One of the most repeated questions I get from social media agencies, small social media consultants and virtual assistants is the question of price for social media services to clients. I have tried to stay away from writing about the topic because it is such a subjective topic. There are so many variables that go into pricing a social media program for a client and budget is only one of them!
The intent of this post is to better outline some of the key factors in determining pricing for your agency clients. I will start by discussing a highly connected issue that I am also asked on occasion. This is going to be one of my longer blog posts and for that I am sorry. I don’t like long blog posts either, but the subject matter is detailed so hang in there with me.
Connected Issue: Should we publish our social media pricing on our website?
Absolutely NOT! Why? Here’s my perspective on this:
1) you already have competition, don’t make it easy on them, by giving them your prices.
2) Average users online typically shop price even though they do not understand the major differences between services being provided.
3) People do business with people they connect with. Drive your prospects to a phone call consultation. Your social media services website can’t close business for you.
4) Every social media client/business/product is different. Cookie cutter activity, strategy and pricing will not be effective.
5) Most Important: Your main competition for new clients will come from the large online social media mills. (think puppy mills) Those on or offshore providers that churn and burn poor unsuspecting souls into useless social media programs that post crap once per day on twitter and facebook for $100/mo. and will never achieve any returns. For the business owner that does not understand social media marketing best practices and relationship building, they will see your price and the mills price and not even call to get more information. In short – Effective social media management and marketing is not a price compare game…
Next lets get into those key factors you need to consider when developing pricing for a clients social media marketing program.
Key Considerations When Developing Your Social Media Pricing:
Client Size: Are you dealing with a small, medium or large client. What are the differences in community building, targeting, finding for each. What size community will that require to be effective and how much resources are needed to properly engage with that community.
Number of Social Accounts: When speaking with a client and understanding their industry, geographic and demographic market, you will need to determine what social networks they need to be engaged in. In other words, where is your clients target market spending their time in the social graph. Based on the social networks that your clients audience is engaged in, you will determine which and how many social networks they need to have a presence in. Conversely, if they already have a social media presence, take into consideration the number of accounts you will need to be posting to and managing daily for community growth and engagement.
How Niche Is Their Industry/Target Market: This is probably more overlooked in pricing than anything else in our industry. The more niche a client is, the more competitive their space is and the more unique their offering is, the more time and resources their social media marketing will require. Do not make the mistake of NOT considering this in the client pricing structure.
Content Strategy: Based on the clients business, what is the content strategy that needs to be deployed. Content type, frequency of posting, etc. This can be dramatically different from one client to the next. >>> More on Posting Frequency
Time/Resource Requirements: In general, what are the time, personnel and tool requirements for the client. Consider the other above factors and the more or less time you will need based on this clients uniqueness.
Collaboration Needs: Another over looked component is client collaboration. Will you need to be getting content from the client daily, weekly, etc. Will they have specials that will need to be formatted and posted frequently. Will you have to be chasing the client for this content, etc. Restaurants, as an example will need to have collaboration involvement with you. They are notorious for being busy and requiring more time and attention, especially related to collaboration. >>> More on Restaurants
Are there more considerations that should be considered in your social media price? Sure, probably hundreds. I just feel that these are the key factors you should minimally take into account.
So the big question is, what should pricing be? I would say for the smaller, less complex and local clients, you should be priced between $500-$700 per month. For larger, more complex, national clients, you should be between $800-$1,500 per month. All of this depends on the key considerations we discussed above. A more regional mid-sized business or a B to B social media client might be somewhere in the middle. >>> More on Proposals
From here there is the question of setup fees, but this is an entire post in and of itself. We will address that on another blog post.
The point is, there is no one size fits all pricing structure for a social media management program, or at least I do not subscribe to that idea based on our experience. Every client and program should be different in order to maximize results. Considering the key factors of a program should improve your pricing structure and net profitability for your agency.
*MORE – For an in depth 5 Part series on how to pitch a social media management program to a prospective client, including a proposal template, Read This Series: Important Elements of A Social Media Agency Proposal – Part 1-5