Know your value! I've been through it myself. For New Social Media Managers starting out in the industry it can be difficult to work out how to price your services. OK, the industry isn't as established as SEO yet, but how much are companies willing to pay for Search Engine Optimisation? Some of the SEO companies I work with won't even look at a new client unless they have a minimum of 3 grand. Yet, Social Media Managers are charging on average 75% less for their services in comparison to the SEO costs for the SAME CLIENT!
But the tables are turning in 2012...
Now is the time for Social Media Agencies and Freelance SM Managers. We are about to be promoted to a higher rank in the hierarchy of a company's digital priorities. So, how much can we charge for our services, and how can we structure the pricing? Here are some suggestions that have worked for me in my own Social Media Agency:
1. Old School Pricing Packages
Simply by offering nicely packed services in "Basic", "Standard" and "Premium" Packages makes it easy for the less decisive client but the main advantage is that you keep your service fixed to a particular set of activities. In my early days in Social Media Management I found my clients would often contact me with requests for extra things like "we have 2 new sales people, can you set them up on Linkedin" etc. I would do it to keep the client happy. With a package system you can say "No problem, Mr Customer, glad you have decided to move up to the Premium Package". Your time is valuable, don't give it away cheaply.
2. "Get The Ball Rolling" Packages
This is a favourite of the businesses that are brand new to Social Media. Offer to set up the company on Social Media platforms, manage them for a period ( 3 months, for example), then hand over the reigns and train the company's staff. I have to say that 4 out of 5 will always ask to hire you again for extra consultancy work as Social Media becomes more complex.
3. Bespoke Packages
A great proportion of clients want bespoke services. Some simply won't stick to your package options (if that's the way you decide to go) as much as you would like them to, The best way of approaching this is to get as much information as you can from the business that relates to achieving their business goals, i.e., "we don't need to know the company's net profits, but we do need to know who their audience is, who their xompetition is, what the objectives are, etc.
Once you have the right info, you can knock their socks off with a killer proposal and really build some value into it. Clients like having something that is unique to them but guess what: They have to pay for the privilege.
4. Offer Bolt On Services
Ok, so what is a "Bolt On"? A Bolt On is an extra service that a client can add to their campaign. For example, I had a retail client who was happily running with a mid-range package from me. When I told him about the option of a Facebook Store so his customers could by merchandise from him without leaving Facebook, I thought he was going to explode! "I Want It" I was told, so I offered him the opportunity to Bolt On the Fb Store Service for a flat fee. He was so pleased I ended up with a number of other retailers on the same block contacting me after he bragged about his Facebook Store.
For Social Media Management, my agency charges between $500 - $2000 per month, per client and $100 per hour for Social Media Consultancy. It's up to you what you would like to charge, but I hope the above information has been some help in placing value on your service.