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Businesses of every size know that ignoring social media is detrimental to the bottom line, particularly when 82% of the U.S. population currently uses it. In a constantly changing business environment, social media is an essential tool for building your brand, finding new customers and growing your business’s online reputation.

Haven’t even started with social media? Don’t panic. No matter how adept you are at multitasking and wearing multiple hats, sometimes you simply don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to social media in a way that maximizes the impact for your business. In that case, outsourcing your social media management is often a smart strategy. But how much should it cost?

What does a social media manager do?

Keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social platforms can be a full-time job, but at a bare minimum, small businesses need a social media presence that includes robust profiles populated with complete information, and a regular posting cadence.

Professional social media managers can help you create those all-important business pages and fill them with the vital information, images and news you want to share with followers. They can also help build your follower numbers, and they’ll publish posts on your behalf a certain number of times each month. This could be as few as one post per week; the important thing is to show anyone viewing your profile that it is accurate and active.

What impacts social media costs for small businesses?

The prices included below are just starting points, and your actual costs will vary based on a number of factors:

  • Whether you source talent in-house, use a freelancer, or enlist an agency
  • Current state of your profiles
  • Desired level of customer engagement
  • Manpower and hours required
  • Technology costs
  • Number of active platforms

Basic social media management starts around $300-$500 per month

And we do mean “basic.” For a few hundred dollars per month, your social media management will likely take the form of a single person devoting 1-2 hours per week to these duties, on no more than two platforms. This includes updating profile information, writing and scheduling posts, and responding to customer comments. And depending on how responsive and available you want this individual to be, you may need to factor in a monthly stipend that goes toward their phone or data plan.

Keep in mind, how you source these skills will impact how far this budget will go, which is why $300-$500 is a starting point. If you hire a freelancer, they may charge a higher hourly rate. If you have an hourly employee who would be good at these duties, you can add in the increased hours to your monthly payroll calculations. Social media management at this price point will rely on an individual using the platforms directly—whether that’s you (posting content they have provided you), or an employee you’ve given access to your social media accounts.

More advanced social media management starts at $1,000 to $1,500 per month

As the scope and/or responsibility of your social media management needs grow, so too will your social media costs. Maybe you want to expand from just having a Facebook profile to also launching Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other platforms. Maybe you want to increase the frequency of your posts on your existing platforms, or experiment with Stories, Highlights, Reels and other features of those platforms. Or you want direct messaging on social platforms to serve a greater customer service role. These are just a few examples of scenarios that would prompt a greater investment in your business’s social media presence.

Social media managers at this level can also run promotions for your business. If you’d prefer to focus on Facebook ads, they can help you devise and run campaigns that fit within your budget.

And regardless of the type of social management you opt for, be anything at this pricing level includes regular tracking and reporting. That way, you can easily see what’s working and what may need some tweaking, which in turn generates more value from your investment.

Additional services start around $350 to $400 per month

As with any other marketing for your business, from time to time you’ll want to incorporate add-ons and services that can enhance the reach and impact of your social media marketing footprint. While these will carry an additional price tag, don’t let that stop you from branching out.

ou need additional social media services — Facebook sweepstakes that run on a regular basis, for example, or frequent social ad boosts — ask your social media manager about testing those on a limited, trial basis before making them into recurring monthly expenses. Just make sure that along with planning and execution, the cost of any new tactic includes regular monitoring, tracking and reporting on the impact of those campaigns on your accounts.

Don’t forget reputation management

Every day, potential customers are searching the internet for businesses to meet their needs, and strong online reputation is key to complementing your social media efforts. Responding to feedback left online—positive or negative—shows that you’re listening, and active in the same places these future customers are seeking answers.

Online reviews can even inspire content for future posts on your social media profiles. For instance, you could feature positive reviews from Google in your Facebook or Instagram posts. But if you don’t know a review exists, you can’t share it. As a first step, let us do a free 2-minute scan of all your online reviews—it’s a great place to start.

No matter how you choose to manage your social media, taking the time to maintain this far-reaching marketing tool is crucial for any small business. And with the affordability of outsourcing your social media to a professional manager, there’s no reason your business can’t start being a social (media) butterfly today.

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