Let’s have a frank talk about the cost of a social media manager.

The cost of a social media manager sometimes triggers sticker shock in people. But in order to evaluate cost, of any type, you need context. I talked about what a social media manager should cost and my experience of only making $9 and hour previously. Here’s a higher-level update.

In order to evaluate cost, you need the proper context. Click To Tweet

Let’s do some math.

Before we get to my pricing or any other agency’s pricing, let’s talk about hiring a Marketing Manager.

According to Salary.com, the median salary for a Marketing Manager in the US is $96,000 and Glassdoor puts it at $88,000 for Los Angeles, and US News reports it to be $128,000 (I’ve rounded the numbers).

An in-house social media manager’s range is much lower, which is to be expected.

“For social media manager salaries, Glassdoor’s national average was $51,613, while Indeed’s was $61,000. For a final source, we checked PayScale, which showed a median salary of $45,260.” Sprout Social 

Buffer is one of the remote workforces that is completely transparent with their salaries. Happiness Hero average around $70,000.

If you were an employer, you’d have to add at least 20% to those salaries to account for labor burden — maybe even 50% if you pay for health insurance and things like 401(k), etc.. Let’s take the BLS number of 30% employee burden.

“Overall, compensation costs among private industry employers in the United States averaged $33.26 per hour worked in June 2017. Wages and salaries, at $23.15 per hour, accounted for 69.6 percent of these costs, while benefits, at $10.11, made up the remaining 30.4 percent.”Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Here are some charts I created for the visual folks.

Marketing Manager Salary Context
Marketing Manager Salary Context
Breakdown of Salary by Resource - Annually, Weekly, Hourly, with and without burden.
Breakdown of Salary by Resource – Annually, Weekly, Hourly, with and without burden.

Shifting the Labor Burden

Labor burden is a problem for companies. I get it. I spent a good time in office management and accounting. I completely understand the cost of an employee.

One of the benefits of outsourcing to a freelancer (1099 contractor) is shifting that labor burden from your company to theirs.

Freelancers shift the labor burden from your company to themselves. Click To Tweet

Cost from a Freelancer’s Perspective

Let’s take a small diversion into what it means to be a freelancer. They take the burden of self-employment tax (20%) in addition to their own costs (expenses) which include health insurance, office equipment, utilities (like internet), office lease or co-working expenses, and more.

To my freelancer and small agency friends, I take a short diversion.

Freelancers should understand cost before they decide their rates. Click To Tweet

In this presentation by Samantha Zehngut, she gives a compelling example. What do you think you really make when you charge $100/hour? Would you be surprised that it’s only $16?

How much do you really make when you charge $100 an hour?
How much do you really make when you charge $100 an hour?

Is $20 an hour $20 an hour is $20 an hour?

The short answer is no.

You have options. Sure. You can outsource outside of the country. That is your prerogative as a business owner. Maybe some things can be automated, some outsourced in another country to help their economy, and some in-sourced.

It’s good to have options. As a business owner, you have your own budgets to reconcile with your goals.

There are options and tools. If you’re willing to bring social media in-house, you should. That’s the option that many of my colleagues recommend including Robert Nissembaum of Tactical Social Media. It’s your brand and your voice. You know it best.

“As a small business owner you ARE the face of your business. The more you are personal and the more of yourself you bring into your content, the more opportunity you provide for others to connect. The more opportunity you have to create, develop and grow relationships. The more opportunity to develop a friendship.” Tactical Social Media

So, how do you evaluate a Social Media Freelancer?

Cost is good but it’s not everything. Look at their reputation. Look at their Twitter profile. Are they full of promises but can’t produce results? No one believes in first-click leads, but we still want results.

The people I respect produce results. You should want that, too.

Get to the Point, Bridget. Why are you $1,000 a month?

The short answer is I’m worth it. The long answer is that I know what my colleagues and agencies are charging and I’m still providing a great deal. Many of my peers would ask me to raise my prices.

My Twitter Pro Package is currently priced at $1,000 a month. I know, as a person who believes passionately in accurately representing a brand that I spend a minimum of 28 hours a month on each client’s Twitter account. Though I don’t charge hourly, let’s use that as a basis for comparison and context.

By my calculations, I’m a bit more expensive than a Happiness Hero at Buffer but still less expensive than an in-house Marketing Manager at the low salary spectrum — without taking into account the labor burden.

So, what looks like a good deal to you?

My Twitter Pro Package is a great deal!
My Twitter Pro Package is a great deal!
What looks like a good deal to you?
What looks like a good deal to you?

Let's chat!

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