How much to charge for social media management?

A friend who owns a horse-related business asked me to run his social media (basically Facebook I think). He already has it set up and just wants someone to post photos of his work periodically because he is not tech savvy at all and doesn’t want to deal with it. He will send me most of the photos and then I will write a blurb and post it. I do have some ideas for generating original content too. I don’t have any social media management experience but I have done some freelance horse-related writing (for which I charged $25-30/hr).

He insists on paying me but I have no idea what to charge for this. I’m not sure hourly makes sense because some posts might only take a few minutes and I’m not sure I want to do that much bean counting. I also don’t want to charge monthly because I have no idea at this point how much time I’ll be putting in. Should I charge per post? If so, what do you think would be fair? I googled but most answers were either hourly or monthly.

I’m asking here because a few posters have mentioned trading social media management for board/training, plus (ironically) it’s the only social media I really use lol.

will you be responsible for monitoring the page.

Will you deal with questions , cranks or misinformation?

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I agree that an hourly freelance rate makes the most sense. Posting, captioning, and monitoring the site to make sure it’s not hacked/people don’t post spam, fielding queries to him that pop up on Facebook would also fall under the umbrella of your duties, if he doesn’t want to launch a major marketing campaign.

Even if it’s not a big time commitment, you’re still doing a service. I can’t tell you how many equine professionals I’ve tried to contact who don’t check their email, don’t check Facebook comments, and don’t understand that messaging is difficult if you’re not “friends” on Facebook. You do have to check in to FB if you have one, since it seems like the most vulnerable to hacking/offensive comments are the ones that are untouched for long periods of time. Or if the person gets locked out, then it’s very difficult to start anew.

Even if it’s not difficult and for a friend, it’s still work, so charge accordingly. Make sure to keep track of your expenses/payments for tax purposes (being paid electronically is often the easiest way to do this).

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I would do this at an hourly rate with a monthly minimum. I’d guess $30/hour but I haven’t researched it.

You bill $X in advance for the month for general maintenance, monitoring, if he sends you something to post. On the months he has a lot of activity (maybe a horse is for sale and there are lots of messages) then the next invoice will have the ‘overage’ for the prior month, and the flat amount for the next month. repeat.

More advice you didn’t ask for:

Sign up for Square or some service that can send invoices and keep it all professional. It is sooo much harder to remember to pay if it’s just an email with a random title and other discussion in it. Make it the same every month.

Look into some professional liability/errors and omissions insurance. You are starting a business, there are legal and tax implications.

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Most agencies bill by the hour, but they’ll break it down by quarter hour. Maybe you should do that? So if all you did was send an email, post a picture, etc, you only bill for 15 minutes. It’s been a while, but I still think that’s the standard.

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I run a digital marketing agency with a specialization in social media, and we’ve been doing it since 2009. It’s much more labor-intensive than people realize, so don’t under-bid or you’ll start to resent the client.

Also, ALWAYS track time. It can be done very easily with Harvest. We have a simple desktop timer that we turn on whenever we start work on a project and click to turn off when we’re done. The time entries are transmitted automatically to Harvest invoicing, and generating an invoice is just a couple of clicks with all the time entries included.

Tracking time is useful not just for invoicing, but also to see where your time is going and where you might possibly become more efficient. The data is often eye-opening!

Feel free to PM me with any questions.

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I agree with everyone that you need to start as you mean to go on, put in the effort and structure this as a business with all the software now, because there is a possibility your name will get out to others that you do this and you’ll suddenly have a full time workload.

Personally, I’d bill a flat rate per month. Track your time for a few weeks to get an idea of an hourly rate, tack 10 percent on top of that, and then you’re covered for months where you go a bit over. As a former freelancer, I always preferred billing this way and I think my clients did too, as there were never any surprises.

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Just a note to add that even if you do a monthly flat retainer, ALWAYS TRACK TIME. Harvest lets me know when a project is reaching 80% of the monthly retainer, so I can prep the client that certain tasks will be pushed to the following month.

If you don’t track time, you don’t know when you’re doing more hours than the retainer supports.

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I believe I would use a tiered billing rate that is related to the number hits on the site. As activity increases (due to your excellent work) you should be rewarded. Since you are in the initial startup stages be sure to keep all business related costs/income separated from personal. Even at this stage of the business there are beneficial Federal Tax offsets.

My son’s company does create media content in advertising, film, music video and branded content; once your work gets noticed you can get booked out years in advance …this field pays very very good for work that can attract the consumer’s attention.

No way. Social media is so volatile and changes with the whims of the networks’ algorithms, plus “hits” isn’t really an accurate measure of tracking social success.

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I would absolutely not do this. Social stats go up and down from week to week based on factors completely outside your control (current events, a bot purge, algorithm change, etc), and if you expect to be paid more when they go up, you can bet the client will want a reduction when they go down.

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then why even have a “social media” account that is supposed to be attracting clients?