| Jul 24, 2023 | | 14 min read

Creating an irresistible social media proposal: 10 essential elements, key tips, and common mistakes to avoid


Nearly two-thirds of internet users say they discover and learn more about brands and their products thanks to social media (Global Web Index). That creates an incredible landscape where startups and established businesses alike can connect with and eventually convert consumers. But what are these companies looking for in a social media agency and how can you convince them your team is the best bet?

Social media is an important communication channel. Ensure you create content that connects with your audience by downloading our free “White-label social media checklist” now.

Find out how to write a social media proposal that truly sings, and you’ll have yet another social media marketing tool that’ll help your agency stand out from the crowd and showcase your skills and expertise when it matters most.

10 essential components of a social media proposal

Outline your social media marketing proposal using this list of common elements. Each component will help you organize your ideas and create a pitch that showcases your team and makes sense to clients.

1. Executive summary

Your proposal will often be your first introduction to the client. Someone on the team may have caught a glimpse of your background while perusing your website, but your proposal is what will get passed around from decision-making to decision-maker. Include a concise overview of your proposal that includes:

  • A brief introduction to your agency
  • A quick rundown of the client’s objectives
  • A summary of your proposed social media strategy

2. Client background and objectives

This step is a chance to demonstrate your understanding of the client’s background, their industry, their target audience, and specific social media objectives they’ve listed as their primary goals. Your aim here is to prove that you took the client’s specific needs into account as you created your proposal. This isn’t a templated plan or the same approach you used for every other client, but rather a bespoke blueprint.

List out each objective as a separate point, as you may want to address the tactics and metrics for each objective separately later as well.

Also note that if you’re responding to a request for proposal (RFP) you should be springboarding off the issues and objectives listed by the clients themselves.

3. Proposed social media strategy

Time to go into detail about your proposed social media strategy. This is no longer an overview, but a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of your how, where, when, and why.

At the very least, this section of the proposal should describe:

  • The platforms you plan to use
  • Which content themes you consider most important
  • How often you’ll post
  • What tactics you’ll use to increase engagement
  • Which metrics you’ll use and how you’ll monitor them


Every item on the list should be explained and related back to the client’s objectives as you understood and discussed them in the point above.

4. Content creation and management

Social media content creation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The quality, format, and theme of the content shared on clients’ social media channels will affect everything from their reach to their Adjacent services might also include online reputations. Take this moment to explain your process for creating and curating content.

  • How do you decide what’s relevant?
  • Do you use content calendars?
  • Who’s responsible for visual design?
  • Are your copywriters in-house or freelance, and what’s their background/expertise?
  • What’s your approach to SEO?


You’ll also need to suggest a workflow for deliverables. It’s important to know what the turnaround process might look like from ideation through publishing, and who must sign off on which steps to keep the flow going.

5. Audience targeting and community management

Businesses can’t appeal to everyone on social media, nor should they try. Your social media proposal should explain how you’ll pinpoint the client’s ideal audience and then cater to that specific demographic. For businesses with more than one brick-and-mortar store, discuss how social media management for multi-location businesses differs from one-off stores and what you’ll do to accommodate those differing needs.

Include strategies for community management as well. Studies show that a well-run online community can help organizations improve engagement by as much as 21 percent (Higher Logic). Explain how you’ll respond to comments and messages and interact with followers to create that sense of community, building brand loyalty in the process.

6. Advertising and promotion

Not all proposals will include social media ad support and promotions, but if that’s in your wheelhouse, it should be outlined during your presentation. Touch on topics like how you design ad campaigns, how you allocate budget, and what outcomes the client might expect once the campaign has run its course.

7. Performance measurement and reporting

The only way to accurately gauge the success of a social media campaign is to look at key performance indicators (KPI), such as reach, audience engagement, lead generation, and conversion rates. Let clients know how you’ll be measuring those KPIs and how often you’ll share data.

If you’re considering reselling social media management services offered by a third-party provider, talk with your liaison there about what reports they can forward to you or if you’ll have independent, on-demand access to metrics.

8. Competitor analysis

Look at potential clients’ competitors and analyze their social media presence and strategies to see what’s winning and what could be improved upon. Including this in your proposal shows that you’ve done the legwork to familiarize yourself with the target industry and brainstorm ways to make your mark.

This is also your opportunity to prove how you’ll help your client stand out. They may want what their competitors already have in terms of revenue or attention. Or they could be leading the pack as is and just want to stay there. Either way, you can’t create a social media strategy without addressing your client’s position relative to the rest of their industry.

9. Project timeline

Part of the SMART approach to goal setting is providing a timeline for campaigns. Consider every stage, from initial setup to final deliverables, with flexibility built in to adapt to consumer demand or shifting objectives as needed.

Add in milestones with clearly defined deliverables attached to keep everyone on pace for a successful outcome.

10. Pricing and deliverables

You’ll win major trust points if you’re transparent about pricing from the get-go. Forget hidden fees and exclusions tucked into the fine print. Break down all your costs, including add-ons and value-added services like content creation and odd spend, and disclose “what if” scenario fees if applicable.

10 common mistakes to avoid when creating a social media proposal

The second part of learning how to write a social media proposal is to understand what not to do. These mistakes might not ruin your pitch, but they could make it a lot harder to establish a relationship and score a deal.

1. Lack of research

Clients can tell whether you’ve done your research or if you’ve come into the initial meeting unprepared. Generic proposals are ineffective, so take the time to gather information through social listening, competitor research, and even a simple client onboarding questionnaire.

2. Vague objectives

The “S” in the SMART goal approach we mentioned earlier stands for Specific. Clearly outline all objectives and show how they’re aligned with the client’s desired outcome.

3. Unrealistic expectations

It’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver than it is to make promises you can’t possibly keep. Failing to hit lofty goals can harm your credibility. Create realistic goals based on the client’s budget and timeline and explain how those elements tie together — if the client decreases their budget or timeline, the goal must be fine-tuned to match.

4. Generic approach

No social media marketing proposal is one-size-fits-all, so clients won’t be impressed with a cookie-cutter pitch. Make clear references to project-specific research and client data throughout the proposal as period reminders that you’ve put in the effort to understand their business and pain points and create a plan to match.

5. Neglecting competitor analysis

Social media reach and engagement can never be solely about the client. The digital landscape is a competitive one — there’s no shortage of competition, and how that competition operates, the wins they score, the failures they succumb to, those are all incredibly important considerations.

Use competitor analysis to inform your proposal and craft packages that will help differentiate your clients’ feeds from what’s already out there.

6. Inadequate budget breakdown

Simply providing a lump sum estimate of what your total package will cost isn’t enough. It can be difficult for laypeople to understand where all the money goes. What exactly are they paying for? Eliminate confusion and skepticism by outlining your pricing structure clearly, with line items for each aspect of the strategy, such as content creation, advertising, and other key services.

7. Ignoring social media trends and best practices

Trends in the food world might not be the best way to build a menu (that charcoal ice cream fad fizzled out remarkably quickly). But social media trends hit differently. Piggybacking on trending content types and basing posts off best practices and platform-specific strategies helps you avoid coming off as stale and out of touch.

8. Lack of clear metrics

The only way you can accurately evaluate how your social media strategy is performing is to establish key performance indicators prior to launch and regularly check on those metrics throughout the life of the campaign. Failure to do so makes it difficult if not impossible to measure success.

Your proposal should include the specific KPIs you intend to monitor and a timeline for when you’ll be reporting metrics to the client.

9. Poor design and formatting

A study looking at the design and information factors integral to creating online health sites found that first impressions are 94% design related (CXL). How your social media proposal looks could heavily influence how prospects feel about hiring you, even before you explain your strategy.

Create a proposal that's visually appealing, easy to read, and well-organized to put your most professional foot forward.

10. Inadequate proof of expertise

Even if a prospect loves your proposal, they still want to know you have the experience to execute that plan. Not showcasing your background and your agency’s overall expertise can make it challenging for business owners to put their faith in your team.

Go beyond a resume and include credibility-boosting documentation like case studies, testimonials, and examples of previous successful social media campaigns.

10 tips for presenting your social media proposal to clients

You’ve put weeks of effort into crafting a social media proposal you think will resonate with your latest prospect. But how will you showcase all that effort to maximum effect?

1. Understand your audience

In much the same way that your actual proposal should be tailored to each potential client, how you present that proposal should be as equally thoughtful and customized. Build and refine your proposal according to:

  • The client’s needs. Sometimes the person receiving the proposal on the client’s end still has to show other people your pitch. They may need a digital file to pass along to investors or a stack of printouts to lay out on their conference table. They may ask for a projected presentation you refer to live, or they may want a completely verbal presentation with some handouts for visual support. Catering to those needs now shows you’ll likely be just as adaptable throughout the rest of the journey.
  • The client’s preferences. Adapt the language, tone, and content in your proposal to mimic the clients’ preferred style and formatting. If they don’t use the Oxford comma, you shouldn’t either. You can even tweak your color scheme to reflect the prospect’s banding.
  • How familiar the client is with social media. Format your proposal and explanations contained within to match up with the client’s knowledge level. Avoid industry lingo that might go over their heads and make them uncomfortable and include visual representations to accompany confusing text descriptions if you think it’ll help.

2. Start with a summary

Kick off your social media marketing proposal with a brief synopsis of the key points you’ll be covering and how you think your plan will benefit the reader’s company. The idea is to capture their attention from the get-go, providing a teaser of what’s to come without hitting them over the head with too many details right off the bat.

3. Highlight the problem

Articulate the challenges the client is facing as well as the opportunities you see, both of which should be the main inspiration of your entire proposal. For each point, explain how you plan on addressing obstacles and leveraging gaps in the market and how your approach aligns with the client’s goals.

4. Showcase your expertise

We’ve already hit on the importance of shining a spotlight on your expertise and the past successes of your team, but how you present that in your proposal matters, too. Case studies, testimonials, and excerpts from review sites offer valuable social proof, but expertise goes beyond academics and a litany of awards, too.

Sharing creative social media content ideas — just a taste of what’s to come — may make it easier for prospective clients to see your vision. Or you might share some of your favorite social media management tips and use screenshots or KPIs from past campaigns as proof of concept.

5. Present a clear strategy

Now’s the time to outline your social media strategy from start to finish, explaining each step and concept as clearly and concisely as possible. It’s not necessary to do a deep dive into every aspect, but you do want to avoid generalizations and offer specific insight into things like:

  • The tactics you’ll use to generate results
  • Which platforms you’ll target and why
  • The content types you think best align with the client’s goals


Again, pair text-based explanations with visuals to illustrate your ideas and make them pop.

6. Address ROI and how you measure success

Clients want to know that they’ll get a decent return on their investment (ROI), but they may not know what good ROI amounts to in the social media management world. Explaining that the industry standard is a 3:1 return (making $3 for every $1 spent) is a solid starting point, but that number differs depending on things like the client’s industry and competition (Neal Schaffer).

Share how you’ll track ROI, which metrics you’ll monitor over the life of the campaign and include examples of progress and performance reports to allow prospects to get a feel for the process.

7. Anticipate and address concerns

Look at your proposal from your client’s POV and try to anticipate the questions or concerns they might have. If your budget is on the high side, be proactive and explain where the extra money is going. If some of your ideas seem risky, explain the thought process behind them and why the risk is worth the probable reward. If your client is growth-minded, show how your social strategy will help them scale — or how it can be scaled alongside the company’s impending expansion.

8. Provide a clear pricing structure

Breakdown all your pricing, but attach each cost to an explanation of what it’s for and how it impacts ROI. For instance, you may be charging $1500/month for copywriting. Detail what’s included for that $1500 (e.g., copywriting for 45 Facebook posts and four ad concepts as well as associated editing) and how it delivers value (experts say daily Facebook posting can grow followers 4x faster than just posting once per week) (Hootsuite).

9. Offer customization and flexibility

Your social media proposal should already be tailored to the client’s specific needs and objectives, but you can still highlight areas that can be dialed in even further. Mention how you might accommodate your prospect’s preferences, such as changing up your language in response to their decision to relax their branding over the next year.

Adaptability is a sought-after trait, and demonstrating agility and flexibility on the fly could easily tip the scales in your favor when the client’s reviewing your proposal in private later.

10. Leave room for discussion

Build in time to entertain questions and discuss the client’s thoughts during and immediately following your presentation. If the room seems quiet, ask your own questions to encourage input and break the ice, which may make participants feel more open to share their concerns.

Provide answers where you can and promise to follow-up later in instances where you might need to do additional research or if you’d rather provide a detailed, stat-backed explanation in a day or two. It’s better to take your time and be confident in your response versus just guessing.

Frequently asked questions

How do I make my social media proposal stand out?

While you might kick-start ideation by using a social media marketing template, ideally, your proposal will be tailored to each unique prospect. That alone will help your proposal stand out, but echoing your client’s branding, balancing aesthetics and quality content, and using both text explanations and visual components will help generate interest as well.

What metrics should I include in my social media proposal?

The metrics you include in each social media proposal will depend on the strategy you’ve chosen, your client’s industry, and the objectives of the campaign. Start with key metrics like measuring reach, impressions, engagement, audience growth rate, and the number of leads generated. Then add in specific KPIs that are most relevant to the proposal at hand. Whether you’re promoting in-house offerings or looking to resell social media services, including the right metrics will help legitimize your pitch.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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