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Social Media Marketing Pricing for 2022

Zara Hanif
April 13, 2022
Marketing

Social Media Marketing Pricing for 2022

The ace in the hole for many small business owners could be social media marketing. You can increase your brand awareness and website traffic all while connecting with consumers. Social channels are some of the most important spaces to be because that’s where consumers spend most of their free time.

How do you get started and where do you even begin? We’re going to explore some of the most asked questions about social media marketing and its costs.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a multi-step practice of communicating with consumers, posting branded content, and advertising on social networks. It requires plenty of research, creativity, content creation, and maintaining an active presence on social media platforms. 

It can be an incredibly expensive endure depending on what your team plans to do. One way to save money is to create your own accounts, graphics, and run them yourself. 

For a professional appearance while saving time you can use ad agencies or freelancers. Agencies or freelancers can handle managing, creating, and promoting your brand for you. Many also provide valuable social media consulting services.

If you’re worried about SMM costs, we’re going to break down the different factors and their own costs that can go into your overall budget. 

How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost?

The answer to this question can appear straightforward, especially when you do a Google search and see a number. The real question is what do you actually need right now and what can you cut out. Your SMM cost can be fairly low or extremely high depending on your needs, so one quick answer can be very misleading.

You may still want to see a range of costs to wrap your head around, but understand this range is based on using services and agencies to manage or create your social media content. These are not the costs if you plan to have your own team for marketing and content creation.

The Content Factory reports that the total average cost of SMM is around $1,000 a month to $20,000 a month. The Content Factory is a popular marketing agency that conducts research. You’ll see their case studies stats quoted in many SMM articles. They offer SEO copywriting, marketing, and Google Analytics reporting services. They have separate services for social networks as well.

The Content Factory also breaks down average monthly costs for individual social media channels as follows:

  • Twitter comes to about $2,000-4,000 per month
  • Facebook comes to about $2,500-9,000 per month
  • Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat are $1,000+ per month

The reality is you can’t know SMM costs without a personalized estimate. You should expect somewhere in the range of thousands of dollars a month in spending for an agency or platform services. The price will fluctuate depending on which social media platforms you need to reach your target audience. 

If you want to figure out your own personal cost and take into account all the moving parts of SMM, some of the servuces you will need include:

  1. Social media accounts with structured branded content
  2. Social media strategy and marketing plan
  3. Ad Management 
  4. SEO Copywriting
  5. Multimedia content videos, images, graphics
  6. Paid advertising budget
  7. Overall social media management of your content and consumer communications
  8. Budget for unexpected expenses i.e. software, memberships, hardware

At the bare minimum, you need an active social media presence with someone monitoring and answering messages or hashtag mentions. You will definitely need SEO-enhanced writing with engaging media, all planned out with your social media marketing strategy. 

You don’t have to hire an agency, or use freelancers for writing and designing if you want to create the content with your own team. If your budget can’t handle paid advertising you can focus on organic traffic generated with SEO best practices. 

We can’t give you the overall cost if you were to choose to create, write, and manage your own content, but it can certainly help you save thousands of dollars a month. 

The next few sections of this article will go over potential costs and ways you can save. 

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Social Media Marketing Agency?

A social media marketing agency can be around a couple thousand to several thousand a month. It depends on which social media platforms you actually need to reach potential customers. Agencies can also price services separately within your monthly bill when it’s a series of services not a subscription.

The average cost is around $4,000 to 7,000 a month. Agencies can still vary around that greatly. 

If you would like to see a list of different agencies you can go here. You will find they handle multiple stages of social media marketing campaigns such as community presence, paid ad campaigns, influencer marketing, and more. 

Small businesses and startups that don’t have teams for digital marketing and monitoring social media networks would benefit from using agencies. Social media marketing services can be very pricey but are worth it if you don’t plan on hiring individual people for graphic design, copywriting, social media management etc. 

If you don’t want to spend thousands a month on projects done by an outsider, a platform might be a better choice. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms will offer you the tools you need to handle your own content marketing.

How Much Do Social Media Marketing Platforms Cost?

There is an influx of social media software platforms that anyone can use for all stages of SMM. There are platforms that help you with monitoring, reach, and conversion analytics. You can use an online tool for social media management, marketing, and publishing. Several platforms offer packages for several services, easily paid with a subscription.

These subscriptions are generally priced monthly and can range from  $0 a month to $800 a month. Most subscriptions are billed annually upfront and limit the number of user seats.

Buffer

Buffer is a powerful platform for social media management. With Buffer, you can schedule posts, track analytics, and grow engagement by tracking customer comments. They also provide tools to help you build mobile-friendly landing pages to attract new consumers. You can use Buffer’s mobile app on iOS and Android.

Their subscriptions offer both yearly and monthly billing. You can choose from a range of plans on your own affordability, and easily grow to be able to add more members of your team. 

Buffer PlansFreeEssentialsTeamAgency
Month to Month Cost$0/monthper social channel, up to three channels$6/month per social channel$12/month
per social channel
$120/month10 social channels additional channels $6/month
Annual Month to Month Cost$0/monthper social channel, up to three channels$5/month per social channel$10/month per social channel$100/month10 social channels additional channels $5/month

The platform does not come with any content creation tools so that kind of creative content falls on you and your team. We go over the content creation tool in a later section. If you need help getting started their blog can help you brainstorm creative ideas. 

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a popular platform and a strong competitor of Buffer. Their mobile app works with both iOS and Android. Hootsuite shares similar features with Buffer including scheduling, engagement, and analytics. Hootsuite also has strong monitoring and advertising resources. They do not offer month-to-month billing. 

Hootsuite PlansProfessionalTeamBusiness
Cost$49/month billed annually$129/month billed annually$739/monthbilled annually
Amount of users 1 user3 users5+ users

In terms of cost, Hootsuite is definitely more expensive. They do a free version that they don’t include with their regular pricing. The free version allows one use, 2 social accounts, and 5 scheduled posts. It does not come with any reporting or functionality to raise brand awareness.

Sprout Social 

Sprout Social like Hootsuite and Buffer is available on iOS and Android mobile devices. They have schedules, brand engagement, and analytics as well. Sprout also has resources to amplify the reach of your social media posts as well. They have social amplification help like paid publishing resources, and employee advocacy to raise brand awareness.  

Similar to Hootsuite, they are on the more expensive side. Their platform does have robust resources like case studies, webinars, templates, and guides. If their plans do fit in your budget, they are a strong choice for growth. They do not offer any free versions.

Sprout Social PlansStandardProfessionalAdvanced
Month to Month Cost$89 per user/month (billed annually)$149 per user/month (billed annually)$249 per user/month (billed annually)
Annual Month to Month Cost $99 month-to-month$169 month-to-month$279 month-to-month

If you’re looking for more analytics tools to measure outreach and growth we have a list of relevant software here. We also have lists for more social media management and publishing tools. 

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Graphic Designer?

When it comes to hiring a designer for a project it can range from $15 to $40 per hour. If you were paying per piece the cost can vary greatly. We recommend not asking for any high experience levels for anything less than $20. $15 is a beginner pay rate. 

Graphic designers who are just starting out are nothing to sneeze at. Design degrees are very intensive and Adobe products are the number one standard. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what you want, your brand colors, and your overall brand design kit. This will make their job easier and help them complete it faster if you can communicate effectively.

Upwork is also a very popular place to find creatives. They go over common rates here

How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Seo Copywriter?

The pricing could be $3 per page or .05 cents per word. Hourly rates can be around $19-$50. The types of rates and their ranges vary quite a bit.

It’s very common in the industry to pay cents per word. Even though it’s a common type of freelance writer rate, it’s also a common irritation for writers. You should expect beginners if you are paying less than $100 per project. 

When it comes to SEO experienced writers, you’re going to want to pay for their experience, and a couple cents per word is not enticing. 

You can see more copywriting rates here on Upwork.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Social Media Manager?

The cost of an SMM freelancer or full-time manager would be from $15 to $50 an hour. This varies greatly based on experience. If you hire per project it can be between hundreds to thousands.

Hiring a freelancer skilled in social media marketing and management can be a budget saver or the same exact cost of using an agency. It’s very important to understand that the more experience you ask for the higher the rate should be. Social media freelancers can be skilled in a number of different technical and analytical talents. 

For more experience rates you can go here. Above we have Upwork lists of different rates which you can find here

The Cost of Social Media Content Creation Tools

If you can create your own social media content you can save insane amounts of money. You would save hundreds of dollars on freelancers, thousands of dollars on agencies, and pricey software subscriptions(cough, Adobe, cough). 

It’s important you still research colors, and marketing strategies, and think creatively about your graphics. The money you save can certainly be spread out on design choices. Many of these tools available offer free plans and have very impressive capabilities.

Canva

Canva is one of the most popular and intuitive graphic design tools available. With Canva you have access to stock photos, stock footage, illustrations, and templates. You can choose to fill out a template or you can design from the ground up. 

In Canva you can manipulate already existing elements to create original content. It’s not the same as digital art software like Adobe Illustrator where you draw everything from scratch. Canva is beginner-friendly and great for those that don’t have any drawing skills.

Whether or not you choose their affordable paid plans, their free version has vast selections allowed and no limits on the number of designs you can create. 

Canva PlansFreeProEnterprise
Cost$0$12.99 billed monthly up to 5 users
$199.99 billed yearly
$30.00 per user, requires sales to buy

The main difference between plans is storage and premium content. The Free version had 5GB storage which is plenty if team members have individual accounts (You can also download and delete). Some content is limited with the Canva watermark. There is still thousands of free content and attractive elements. The premium content for Pro tends to be better for product design mock ups and overall larger selection. 

If you’re considering the Pro plan, it’s the best choice if you create content almost 24/7. If you need to make designs maybe once or twice a week you should start with Free. In general Pro and Enterprise are ideal if you have multiple platforms and need team members to access the same account. 

Below is a tutorial to show you how to manipulate elements in Canva. You’ll notice it’s a drag and drop interface that takes very few clicks.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is another software platform like Canva. You can create content by manipulating pre-existing elements. The difference is that PicMonkey has more detailed photo editing options, textures, and different designs. Canva has a very distinct art style to their illustrations and elements whereas PicMonkey is slightly more generic. 

PicMonkey certainly costs more than Canva but it makes sense. The level of photo editing is higher and the stock of photos comes right from ShutterStock, their parent company. 

PicMonkey PlansBasicProBusiness
Cost$72.00 Billed annually
or $7.99 billed monthly
$120.00 Billed annually
or $12.99 billed monthly
$228.00 Billed annually or
$23.00 billed monthly

The end result content that you can create with PicMonkey can be exactly the same as what you can do with Canva so we wouldn’t say either is inherently better. 

You should choose PicMonkey if your company expects to use mainly photographs in their content, and wants customization options that don’t require the same skills you’d need with PhotoShop or Lightroom. 

For an overview of different tools and functions in PicMonkey, see the video below.

VistaCreate

VistaCreate (formerly Crello) is another graphics platform. They have a more extensive free version than Canva with 10GB storage and transparent backgrounds. Their UI is very similar to Canva’s and they have all the same capabilities. 

The difference you would notice is art and design styles.VistaCreate also has more creative font options. overall, you can create the exact same content as you can with Canva. It may just come down to small preferences. 

VistaCreate PlansStarterPro
Cost$0/mo$10.00/mo yearly $13.00/mo monthly

The Pro plan is a team account with unlimited storage and access to all photos and graphics. This plan would be best for busy creative teams that expect to take advantage of that unlimited cloud storage. 

For a closer look at VistaCreate, see the tutorial of tools below. 

For more software like these ones, you can check out our graphics software and desktop publishing software.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Social Media Marketing Ad?

When it comes to ad spend, you can expect to spend fast in amounts you may not have anticipated. 

Most social media networks use a bidding strategy/auction system where your ads fight for attention with competitors. When your ad is seen, you spend depending on whether it’s clicked on. Those are pay-per-click PPC ads. You will have a daily budget that caps your ad campaign at certain amounts, but you can still go over your budget.

Most social ad systems will go over daily budgets because of competitor traffic, and the fact the daily budget is really an estimate. Facebook provides a deeper explanation of what daily budgets actually are. They explain you can overspend up to 7x your daily budget. This is why it’s very important to read the fine print of every social media ad manager.

Luckily most services will have a campaign spending limit, and maximum account spending limit. This way you can try to control your spending, but if you find your ads are reaching enough people you may need to increase your limits. 

Facebook by far is the leading social media platform in the world. This makes their ad campaigns the most effective and valuable. On top of that, they’re pricing is fairly easy to comprehend as well. Anyone can learn to use them at affordable rates.

Not all companies are best suited to advertising on Facebook, but they’re certainly worth considering first. Other sites like Instagram can allow you to turn posts into ads and promote them. This can sometimes save money compared to other setups. 

Facebook AdsYouTube AdsLinkedIn Ads Instagram AdsTwitter Ads
Recommended Minimum
Budget $1
Recommended Minimum
Budget$10 to $50
Required
Minimum Budget
$100 inactive (resets to $10 daily when active)
Recommended Minimum
Budget$5
No Minimum

As you can see in the table we list the absolute minimum budgets for the most popular platforms. This will help you decide where to experiment first. Spending on Instagram, in general, can be less than on Facebook and Twitter, which are more popular platforms. 

For YouTube, you want to have higher-quality ads. This is because most YouTube ads are commercials but there are masthead ads as well. To see the different types of YouTube ads go here. In general, the appearance of your YouTube ad should wow, so lighting and resolution matter. 

LinkedIn is a very niche, professional community that is slightly less suited for retail, local, or B2C campaigns. Software companies, resume companies, and temp agencies might consider them because their services may entice other professionals. The biggest companies that advertise on LinkedIn are AirBnB, Grammarly, and Salesforce. 

How Much Are Social Media Marketing Budgets?

As we covered in the beginning, social media marketing costs can be from $1,000 to $20,000 a month. This means your marketing budget will need to factor in all those individual costs that add up. 

One way to put together your budget is to use a template and grow from there. 

FREE Social Media Marketing Budget Templates 

The company HubSpot is a marketing giant, and they have countless free resources. In this article, they provide you with advice on how to manage your budget and give you a free planner template. 

Another great free resource is offered by the workflow management company Smartsheet. They have numerous different templates available from SMM to Events or PR. Their budgets are generally made in Microsoft Excel. You can go here to easily download them.

Hootsuite blog article on the components of an SMM budget is great for step-by-step help while constructing your own. You can find that information here.

More Resources 

We hope this information helped. If you want more stats on SMM costs you can go here. HubSpot’s blog is also a strong force in the marketing world and you will find quite a bit of information help there

  • List of social media management tools

These are great for

  • List of social media analytics tools

This software is for

  • List of social media publishing tools

With these tools

  • List of social media marketing tools
  • List of social media customer service tools
  • List of audience to intelligence tools
  • List of mobile advertising tools
  • List of customer relationship management tools

If you have used any of the software or platforms discussed here, please leave a review to help other buyers make informed decisions.

Key Terms and Concepts

Below we provided explanations of common terms and concepts around SM marketing. If you’re new to the practice give these a quick look and make sure to check out our software lists.

Search Engine Optimization SEO

SEO is a series of practices with the goal of making your website visible to search engines and as a result, potential customers. Using SEO so search engines find your content allows you to generate organic traffic. 

Web Crawlers

Web crawlers or spiders are algorithms used by Google, Bing, and other search engines to read your site and pull relevant data for queries. You want your website to be optimized for those crawlers so they pull your content.

Organic Traffic and Paid Traffic

Organic traffic is unpaid traffic that comes naturally or from carefully planned SEO content. Organic traffic is integral to any marketing budget. Paid traffic is ads you’ve paid for on social networks, influencer platforms, etc. 

PPC, CPC, CPM

Pay-per-click advertising refers to paid ads campaigns where you are only charged when someone clicks on your advertisement. Cost-per-click is the measurement of the cost of each click. Go here for a more in-depth explanation.

Cost per million impressions or cost per millie is the cost per 1,000 impressions. It’s used in digital marketing to measure the amount spent on the number of people that see your ad. See a Facebook breakdown of CPM for more information.

Target Audience, Target Demographic

 Your target demographic is the group of people most likely to be potential customers for your product or service. They can be grouped by age, race, and gender. They can also be more niche such as education level, region, occupation, and political preference. 

One very niche category can be pregnant, middle-class, educated working women, who might buy exclusive, high-end cribs and baby clothes. Another could be millennial gamers that are especially nostalgic towards 90s style games. Demographics can get incredibly detailed. 

About the Author

Zara Hanif
Zara is a Research Content Writer/Editor for TrustRadius. She has an English BA and Web Design and Development AS. She enjoys the creativity and freedom of the tech world. In her free time she loves to create art, make jewelry, and work on sci-fi stories

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