You’re not a social media person. You don’t even like social media. But you know you need to be there. So you start looking for someone to help you out with it. So with little idea where to start what should you be paying?

On average you’ll pay between $50 and $250 a week to an Australian agency or freelancer to manage a small business’ social media presence. Which is a big variation. And there are some pretty clear reasons for this.

Firstly, you get what you pay for. While a 19 year straight of our high school may be happy to manage your social media for you for as little as $30, $40 or $50 a week, you need to be aware of where the average 19 year old comes from. Your average 19 year old hasn’t completed any study, short of their high school studies. They haven’t spent time testing and learning about what techniques work, what don’t, and how to weave that data in to the next round of ads. Or how ads and organic posting can work together – or even how what you post on social media has to complement what you do elsewhere… not match it, but complement it. I’m not saying that every social media manager needs to be 45 years old, but all social media managers should have some grasp on the basics of marketing; both online and offline.

Secondly, a lot of the cheaper rates come from freelancers just starting out. They are cheaper because they are desperate to get a portfolio of clients. Their rates are introductory and cannot be sustained for the long term. I know this all too well, having done exactly the same in the past. The lower you push the price, the less able a local in Australia is able to sustain that price. The only way they can sustain that price for you will be to outsource the work offshore rather than doing it themselves. Which is probably not what you signed on for. This occurred in 2018 when a group of retailers in Darwin engaged a freelancer to manage their social media properties. Once the contract was won, the freelancer then decided to move overseas and engaged a local photographer to handle things back in Australia. The result was disappointing to the client, who didn’t get the service they expected, and ended in the contract being lost.

Finally the price variations can be due, often, to the systems being used to manage your social media. Simply posting on each individual social media platform you’re paying to be on, as well as having to go to each of those platforms to monitor, answer messages and generate reports, is not a particularly efficient use of time. It might be ok for someone who has only 2 or maybe 3 clients. But when you’re scaling your agency to handle dozens of clients across multiple networks, you need a more efficient way to be able to post, monitor and report on, what is happening on that channel. And that is done through systems such as Sendible, Meltwater, Hootsuite or other social management systems. Not all these systems are cheap, so the cost of them will be factored in to your weekly or monthly charge. Along with any additional systems that may be used to plan your posts, create your graphics, or the costs of stock photos to make your content. The more work that’s required to make your posts, the higher the cost. The basic freelancer will be cheap, but their content will often by strange, irrelevant to your business and, in the long term, ineffective. So while you’ll pay anywhere from $50 per week, up to $250 per week to have your social media managed for you, be sure to find out what it is you are actually paying for. Is your social media manager a fresh freelancer or an experienced marketer? Are they posting manually on your profiles, or are they using systems to manage it all? And what guarantees do you have that they won’t just pack up and leave at some point to live their best life somewhere on a beach in Bali?