Things to consider when setting social media package pricingBy Lawrence Dy
When selling social media packages, you must understand what value you’re providing clients so you know how to price your services. Social media package pricing isn’t as easy as figuring out how much time you save a client business and putting a dollar figure on each hour, though that’s a good place to start.
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According to one survey, small business owners or their designees spend around 6 hours per week managing social media on average (Vertical Response). Whether those efforts are effective varies. So, the value you bring as an agency begins with how well you can remove social media work burdens from your clients’ shoulders and how much success you can drive with your social media management.
Learn more about what to consider when pricing social media services below.
Understanding the scope of work
Before you can consider how much to charge for social media posts, you need an in-depth understanding of how much (and what type of) work you will do for the client. Discussions surrounding the scope of work should include, but aren’t limited to:
- How many social platforms you will manage. While you can use a white-label social media management tool to manage social platforms and schedule posts from a single dashboard, it takes agency time to tweak posts for each site and review and manage comments. Social media package pricing should account for the number of platforms included in each package.
- Which social platforms you will manage. Think about the time and effort that goes into each platform. Is it easier for your agency to manage a client’s Instagram than its Twitter account? Talk to your subject-matter experts and teams to understand the effort that goes into each task so you can price accordingly.
- The role your agency plays in content creation. Does your agency provide social media ideas for businesses or does it create content from scratch for each client? Your role, including how much interaction the client wants in the process, impacts the resources required for the job—which should impact pricing.
- The complexity of the content. Simple text posts that follow a repeating format or memes you source from the web take less time to create than thought-leadership posts or video content. Define content creation parameters to ensure you can meet client expectations and understand how to price those efforts.
- How often and on what schedule you’ll post. Pricing should account for how many posts per month you need to create, schedule, or manage. If the client has expectations for social media management outside your normal processes, such as working on weekends or responding very rapidly to comments, consider an upcharge.
Analyzing target audience and reach
When and how often your team must work on a client’s social media is impacted by the target audience. For example, if the audience is extremely large and already fairly engaged—or made up of demographics likely to engage with compelling content—you may need to spend more time fielding comments and messages for the client.
Here are a few factors to consider to understand how the target audience and intended reach can impact how much you should charge for social media packages:
- The target audience includes those in multiple time zones. If the target audience is spread out over large geographic swaths and you’re responsible for service-level agreements promising average message response times of less than 24 hours, you may need to hire staff in shifts or outsource some elements of social media content creation or management.
- The client wants you to reach a national or global audience. Reaching wider audiences can require more content or carefully curated content that appeals to larger numbers of people. This may take more time for your agency staff to create than regional content for groups they’re familiar with.
- The client wants hyperlocalized content. On the other hand, hyperlocalized content can also take more effort, especially if your staff isn’t familiar with the client’s location and needs to conduct research.
- You must target numerous audience segments. Heavily segmented social media campaigns take more effort and time to manage, as you may need to come up with different content or messaging for each audience sector. This is especially true if you’re managing social media for multiple brands or product lines under a single client’s umbrella, as you may need to consider different styles, voices, and messaging for each.
Assessing the industry and competition
Best practices and guidelines for social media management obviously include being aware of industry trends and what the competition is doing, and that’s true when it comes to pricing too. Start by researching competitor pricing models and how much others within the industry are charging. Consider questions such as:
- Is almost everyone in your niche currently basing pricing off of a specific model, such as subscriptions, or are other options gaining traction?
- Among competitor agencies that offer services that are closest to yours (or to audiences that are similar to yours), what are some average prices?
- What is your unique value proposition, how much does it differentiate you from competitors, and what added value does it bring that might impact pricing?
Remember that you don’t have to price your services equal to competitors just to match pricing. But you do need to be cognizant of the value clients can get somewhere else so you can ensure you’re providing enough value for the money you expect.
Factoring in experience and expertise
Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the rise of the gig economy have created what appears to be “easy entry” into fields such as social media management. For example, when conducting competitive research, you might discover numerous solopreneurs offering social media packages based on some level of personal success on Instagram or TikTok. If you’re a well-established agency, you don’t need to price-match those types of competitors.
Take time to ensure your pricing—and the way you market your services—takes your team’s skills, knowledge, and experience into account.
Social media package pricing can—and should—reflect factors such as:
- Years of experience. Are you a professional with a decade or more of successful social media management for clients under your belt? Can the agency boast dozens of decades of combined experience? These factors matter to potential clients, and many are willing to pay a premium for the right type of experience.
- Specialization. Do you offer something many agencies don’t? Have you pioneered an approach to social media marketing, or does your agency include specialists in specific industries? For instance, a healthcare clinic might be willing to pay more for an agency that understands and can work within industry compliance regulations.
- Social proof. Do you have case studies, testimonies, or other evidence of your track record with social media marketing? This type of marketing collateral can make it easier to sell packages at higher price points.
Account for all deliverables and resources
Once you have a baseline concept for social media marketing package pricing, take time to ensure all the details are covered and included in pricing. Two potential ways to do this are summarized below.
Start with à la carte pricing
Gather your social media team in a conference room or on a Zoom call and ask, “What can we offer clients?” Write down all the options, which might range from post content creation to social media reputation management that includes responding to reviews.
Attach price points to each à la carte service. Then, start combining the services into various packages. You can total up the cost of every individual service within the package and consider a discount because clients are buying all those services at once. By taking a building-block approach to pricing, you reduce the chance that you’ll offer services or deliverables that aren’t accounted for in pricing.
Create a list of your costs to support the price of packages
You can achieve similar results by listing all the resources you need to complete the work included in a social media package. Account for what people are required and how many hours per week or month they might spend on the efforts.
Add in scheduling, analytics, reporting, and other software tools you might need so you can build the cost of those resources into pricing. Add up costs and determine what type of profit margin you need to arrive at pricing.
Providing flexibility and scalability
Locking yourself and your prospective clients into hard-and-fast pricing structures can make it difficult to scale customer acquisitions and revenue. Clients have different needs, budgets, and preferences. By creating flexible options that support clients at all levels and help them scale, you can be more successful with selling social media management packages.
Start with various service levels
For example, you might want an option that works for a small start-up as well as options for SMBs or larger enterprises. A small local business might only need Facebook and Instagram management with a few posts each a month, but a mid-size company with an aggressive marketing approach might want a constant presence on three or more platforms.
Some services you can vary to create different levels and price points include:
- How many platforms or accounts you manage
- How many posts you create per week or month
- How often or how quickly you respond to or manage comments and messages—or whether you do this for the client at all
- Whether you use custom-made images and video or curate existing content for the client
Create seasonal pricing adjustments
For clients that want more social media marketing leading into holiday seasons or other busy times, offer packages that adjust to content needs throughout the year. For instance, a small accounting office specializing in personal tax returns might want to show up more on Facebook from November to April. But they may not want or be able to pay for that level of social media marketing throughout the entire year.
Support a path for scalability
Create pricing structures that make it easy for clients to scale up as they grow. Whether they want to add a new platform to the mix or they’re launching a secondary brand and need social media support for it, ensure clients can seamlessly upgrade to higher service levels or different packages.
Incorporating client collaboration and support
Your social media marketing package pricing should be based on a holistic understanding of the work you plan to do and what outside tools and support you might need. For example, if you plan to leverage third-party white-label social media management, those costs must be baked into your pricing. You also need to consider all the in-house resources you’re using that aren’t directly related to social media content creation and account management.
Account for client support
First, you may have sales or customer service teams. Consider the cost of acquiring each client and attending to communication and collaboration needs and preferences. That includes time spent on emails, drafting contracts, and having web calls to ensure everyone is on the same page—pretty much any task that falls under categories like account management or customer support.
Include costs for education and training
Depending on your relationship with clients and how you structure your service, you may want to offer training and education—valuable resources that should always be included in your pricing models.
Some efforts to consider when setting social media package pricing include:
- Templates. If you offer templates, checklists, or bundles of ideas and images to help clients post social media content on their own, ensure that’s reflected in your pricing.
- Style guides. Client onboarding can take a lot of work. Your team may need to meet with the client to understand what they want and spend time creating style and brand guides to ensure social media messaging is consistent.
- Platform guidance or training. Some clients may come to you because they have no idea how to get started with a specific social media platform. In this case, your agency might provide training documents or sessions.
- Regular social media education. You’re the expert for your clients. If you’re doing work to remain up-to-date with social media marketing trends, your clients benefit from that work. Consider it when you create pricing.
Some final tips to keep in mind for setting prices
There aren’t one-size-fits-all answers for social media package pricing, but the tips below can help anyone get started:
- Remember that nothing is set in stone. While you should carefully consider pricing for your social media packages, know that you can test markets and make changes later if necessary.
- You don’t have to account for every option in package pricing. If you offer numerous unique services, it can be impossible to create marketable packages that encompass all of them. Leave the services fewer clients might want out of packages and sell them as add-ons instead.
- Support a positive customer experience with pricing. You may be stressed by setting prices in stone, but imagine the experience on your client’s end. They want to know that they can alter their pricing or service levels if their business model or budget needs change.
- Market the benefits of your services. Educate potential clients about the features of your services and what benefits come from them. Leverage case studies and other tools to help clients see how valuable your services are and why the price you set for them is a good deal.
- Stand confidently on your team’s worth. The competitive nature of the internet makes it easy to fall prey to price matching or question the real value of your social media services. Always consider your agency’s track record, the experience of your team, and what you’re able to do for clients on social media and ensure your prices reflect those factors.
Frequently asked questions about social media package pricing
How often should you review social media package pricing?
To ensure you’re competitive within the market and appropriately valuing the experience and skills within your agency, take time to review your prices once or twice a year. This is also a good time to review what services and packages you provide and decide whether you want to add new services into the mix.
What are the most common components of a social media package?
While social media services can range from à la carte options to full-fledge packages, common options include content creation—including text, images, and video—scheduling and managing posts, monitoring and managing comments, overseeing social media advertising, and providing reports and analysis to demonstrate success. Various agencies may target different social media platforms or provide clients with options on which platforms are included in a package.