How your company can save money on social media services

by Mack Collier

Here are the 8 most popular search terms yesterday for this site:

So it’s pretty obvious that companies are looking for information on how much they should expect to pay for social media services.  If that’s what you are looking for, then you should definitely check out this post on how much you can expect to pay for social media services.

After looking at those search results (and I get similar results almost every day), I decided I needed to write another post about the cost of social media services.  But this time, I wanted to talk about ways that you can LOWER the cost you pay for social media services from consultants and agencies.  While I try to charge a ‘standard’ rate as much as possible, there are a few variables that go into my pricing that I wanted you to consider when attempting to get a price on services for your own business.

1 – Have plenty of company and market research on hand before asking for prices.  If a company approaches me about creating a social media strategy for them, the first thing I am going to do is begin researching them, their company resources, skill sets, etc, as well as their market and who they want to reach via social media, and how their competitors are using social media.  Obviously, if you can have some of this information on hand, it means I will need to spend less time on research, and that means you pay less.

2 – Be able/willing to handle most/all the execution yourself.  This can be a BIG money-saver for you, but comes with the caveat that you need to be in a position where you CAN handle the execution of a social media strategy.  Not every company is, and most need at least some heavy hand-holding at the start.  But the more of the execution and content creation you are willing to perform, the less money it costs you.  Would you rather pay me $150-200 an hour to train your 4 bloggers on how to create content for your blog, or would you rather pay me $150-200 an hour to do the work of 4 bloggers?  Yeah, that choice is obvious.

3 – Connect with me, or have a friend connect us.  I am always getting referrals from friends and people I have met, and I always try to give these companies a discounted rate if I can.  And if we have  a prior relationship, even if it’s just having met at a conference or event I spoke at, I will want to give you a break on pricing if I can.

4 – Have a long-term project. I tend to discount rates if the project exceeds 3 months, simply because that will be a source of income for a longer time-period.  Also, over the life of a longer project, the amount of work required at the end of the project is usually less than the front, so that lowers the cost as well.  BTW this also applies if you hire me to speak at your event.  The hourly rate I will charge for a 1-hour session is probably double the hourly rate I would charge for an all-day training session, for example.

5 – Pick a time when business isn’t as busy.  This one is tricky and usually just comes down to pure luck.  However from my own experience, business is usually a bit lower for me from around October – March.  That’s usually when I have some ‘bandwidth’ available to take on extra clients, and can give the ones I do, a better rate.

6 – Have a cool project.  This is also tricky, but if I really love the ideas you have, I will probably be willing to cut you a deal on price to get the work.  For example, if you are a mid-sized to large B2C company that wants to leverage social media to connect with your brand evangelists, I can almost guarantee that you will get my best rate, and that I’ll make every effort to take on that project, no matter how busy I am ;)

Anyway those are some tips for you, and are from my perspective, if you talk to another agency or consultant, they could have a completely different set of criteria.  But in general, the more work and execution you can handle yourself, the less your costs will be.  Hope this list helps!  Oh and BTW if you are interested in working with me on a social media project for your company, please email me!

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