You Get What You Pay For
Social media marketing has entered the forefront of business advertising in recent years and shows no signs of letting up. Companies are scrambling to hire social media consultants because they realize its true potential, though many are not familiar with the medium and what goes into creating a successful social media campaign.
When comparing social media consulting rates remember that the good ole’ saying “You get what you pay for” holds true. Some companies look for bargains — for the best price they can possibly get. But, when it comes to marketing, this is a recipe for disaster as gambling with one’s business/branding is no joke.
The first thing I will mention, which is quite important, is that the cost of a social media consultant includes not only the month (or more) they spend on a project, it factors in hundreds of hours of research leading up to the point where they can provide actual results for a client. Things don’t happen overnight in the social media world and learning the medium requires intense trial and error. Plus, the internet is a constantly evolving platform and technological breakthroughs, new social sites, etc. need to be researched on a daily basis to ensure one has an edge over the competition. All of this takes time; a lot of time.
In regards to actual cost, a social media consultant that charges too little is a red flag in my book. Anyone that spends thousands of hours on unpaid research will not be charging $20, $30, $50 or even $100 per hour — It’s just not possible. Top ranking social media consultants charge anywhere from $200 to $300 per hour from what I’ve seen over the years, which appears to be the industry norm. But, there’s a new class of social media consultants that are exceeding this.
In particular, social media consultants highly experienced in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are the ones receiving top dollar right now. Social media and SEO are like two peas in a pod and combining the two produces the best results, but also a higher price tag. I recently wrote an article on the 3 Important Characteristics of a Top Social Media Consultant which outlines what to look for in a social media expert, and SEO experience matched with branding experience is critical. How can someone express your brand in the social arena without having a full understanding of how branding works? Additionally, being able to optimize social media for SEO (Social Media Optimization) and make it rank well in search engines (and within social sites) is critical.
A consultant that possesses knowledge in both of these areas is likely to receive anywhere from $300-$400 per hour. I myself have been in the online advertising industry for 10+ years and for larger projects I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging anything less than $300 per hour. Why? Because I put my all into projects, I’ve paid my dues and have a long list of statistics to reinforce the reason for my cost, which leads me to the conclusion.
Before making a decision on a social media consultant and what to pay him/her (or the company), ask for statistics to prove their capabilities. Do they walk the walk or just talk the talk? If the consultant can accomplish your goals and take your business to the next level the amount they are asking may be worth it. Request that statistics or samples of work be provided and you will then be able to make the best, most informed decision for your company.
You are spot on. In fact, $300 – $400 may well be the low end for someone who is focused on helping an organization make sure their social media strategy integrates with their strategic marketing plan. Most major management / strategy type consultants charge in the range of $500 – $1,200 per hour.
I hope this article has been helpful.
Founder, Bob Prince
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