How Much Does Social Media Management Cost?

Almost weekly here at Red Truck Labs we receive emails about the cost of our social media services.

About two weeks ago, I received this email from Tom…

The email said:

“I want to know what packages you have for social media management and what services they include”

As always we set up a call, as it is simply impossible to quote a price without background, understanding the needs, challenges and expectations of the potential client. 

Turns out Tom (like many) had no idea what the average cost for social media marketing was…

He wanted to truly understand why the cost for our services ranged anywhere from $299 – $15,000 per month. That’s a HUGE spectrum.

For the many others like Tom out there, I decided to write this blog for you.

So, here’s the deal:

If you’re serious about hiring the right company for your business, there are four (4) general services you need to know.

1 Content Creation: The first step for any brand is to post and be active on social media. This is a service every social media company will provide.

2 Follower Growth: In order to get your post seen, you must have fans/followers on social media. It is important to check if this is included your package.

3 Social Advertising: To truly tap into the power of social media you must advertise. This allows you to pay to reach millions of people who use social media every day. This is where you will find the discrepancy in the cost for services in most cases.

4 Strategy & Employees: The sheer number of employees that a social media company has working on your business can highly affect the price. It can be the difference in paying $1,500/mo and paying $15,000/mo for social media management. Corporate agencies often have strategist, graphic designers, content writers, website developers, search specialist, account managers and more all work together to serve client needs.

That’s it.

As many of you know, these make up social media marketing services for most SMBs (small businesses).

If you’d like a more in depth understanding of these services…

In addition, if you would like to know how much does social media marketing cost with Red Truck Labs.

Then visit our social media management pricing page.

Okay.. Moving on.

Now that you understand how social media marketing services works, let’s dive into the meat of this blog.

How much does social media marketing cost?

When deciding to outsource your social media needs there are several options available to you.

You can hire an intern, freelancers, employee, small marketing company or corporate marketing agency. Each partner has its own average price and set of pros/cons. It is important to note that no company is exactly alike and will have minor differences.

We will take a look at each partner individually.

Let’s start with the classic..

“Let’s just hire an Intern from College” group.

The problem with hiring a social media intern is they have no business experience.

Yes it’s true. Interns do know how to post tweets and update Facebook. However, most interns do not have the knowledge to organize marketing and generate results for business.

Keep in mind that people who take social media intern positions are people who are trying to learn. So instead of you maximizing your time on other important business operations, you’ll most likely be answering intern questions and constantly correcting or reviewing your work.

Interns cost you a lot of time and time is money.

Pros of hiring an intern

• Free or very low cost

Cons of hiring an intern

• No experience. No true practicality to use social media to grow your business.

• Constant oversight. Spending a lot of necessary time to review work and answer basic questions.

• Temporary position. Once they gain the desired experience they leave and seek good paying positions.

So, Should You Hire The Social Media Freelancer?

A Freelancer is often referred to as a consultant..

Typically freelancers charge an hourly wage to render services on a project basis. Social media freelancers with 3+ years of experiences on average will cost $45/hr.

Now let’s do the math.

If you want real results to come from social media you will need to be active and post daily.

Assuming it takes your freelancer one hour per day, your cost could be $

$45/hr per day x 5 days a week x 4 weeks a month = $900/mo x 12/mo = $10,800 per year for a freelancer.

Pros of working with a freelancer are

• More flexibility. Freelancers typically can move from project to project with ease.

• Lower cost. Employer does not have to pay employment taxes or include benefits.

Cons of working with a freelancer are

• No Loyalty, freelancers sell their services to the highest bidder

• Reliant on One Person. If he/she is sick or extremely busy your social media is on hold

• No Oversight. There is little to no transparency on how the work is actually being performed.

One last thing to note about freelancers is experience matters. Hiring an inexperience social media manager can be like hiring an intern.

Full Time Employee (In-house)

The great benefit of hiring an employee is that you control employee’s quality, time and activity. You are able to build in a position or team for your social media marketing department.

However, adding a new position is not always an easy task.

You have to develop training, day-to-day process and oversight for the employee. Which means it could take months before you are ready to play on social media. In addition, you will have a long term commitment with your new employee so be mindful of the possibility of failure.

Now let’s do the math.

On the low end you can expect to pay $35k per year in salary. This is about $3,500 per month when you include taxes and benefits.

$3,500 per month x 12 months = $42,000 per year for a FT employee.

Pros of hiring an in-house employee

• Committed to working for your organization

• 100% oversight to see what is happening on a day to day basis

• Experience is hired, built and retained.

• Flexibility to change work focus.

Cons of hiring an in-house employee

• High cost. The average salary for a social media manager is $35k – 50k per year.

• Employer usually will pay employment taxes and benefits (health insurance and 401k plan)

• Reliant on one person. If he/she is sick or leaves the company your social media is on hold.

• Long term commitment. You must establish training, process and reporting for position.

Next you have the small marketing company

A small marketing company is one who typically caters to small business owners. Most of these companies try to provide as much value to the client at the best cost possible.

This gives you a hybrid of hiring a freelancer and a full-time employee.

So, Freelancer + Full-Time Employee = Small Marketing Company.

You get the best of both worlds.

Since most small marketing companies want to grow clientele, you will find they will be committed to helping your company grow as well.

And perhaps that greatest benefit is..

It’s NOT reliant on one person where freelancers and a full-time employee are.

In addition, they have several packages to fit your budget and needs.

Now let’s do the math.

The cost for a GOOD small marketing company will range anywhere from $400 – $1500 per month.

At the lowest package you will spend $4,800 per year.

$400/mo x 12 months = $4,800 per year

At the best package you will spend $18,000 per year.

$1500/mo x 12 months = $18,000 per year

Pros of hiring a small marketing company

• Several pricing options. You can choose packages that fit your needs.

• Low-mid cost. Very cost effective. Packages can be less cost than hiring a freelancer.

• Can move from package to package with ease.

• Not Reliant on one person. Several social media managers on staff.

• Committed to your organization. Good companies are results focused.

• Some oversight. You will be able to call and have access to a social media manager.

• Company usually has worked with a number of other SMBs.

• No employment taxes or benefits. In fact, you can write it off for tax purposes.

Cons of hiring a small marketing company

• Not 100% oversight. You still won’t be able to know what happens on a day-to-day basis.

• Most companies will require a 6-12 month contract.

Now beware.

There are plenty of unreliable and inexperience small marketing companies on the web.

For example..

It’s important to ask if the company has in-house social media managers.

You do not want to work with a company who is simply outsourcing their work to freelancers.

This way you will know exactly what to expect from your provider.

Lastly, you have the Corporate Marketing Agency

These agencies typically work with other corporate companies like fortune 1,000 or Inc 5,000 entities.

They are known for being full-service and providing a large range of marketing services for their clients.

So naturally, they have a lot of employees work together on client campaigns.

Which is GREAT!

Especially, if you have a big complex business.

Because every employee is able to thoroughly strategize and execute their portion of the client’s campaign.

However, most corporate marketing agencies are known for being slow and unresponsive.

Now let’s do the math.

For a good corporate marketing company you will pay $15,000/mo.

$15,000/mo x 12 months = $180,000 per year for a corporate marketing company.

For most SMBs, you will not see a positive return on this type of investment social media investment.

Unless of course, your social media content goes viral.

Pros of hiring a corporate marketing agency

• Several employees. More than one person handling your social media presence.

• Again, you are not reliant on one person. Several social media managers on staff.

• Long term commitment to your business. Most agencies take the LT approach.

• Full service marketing. All your marketing needs are taken care of with one company.

• Company usually has worked with a number of other businesses.

• No employment taxes or benefits. In fact, you can write it off for tax purposes.

Cons of hiring a corporate marketing agency

• Not very flexible. Because there are several people working on a team it takes time to make changes to campaigns.

• Not 100% oversight. You still won’t be able to know what happens on a day-to-day basis.

• Most companies will require 1-2 year contract.

BAM, that’s it.

We’ve covered every group.

Now let’s do a side by side comparison and breakdown of key pros/cons.

How much does social media marketing cost? Intern Freelancer Full-Time Employee Small Marketing Company Corporate Marketing Company $$ FREE $900/mo $3,500/mo $400 – 1,500/mo $15,000/mo Pro FREE Flexibility Quality Control Experience Employees Con No Experience One Person Cost No oversight Cost Use Anyone Anyone Based on experience Small Businesses Fortune 1000 & Inc 5000 Companies

In Summary,

Every partner is different and will yield different costs.

However, on average you can expect to pay the prices above depending on who you are talking to.

Here are some tweetable takeaways.

  • Be very wary of brands who are very cheap as they may not offer a particular service or provide the quality your business needs. 
  • Interns are free.. but can be suck up your time and time is money. 
  • Freelancers are a great option for outsourcing projects, but can disappear and never return. 
  • In-house employees can gives you quality control, but your business must be prepared to manage another position.
  • Small social media marketing companies are a great pricing option, but you have little to no oversight of work. 
  • Corporate marketing companies offer the most comprehensive services, but can be slow and cost a lot.

Hire Us

It’s only right that I end this blog with a pitch.

If you are looking for an agency to manage your campaign and get real results then please contact us today.

4 Steps to Getting a Response to a Cold Email

I wake everyday up to find my Inbox is already jammed with dozens of messages offering help of some sort to run my business. The morning ritual is not a pleasant one, but at the same time I find myself questioning whether or not I myself am a spammer? I spend a great deal of time writing emails with the purpose of convincing a company to do business with my company. Whether it be asking for a phone call, an email, or proposing a partnership my role requires it. So the question I continually ask myself is how do I cut through the noise?

I know from my own experience that everyone I write is inundated with messages; mine is just one of those in the pile. So how do I cut through the noise? When I begin to draft a message I have four key concepts in mind. 

First need to understand that you, yes you are part of the problem. All of us have received emails filled with bullet points trying to sell us something that we don’t need or want. A standardized approach is a waste of time.

Make sure your pitch addresses a real problem that a company faces and that its bosses have prioritized; this is the first step to success. 

It is imperative that you reach the right person, one who can turn interest into action. Know who your target is and go high. Any real deal will have to go way up the ladder.

Even when you have targeted the right person and have the right pitch it is still not time to hit send. To truly elicit a reply make some sort of personal connection, through a previous association or better yet, an introduction. An email that contains a familiar name will actually get read.

Lastly, Do NOT use LinkedIn to make your pitch. It is fine for background research or to see where your network may lead, but it is a horrible forum for conducting a dialogue — and it is increasingly full of spammers which you are wise not want to emulate. Be diligent and get real email addresses. There are plenty of services to assist; look at producthunt.com and search for email lookup services.

Email pitches will always be akin to throwing darts, but bad ones are not merely ineffective they are destructive to your company’s reputation. They make you appear like you either don’t care or are desperate. If you spam you are a spammer and no one wants to do business with a spammer.

Professional Motorsports and eSports?

It is time that every team in professional motorsports take eSports seriously. A decade ago blogs began to rise and were largely ignored by NASCAR and IndyCar. Today those blogs that were in their infancy then are major forces with readership levels that traditional outlets could only dream of. Today eSports is a category that is in its infancy. Both NASCAR and IndyCar have incredible opportunities to take advantage of the rise in awareness particularly with the advent of Drone Racing. The possibilities for cross-promotion are extensive, and the ability to showcase some of that inherent in-house technological talent is to great to be missed. 

Don't Forget the People

Over the last decade I have had the pleasure of viewing the workings of several highly dysfunctional businesses. While that sentence may sound depressing, taking as a whole the experiences have provided an education that no university could hope to.

Of the many lessons learned one is that technology can do wonders for efficiency, however if you do not focus first on the human element, the implementation of the best products and services in your industry are doomed to failure. 

The smartest organizations are the ones that realize implementing new technology isn’t about the hardware or software but about the users.  

Today your organization whether comprised of 1 or 1000 must be nimble to make the most of tech changes that are occurring, thus you need humans who can adapt to change. Providing each team member with the tools and skills is not enough. You have to instill the appropriate mindset. 

Begin with Goal-Centric thinking. Forget about implementing technology because it looks fancy and has lots of buzzes and whistles. Most people only embrace technologies that actually help them achieve concrete and valued goals. 

Accept that not every tool is going to be embraced by every employee — and empower them to choose the tools that will actually help them work more effectively. To ensure that inertia (or tech phobia) doesn’t discourage people from adopting the technologies that really can be valuable to them, communicate the specific problems, benefits, or situations the technology is meant to address. And teach your employees to start each tech adoption process by thinking about the specific goals they want that technology to help them accomplish, so that they make effective use of each tool.

Collaboration skills. Collaboration tools like Google Docs and Basecamp can’t make up for missing kindergarten. If your employees don’t know how to play nicely together, having the tools to communicate is not going to combat tendencies to hoard knowledge and resist sharing progress with one another. Your organization will only make effective use of collaboration software if you foster a culture of mutual trust, and reward team effort as much as individual contribution. Even a cooperative team culture may have players who have difficulty sharing: help those employees build their collaborative capacity by encouraging them to share in a smaller way, and to expand their use of collaboration tools as they get comfortable sharing what they know.

Communication skills. As organizations move more of their communication online, they often find that great offline communicators are curt emailers, or, conversely, too personal or verbose. Help your employees build their capacity for effective online communication with workshops and resources that highlight the differences between on- and offline communication, like the potential for misunderstanding and offense. Encourage a culture of tolerance for differences in online communication style, and teach employees to take conversations offline (ideally face-to-face, or failing that, by phone) as soon as there’s any tension or hostility.

Learning skills. Learning how to use a new technology is a skill in and of itself. Most tech enthusiasts actively enjoy the process of learning a new tech skill—but not everybody regards learning a new software platform as a whole lot of fun. It can be helpful for employees to recognize that there are different learning styles when it comes to technology; if they can find their own preferred approach, it will be easier for them to adapt to future innovations. While some people like reading manuals or watching training videos, other people do better just plunging in, and looking up instructions as they need them; still others need an actual human being to sit down with them and walk them through their first experiences with a new tool. Offering your support in a variety of forms — and encouraging employees to identify the approach that works best for them — will help your team members get more comfortable with the adoption process.

Troubleshooting skills. Nothing kills that new software high like random crashes or the frustration of a tool that just won’t work. When employees are dependent on IT to help them past each crash or hurdle, they’ll get bottlenecked by their efforts to use a new technology — particularly if they have to wait a day or two to solve their problems. Better to teach team members to solve their own basic problems: learning how to Google an error message, or how to accurately describe a problem so they can find online solutions. Those same skills will also help your employees provide more accurate error reports to IT, so that when theydo need the help of your support desk, that help can be delivered as efficiently as possible.

Playfulness. While there are lots of practical skills that can affect tech adoption in the workplace, nothing will have a bigger impact than cultivating a playful attitude towards technology. Employees who actually enjoy using their computers and devices — employees who think of them as toys — are a lot more likely to embrace opportunities to use those toys more effectively. Bake some humor and play into your office tools — for example, by choosing tools that use humor in their messages (like Slack), or giving your Basecamp projects silly names — or better yet, by encouraging your employees to explore the way technology can support their personal interests and hobbies. The more people associate technology with fun and not just with expense reports and client presentations, the more they’ll be able to embrace successive waves of tech innovation.


Of course, there will always be employees who don’t need help developing any of these attitudes or skills: they’re the tech enthusiasts and early adopters who spend their evenings and weekends goofing around with new technology, too. Embrace these techies as your partners in building a tech-friendly culture in your organization, and harness their contagious enthusiasm to make tech adoption easier for everyone in your workplace.

Growth of YouTube

2014 was the year that it became clear to all of us over the age of thirty-five that the place we first saw funny cat videos is now the prime spot those under the age of 16 to consume media.

So…. Everyone, we must realize that todays 16 year-old is the big-three’s next customer, hopefully. If they are going to take american automobiles seriously there needs to be content, and content strategies that focus this market to grab their attention now before it is too late.

Social Media Phase of the Internet is Over

With less than 30 days till the beginning of the 2016 Sprint Cup Season begins it is time we take a moment and look back the trends that began, continue ended. 

Fred Wilson, noted Venture Capitalist, stated that “the social media phase of the Internet ended.” Well sort-of. This does not mean that Facebook is going to go the way of the Edsel anytime soon. Rather, what Fred Wilson is referring to is that the Social Media market is not an infant or even a Tween anymore, but a mature business segment. Mr. Wilson puts it best when he states, “that there isn’t much innovation here (social media) anymore.”

There will still be new social applications and we will continue to use them, but we have to cognizant of how we are using the networks today to build engagement rather then missing out on the next Instagram. 

Although, a trend we will continue to see through the course of 2015 is that “messaging” may well be the new social media. You may have noticed your own friends and families using whatsapp group as opposed to Facebook. Clearly, there is a movement amongst the kids using snapchat instead of Instagram, and there are other upstarts out there like serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s Cyberdust.

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