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How Much to Hire a Part-Time Social Media Manager

how-much-to-hire-a-social-media-manageOne of the questions I’ve been getting quite a lot from clients and friends is how much does it cost to hire a social media manager. Usually, this question comes from someone who owns a local business, or a podcast host, author or public speaker building and managing their audience.

When I dig a little deeper, it often turns out what they are really looking for is not purely a social media manager.  Instead, they’re looking for someone to either do lead generation or build brand awareness in addition to basic social media management. With that said, I will break down my response to the cost to hire a part-time social media manager into four categories.

  1. Pure social media managers
  2. Social media mangers who do lead generation
  3. Social media managers who do brand awareness
  4. Social media managers who do lead generation and brand awareness

Cost to Hire a Pure Social Media Manager Part-Time

The role of a pure social media manager is that of a content curator, proofreader, and moderator.

Content Curator

First and foremost, this means that if you’re hiring a pure social media manager, you shouldn’t expect this person to create original content.  This person is going to scan the web for relevant content created by other people and share the most inspirational, educational, and remarkable content they find.  This person will also re-purpose the content you create and share it across your social media pages.

Proofreader

It’s fair to expect your social media manager to perform proofreading duties both on your social media post and any of your blog post that they’re sharing to your social profiles.  This person should be a pro at making sure all content shared is grammatically correct and free of spelling errors.

Moderator

A social media manager must also moderate your social media pages to make sure followers and fans follow your guidelines for appropriate content as well as replying to basic customer service questions.  This could also extend to your blog comments section.  When it comes to replying specifically, don’t expect your social media manager to go beyond basic customer service, as any complex/controversial questions or comment follow-up should be forwarded to you for reply.

Based on these basic responsibilities, you will entrust this person with the passwords to multiple sites that represent your brand, and this person will also be entrusted to speak for your business in a variety of situations.  In addition, a high turn-over of personnel would increase your cost of training and add additional risk of your brand being compromised.

Bottom line, your shouldn’t have a goal to find the cheapest person out there.

Therefore, you should expect to pay a part-time social media manager a rate of $20.00 to $30.00 per hour for no-less than 10 hours a week of work.

Cost to Hire a Part-Time Social Media Manager who does Lead Generation

I often find that the role of the social media manager described above is not what business owners really care about in terms of return on investment. Instead, they are looking to measure the success of their social media manager based on how many new prospective customers they can get to sign-up for a lead nurturing email marketing program. i.e. lead generation.

It’s not that they want lead generation done instead of the duties of a pure social media manager described above, they expect all of the above.  Yet, they usually will only gauge the success or failure of the social media managers based on new leads in the pipeline.

It’s unreasonable to expect to pay the same amount for someone who is versatile enough to do both social media management and lead generation. If you want your social media manager to also do lead generation,  then the right candidate for the job must be able to not only do the pure social media manager role, but also:

  • Create original high-quality content
  • Create “call to action” campaigns
  • Edit graphics
  • Deploy landing pages that are integrated with your email marketing system and/or CRM system
  • A/B Testing
  • Basic html, css, and javascript

This is a unique skill set that doesn’t come cheap. Therefore, you should expect to pay a part-time social media manager who also does lead generation a rate of $50.00 to $100.00 per hour for no-less than 20 hours a week of work.  If you want to pay an hourly rate at the lower end of this scale, it may be possible to negotiate a lower hourly rate if you also pay a commission per lead generated.

Cost to Hire a Part-Time Social Media Manager who does Brand Awareness

For those businesses who don’t do sales through lead nurturing, and/or depend mostly on word of mouth, they look at social media mainly as a tool to build more awareness around their brand.

These businesses generally measure the success of their social media manager by the number of new likes, shares, and comments. These businesses may also seek an increase in their search engine ranking as a result the branding done by their social media manager indirectly leading to more back links.

In this case, this type of social media manager must be able to do the pure social media tasks, as well as:

  • Marketing strategy and research
  • PR/Influencer Outreach
  • Community building
  • Graphic Design
  • Create original high-quality content

Finding a social media manager who also does brand awareness is much easier to find than one who also does lead generation.  Therefore, you will find that you can negotiate a slightly lower rate at fewer hours per week.

As a result, you should expect to pay a part-time social media manager who also does brand awareness a rate of $30.00 to $60.00 per hour for no-less than 10 hours a week of work.

Cost to Hire a Part-Time Social Media Manager who does both Lead Generation and Brand Awareness

It’s rare to find someone who is willing to work part-time and who does all of the above when it comes to social media management. So you can expect that this person will need to work for you a minimum of 20 to 30 hours per week to accomplish all the tasks necessary to manage your social media pages, as well as generate leads and increase the brand awareness of your business.

If you need to outsource all of these activities, it may be best to contract with a boutique social media consulting firm or a full-service marketing agency.  This will without a doubt require a significant financial investment.

If you do get lucky and find a freelancer who can and will do it all, you should expect to pay this person no less than $100.00 per hour.

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There are 19 comments. Add yours.

  1. Great post! Assuming you are managing multiple social channels and email; would you say it’s better to quote an hourly rate or a monthly fee?

    • A monthly fee is always better, assuming you are working with a long term client. Social management includes so many micro actions that tracking time on an hourly basis is pretty impracticable. Therefore, it’s best to estimate the hours for the month and come up with a monthly fee from there (with a little buffer of course).

  2. Great insightful post.

  3. Excellent insight, specifically the four categories. Thank you Christopher.

    • You are welcome Rita! So happy you found this post useful.

  4. Super helpful post Christopher! I’m based in the UK but this has been the clearest and most useful article I’ve come across to get my value proposition straight and to help me explain it to clients. Thanks so much 🙂

  5. Thanks for the incredible insight. Really spells out the duties and responsibilities as well as cost tables. Great resource!

    • You are welcome! Thank you for stopping by and providing your feedback!

  6. It is very good info that you listed the 4 roles. Could you adv which country or city the rate is based on? Thanks

    • Based on the United States. Not city specific, but this is based on my experiences working up and down the east coast of the US from Atlanta to New York.

  7. Gear article Christopher.

    Am going into Social Media Management on my own after having worked for a sports company for 3 years. I am in the category of a Pure Social Media Manager but looking to diverse to lead generation and brand awareness for the clients I pick up. What sort of ball park monthly cost to client can I charge?

    Ike Bam – Cape Town, South Africa

    • Hi Ike,

      Being that your are in South Africa, it would be hard for me to ball park a number for you as rates always depend on your regional market. As I mentioned in the article, if you are capable of doing both brand awareness and lead generation, you are a hot commodity. With that said, whatever the going rate for a social media manger is where you live, you could probably charge at least double that. Also, when you start doing lead generation, you could also request that your client pay you a commission per lead generated if they want to pay you at a lower rate. Thanks for stopping by the blog and good luck with your endeavor!

  8. lesyali

    Super helpful post, thank you!

  9. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Michele Kire

    This has been really helpful. I’ve been managing the social media for one non-profit as part of a wider role within the business and I’m looking into options for similar work as a freelancer. Calling myself a social media marketer seemed too broad but understanding these ‘types’ makes my prospective role a lot clearer. I’m a social media manager who does brand awareness.

  11. Wow, thank you for this article, it has been so helpful. Would you say the rates have risen, since social media first began? I’ve read articles that were written in 2012 and had pretty high rates.

    • Based on what I see in Atlanta (every market is different), the rate for a “pure social media manager” has gone down, and the rates for every other type has gone up.

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