Social media marketing management generally costs $2,000 to $10,000 per month for fixed rates, $50 per hour for freelancers, and up to $50,000 for one-time projects, all depending on your business goals. Learn the details that determine pricing in this guide.

Here, you’ll find:

  1. How much to spend on social media management
  2. Social media management pricing models: a breakdown
  3. Services included in social media management pricing
  4. The importance of social media marketing management

We connected with HawkSEM’s Associate Director of Social Media, Magnolia Deuell, for the full scoop on social media marketing pricing

Read on as we dissect different pricing models, average costs for social media marketing services, and expert insights to help you choose the best support for your brand.

How much to spend on social media management

Most businesses allocate between 5%–25% of their overall marketing budget to social media management pricing. But setting a price on your ideal social media marketing package requires considering multiple factors. According to Deuell, figuring out a realistic budget starts with your business goals for sales and revenue:

“For organic, you may have high growth goals for followers, which could mean you need a higher amount of content creation to keep new followers engaged and sharing your content,” highlights Deuell. “For paid, you may have a 3X ROI goal.”

You also want to consider:

  • Industry standards
  • Competition
  • Size and scope of your business
  • Current social media presence
  • Content complexity
  • Paid advertising
  • Agency, in-house, or freelance management
  • Agency experience and reputation

Once you factor in these elements, you’ll naturally come to a price range of what you should spend on your social media marketing services.

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Social media management pricing models: a breakdown

There’s no one-size-fits-all price for social media marketing because there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy.

First, let’s look at the different pricing structures and cost ranges:

  1. Hourly rate: $50—$300+
  2. Monthly retainer: $1,000—$20,000
  3. Project-based: $500—$50,000
  4. Performance-based: Varies
  5. Package-based: $500—$10,000

Hourly rate

Hourly pay is one of the most common pricing models among social media marketing agencies. You simply pay for every hour of labor spent on your social media campaigns.

In theory, it sounds like a nice, straightforward approach. But if more hours means more billing, we can’t help but wonder — where’s the incentive for efficiency?

When you choose a per-hour pricing model, you might invest in potentially unscrupulous companies that focus more on logging hours than actually meeting your marketing goals. 

Many agencies balance efficient service with fair hourly billing. We just want you to be mindful so you can protect your investment.

Typical hourly rates in the current market are:

  • $50-$100 for small businesses and local agencies
  • $100-$200 for mid-level agencies
  • $200-$300+ for larger, specialized enterprises
  • $30-$100 for freelancers or consultants

Monthly retainer

With a monthly retainer, you pay a fixed monthly amount for social media marketing services.

This is a win-win for both you and the agency (or contractor) as it provides them with stable monthly payments and you with a steady, reliable workforce to manage and strategize your social media campaigns.

But retainers make it harder to measure return on investment (ROI), since it can be tough to link specific marketing activities to revenue generation. Plus, it locks you into a long-term commitment, which isn’t always ideal.

Retainer fees range from:

  • $1,000-$3,000 for small, boutique agencies
  • $3,000-$10,000 for mid-sized agencies
  • $10,000-$20,000 for large, specialized agencies
  • $500 to $2,500+ for freelancers or independent contractors


With project-based pricing plans, you pay a fixed fee for your entire social media marketing project. For this type of social media management pricing, you can pay upfront, in installments, or upon receipt of the deliverables.

One perk of project-based pricing is added flexibility to customize projects. Unlike hourly rates and a monthly retainer, project-based pricing reduces the risk of “scope creep,” where a project goes beyond what was agreed upon (resulting in unexpected costs and delays).

The average marketing cost for project-based services are:

    • $500-$2,000 for small projects or campaigns (like setting up social media accounts, basic content creation, or short-term campaigns)
    • $2,000-$10,000 for mid-range projects (like more comprehensive social media strategies, content creation, and planning, or analytics)
    • $10,000 to $50,000 for large, extensive projects (like full-scale social media strategy, long-term content creation, social media advertising, and in-depth analytics)
    • Individual consultants or freelancers can charge between $500 for basic tasks (setting up social media profiles or creating a content calendar) and $5,000 for more involved projects (like developing a full social media strategy or running a multi-platform campaign).


This pricing type is growing increasingly popular in digital marketing, particularly for clients who want a direct correlation between the investment and results. As the name suggests, you pay based on the results of the social media agency’s work.

One obvious benefit to this pricing model is predictability since you only pay when and if the agency achieves your target objectives. Plus, they incentivize success. 

The performance-based pricing model can work in a few different ways:

  • Commission on sales: You pay a percentage from the sales generated through their social media campaigns (this is especially common in ecommerce).
  • Cost per lead (CPL) or acquisition: You pay based on how many leads or new customers you get.
  • Revenue sharing: Both parties agree to share a percentage of the revenue generated from social media marketing activities.
  • Tiered performance goals: Agencies could set multiple performance tiers with different pricing. For instance, a higher tier with better results could mean a higher price tag.


Pricing packages are another popular pricing model. In this scenario, agencies offer either a fixed or customizable range of packages. Each encompasses an array of different services to suit different needs. The best part? They’re usually a better deal than the stand-alone services.

Similar to a retainer fee, payments may be upfront, split periodically, or at the end of the project.

This pricing structure is transparent and convenient. Since you only pay for what you need, you don’t have to worry about funneling your marketing budget into services that don’t apply to you.

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(Image: Adobe)

The catch? Once a project scope is set, any extra work or changes might mean extra charges. This rigidity is a drawback if your campaign shifts over time. That’s why agencies like us account for these pivots in all our pricing. This way, your strategy stays on point, and your budget avoids unexpected hits.

Due to the bespoke nature of social media management packages, prices can vary, depending on how comprehensive the suite of services is.

Here’s an idea of what pricing for social media pricing packages typically look like:

  • $500-$2,000 for basic packages (e.g., content creation, basic engagement strategies, and analytics reporting)
  • $2,000-$5,000 for mid-level packages (e.g., targeted content creation, community management, and ad management)
  • $5,000-$10,000 for premium packages (e.g., full-service offerings like robust content strategies, comprehensive engagement and community management, detailed analytics, and extensive social media advertising)

So, what kind of services do these pricing structures include?

Services included in social media management pricing

As you can see, the scope of work an agency handles can vary quite a bit. It can be as simple as overseeing platforms and maintaining a social media presence. Or, it could be more extensive, with graphic design, copywriting, monthly reporting, and more.

For instance, at HawkSEM, we review, revamp, and run your social media marketing campaigns from start to finish and beyond. That’s right—we monitor results and adjust your strategy as we go to ensure success long after your campaigns end.

This ongoing effort and attention is exactly how we ramp up ROI for our clients, like 686’s year-over-year SEM revenue increase of 562%.

The bottom line: you can outsource as little or as many services as you want, including your:

  1. Agency size and reputation
  2. Marketing strategy
  3. Analytics and reporting
  4. Access to exclusive tools
  5. Content marketing and SEO
  6. Paid campaigns

Agency size and reputation

While technically not an actual service, this does impact social media management pricing.

Think about it: would you rather pay a premium for a brand-new agency or an industry vet with a track record of success?

Larger, more reputable agencies may come with higher prices, but their extensive experience, comprehensive offerings, and exclusive access to advanced tools and resources bring significant value and ROI if you want high-caliber social media marketing services.

Does that mean small boutique agencies fall short? Far from it.

Smaller agencies bring unique advantages, like more personalized attention, dedicated focus, niche expertise, and more cost-effective solutions.

Ultimately, it depends on which agency’s strategy best aligns with your business goals.

Speaking of strategy…

Marketing strategy

Depending on your needs, your agency can oversee, adjust, or completely overhaul your social media marketing strategy. This can include:

  • Reputation management
  • Research (target audience, industry trends, or competitors)
  • Content strategy and creation
  • Platform selection and management
  • Community management
  • Social media advertising
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Social media optimization
  • Crisis management

A well-crafted strategy uses every relevant social media channel to support your brand’s objectives. That takes a blend of creativity, analytical thinking, and continued adjustment to keep up with the dynamics of social media and consumer behavior.

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(Image: Adobe)

The better your social media marketing agency is at creating successful strategies and generating results for its client roster, the further your marketing dollars will go.

Take HawkSEM; we’re all about sinking our teeth into your strategy.

This is why we always start with an in-depth audit of your social media channels. From there, we analyze your current content, engagement, and performance metrics. 

This deep dive helps us identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Finally, we tailor a strategy that vibes perfectly with your audience and achieves important benchmarks on the road to success.

But you can’t do that without having measurable goals in place.

Analytics and reporting

Deuell suggests defining your key performance indicators (KPIs) as early as possible. 

Do you want increased brand awareness? More website traffic? Better leads?

Your KPIs will help you know what to monitor to see what’s working and what isn’t. They also guide your social media marketing manager towards a strategy focused on your business goals. 

Curious about what data’s most important to Deuell? She likes to keep close tabs on:

  • Organic social metrics like sentiment, follower growth, and engagement
  • Paid social metrics like return on ad spend (ROAS), revenue, leads, CPL

Deuell also urges new clients not to get hung up on vanity metrics (like impressions and reach).

“While you can keep an eye on those, they don’t do much in terms of bottom-line ROI and are not key indicators of success in many cases,” she explains.

Fortunately, HawkSEM has a secret weapon for keeping a finger on the pulse of all these metrics.

Access to exclusive tools

Certain agencies offer exclusive access to cutting-edge tech and resources. The more expensive and high-end the resources are, the higher social media marketing pricing will be.

HawkSEM leverages these premium tools to bolster our clients’ strategies and drive that notable 4.5X ROI average we’re known for.

For instance, Deuell uses our proprietary tech to harness data to the max:

“For paid social advertising, ConversionIQ tells a full story of how social drives sales across the funnel,” says Deuell. “You can look at multiple, complex data sources in one view, and break down that data to make quick and easy optimizations as well as business decisions.”

Other resources in our digital marketing arsenal include unlimited access to SEO and keyword tools, project management software, social media management tools, and subscriptions to authoritative content (in our niche and yours) to stay informed of the latest social media trends and industry news.

We know what you’re thinking: why not just use these tools now that you know about them? You absolutely can!

Just keep in mind a realistic portrayal of how much work, expertise, and consistency is required to see results. A qualified and reputable agency has the insider knowledge and field experience to ensure your social marketing budget unleashes the game-changing ROI you’re after.

Content marketing and SEO

Content creation is a cornerstone of your social media strategy. But flashy pics and clever copywriting only go so far. Social media marketing experts know how to create social media content that engages and resonates with your target audience, driving meaningful and lasting interactions.

Want someone to write your posts (formerly called Tweets) on X or schedule posts on LinkedIn? No problem. Social media marketers can create and plan your social media content, too.

However, creativity and organization are just two parts of the formula. You also need the skills and expertise to optimize your social media for search engine optimization (SEO). This involves using keywords and hashtags, as well as understanding the nuances of social media algorithms.

The overarching goal? To amplify your social media presence while making your content entertaining and easily accessible to your target audience. To do that, you want to invest in an agency with the right combination of creative flair, consistency, and social SEO savvy.

Paid campaigns

HubSpot defines paid social media as a way to display advertisements and sponsored marketing messages across social media platforms with targeting criteria to reach your target audience. Paid campaigns analyze audience demographics, interests, behaviors, and even purchasing history to make your ad campaigns more effective. 

Unlike organic content, which relies on natural engagement and reach, paid social media ads guarantee your content is seen by the right people—your people.

Paid social tactics generally bring faster results than organic, but they can quickly eat up ad spend if you’re not careful. 

The best agency leverages the dynamic power of both organic and paid social strategies for maximum impact. That’s precisely how we snagged a 35% jump in clickthrough rates (CTRs) and a 50% higher average order (AOV) for our client ThriftBooks.

The importance of social media marketing management

Social media marketing management covers the planning, content creation, engagement, and progress tracking involved with a brand’s presence on social media networks.

This can include one or a combination of the following tactics:

  • Organic tactics: informative social media posts and video content to build and engage a following on social media pages.
  • Paid social elements: social media ad campaigns to reach and convert a specific target audience.

Deuell says there are two key benefits to hiring experts for your social content strategy:

The first is consistency:

“New business owners have so much on their plate that it’s hard to keep up with a consistent feed, brand voice, and customer communication,” explains Deuell. “The moment one of these pieces falls through, you may lose a potential client/sale.”

The other advantage? Expertise in paid social.

“When spending money on advertising platforms, there’s a huge learning curve to understand what works for your brand,” says Deuell. “Working with an expert can save you time and money.”

Without the proper know-how, your social media marketing efforts won’t pack the punch you hoped for. And those marketing dollars? Down the drain, they go.

Fortunately, you can flip the script with a well-rounded strategy. 

The takeaway

Every brand has its own business goals, marketing budgets, and unique demands. Therefore, social media marketing pricing (and services) are just as dynamic as the brands they serve.

That’s precisely why we curate our social media management services for your business. Deuell elaborates:

“We have clients who come in with an in-house creative team,” says Deuell. “In this case, we work alongside their team to make sure that we provide campaign briefs that allow for the content team to have successful shoots that have outputs that complement our paid strategy, vs. trying to plug a piece of content that was not meant for paid social into our campaign.”

Long story short: Your brand’s needs shape every part of our marketing packages. This individualized approach and our seasoned expertise are the driving force behind our Google Premier Partner status and record-breaking ROI.

Now, it’s your turn to partner with a social media management agency that ticks all the right boxes. We’re ready when you are!

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation