Social media management costs for businesses in 2022

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Written by Aubree Smith

Published on August 25, 2022

Reading time 6 minutes

Investing in social media management increases your brand’s awareness, generates leads, drives traffic to your site and boosts community engagement. While that sounds great to executives and stakeholders, they may not understand how the costs associated with social media translate to business objectives.

If you need help getting buy-in for your social strategy and building your budget, this social media management costs guide will help you get started.

We’ll walk you through what is normally included in the cost of social media management, how the cost of agencies compares to freelancers and the average amount a business should spend. Let’s dive in.

Social media management costs overall

First, we need to be clear. There is no one-size-fits-all social media management cost. Brands will spend differently depending on their unique goals.

However, based on average costs, we determined a comprehensive social media management program is roughly $12,300 per month. That number includes all costs related to content creation, advertising campaigns and social media management software.

  • Content creation: $5,250 per month
  • Social advertising: $5,000 per month
  • Platform management: $2,050 per month
  • Total: $12,300 per month

Here’s a breakdown of how we calculated this figure.

Launching a social channel and creating content

Although the cost of launching a social channel is technically free, running the profile and creating a content calendar costs a brand anywhere from $500 to $10,000 per month.

The estimated cost depends on factors like talent sourcing. Do you use in-house talent or outsource content creation? For example, at Sprout, our content and social management is driven by our internal team members, but we contract content creation, too.

Here are average rates for both:

Graph from Sprout Social's Creator Economy report. In the graph, the cost of working with creators on different social media platforms is explained. The costs are also broken down by post type.

The cost is also influenced by which channels you use and how often you post each month. For example, you will invest more resources into video content for platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

Ad campaigns

To run a successful platform-specific advertising campaign, you should plan to invest at least $5,000 per month, according to Sprout’s Manager of Digital Marketing, Maggie Anderson. She points out that often the cost can be much higher, so you should consider this number a starting point.

Anderson explains, “Before finalizing your social ad campaign budget, pinpoint your goal, campaign duration and audience. These factors will help you choose targeting strategies and platforms that will work best for your campaign—which ultimately determines your budget.”

A screenshot of Sprout Social's Paid Performance Report. The report illustrates key performance indicators of an example ad campaign, including impressions, engagements, clicks and conversions.

As you incorporate more platforms and run longer campaigns, expect the overall expense to increase.

Your campaign metrics will reveal ways you may need to optimize your strategy to reach your desired goals, so leave room in your ad budget for flexibility.

Platform management

Whether you manage multiple platforms through a social media management tool, an agency partner or both, you will pay around $100-$4,000 per month.

A screenshot of Sprout Social's Smart Inbox, an inbox within the platform that consolidates all incoming messages and mentions into one place.

The price is influenced by the number of profiles you manage, the volume of inbound messages and mentions you receive, the size of your community and the features you use.

Continue reading to learn more about the costs of working with a social media management agency and using a social media management tool.

Social media management agency costs

Some brands use agencies to complement their in-house social teams, while others use them to outsource all their social media management tactics. If you decide to work with an agency, here are the cost parameters you should plan for.

We asked 440 agencies how much they’re charging for their social media services. About 24% of the respondents said they charge an average of $500-$999 per month while 15% charge within the $1,000-$1,499 range.

Interestingly, 28% of agencies said they didn’t offer hourly rates, but of those that do, a quarter charge between $100-$149 per hour.

A graphic from Sprout Social's Agency Pricing and Packaging Report that illustrates the cost ranges of agencies from $500-$4,000+.