We are living in a time where social media touches all aspects of everyday life and, because of that, social media marketing plays a key role in the direction of companies ranging from their marketing campaigns to using social media insights for new product development, competitor analysis, understanding industry trends, and the list goes on.
And as part of that journey, from funded startups to Fortune 500s and Global 2000 companies, businesses often hire social media consultants as special operations teams to parachute in, solve complex challenges, and ultimately save time and money while also boosting revenues. But what should you expect to pay for social media consultants?
What are Your Goals?
You must take a step back and ask yourself this: At what level are you looking to compete and based on your goals what type of social media consultant do you really need? For example, a local restaurant chain looking for guidance may find an influential foodie in the area that can execute on goals whereas a global food brand that needs guidance when launching a new product in multiple countries demands a different animal.
Understanding the Pricing Models
Many social media consultants or consulting firms charge in 3 ways: hourly, a retainer that estimates the project taking X hours initially with an hourly rate of Y after that, or on a per-project basis. And it’s important for companies to find the model that works best for them.
When on the hunt for a social media consultant it’s key to think about what’s actually possible – both based on your budget and looking at metrics around social media campaigns of the past – to bring wild visions down to earth. This comes down to strategy, which a consultant can provide, versus execution performed by an internal or third-party team.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, for lower-level social media consultants solving straightforward problems, companies should expect to pay between $100-150 per hour for guidance that’s valuable but not revolutionary.
Taking things one step further, larger organizations (funded startups, public companies, etc.) typically spend between $200-350/hr for seasoned social media consultants that are usually engaged for a few months at minimum.
Moving towards the top social media experts that guide Fortune 500s, serve as social media expert witnesses in court cases and are industry-recognized, companies should expect to spend $400+/hr.
It all comes back to this: If someone has spent many years of research figuring out what works and doesn’t work, for us over 15 years of being intimately involved with social media, what is that expertise worth to you and your company as a whole?