a case of one size fits all. These points of consideration can help you find your best match:

  1. Most agencies have a specialism of some sort, whether that be based on company size or the types of industries they are experienced in dealing with. When selecting an agency or freelancer, be sure to browse their portfolio to understand what sorts of companies they have already worked with. Ensure that they share your vision for what you want to achieve with your social presence.
  2. Review the success of their previous campaigns and check that they are well-equipped to meet KPIs, you can ask to read client testimonials, case study results, and live campaign examples to gauge how well they execute their ideas.
  3. Understand their full capabilities and ascertain what it is that you need to outsource. Perhaps right now, you just need a creative eye to help curate your Instagram grid. However, looking beyond just social post creation, explore their experience with paid ads, community management, different content formats and analytics. The broader their capabilities, the more they can scale up with you.
How much should you pay for a social media audit?
Auditing your main social profiles typically costs between $300 and $800. However, a more comprehensive multi-platform competitive audit could cost $1,500 or more. The cost of an audit is affected by factors including the number of posts analyzed, the depth of reporting, and competitive comparisons.

Boutique agencies and freelancers usually charge an hourly rate of $50 to $150, while bigger agencies often offer packaged campaigns at a set price instead of an hourly charge. In the case of a large agency conducting an extensive audit, the cost can range anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 and beyond.

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Robyn Summers-Emler, Grow Online Editor, Profile Picture
Robyn started working on Expert Market in 2021 as a specialist in business websites and digital marketing. As the Grow Online Editor, she ideates, commissions and optimizes content on Expert Market that helps businesses thrive in online spaces and maximize their ecommerce potential. Covering everything from choosing a website builder to scaling a social media marketing strategy - Robyn uses her expertise to help startups, SMBs, and larger businesses realize digital growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.