In this article I’m going to explain the steps required to produce a Social Media Strategy and how much it costs to create one.
I had planned to start this article by exploring the industry range for costs to produce a Social Media Strategy but it appears that information is rather hard to come across, because nobody shares it on their website. Therefore, I’ll show you how much I charge and how I come to this decision.
What is a Social Media Strategy?
I like to think of it as an activity rather than a document. Whilst the final output is often a document, the value from a Social Media Strategy comes from the process that is followed in order to determine how a business can utilise social channels to achieve their goals.
Whenever I sit with a client and work through the questionnaire that I use to find out about their business it’s the conversation which is the crucial step. I ask clients for information about their business, customers and goals and this alone often helps to provide them with a level of clarity they didn’t have before.
We could call it a Social Media Plan, or Social Media Approach or Blueprint. Essentially, irrespective of the name it’s a process that I go through with clients and at the end there’s an agreed action plan which works towards achieving goals (sell product, raise awareness, support customers).
What it isn’t.
Maybe I should clarify this as well.
A Social Media Strategy is not training and it’s not Social Media Management. The process is about understand the business, figuring out the objectives and then putting in place a plan. Of course, as with all plans, it’s likely to change over time and therefore it’s not a guaranteed path to success. The plan may need to evolve over time either because the approach needs to change or because of changes in the industry (think new platforms, significant changes to existing platforms etc).
How I create a Social Media Strategy?
Let’s look at the steps involved in creating a strategy.
Step 1: Discovery Call
The first step is always to hold a discovery call and make sure expectations are agreed with the client. This is where we discuss what problem the customer has, what they’re hoping to achieve and to understand if the strategy is the right service for them.
This call would cover some of the following questions:
- What does the customer need?
- Does the strategy meet those needs?
- Is there a better solution which solves their problem?
- Does the customer understand what is not included?
- Do they understand the process?
- Do they know the costs?
The Discovery Call (or meeting) is an important step because nothing would be more frustrating than to get to the end of the project and realise that expectations weren’t set properly at the start.
Step 2: Questionnaire
This step is where we get into the details of the business, the goals and any current or existing social media activities. In this stage I’ll spend time talking to the customer and working through a list of pre-defined questions which look at some of the following areas:
- Target Audience
This is where a lot of the value starts to come from. It’s not uncommon for a business not to have considered the answers to the questions I ask and therefore it starts to focus in on the purpose of their social media presence. Who are you trying to reach? What do you want to achieve? What does success look like?
The customer should not feel they need to be able to answer every question at this stage. Part of my responsibility is to provide guidance and to demonstrate what is possible.
Step 3: Competitor and Industry Research
There are industries which a Social Media person like myself is familiar with and there are industries which are new. When building a strategy a lot of the work is based on understanding what works for the platforms that are involved. However, there is also a need to look at what works for the industry and what competitors are doing.
For example, whilst motivational images work great for the fitness and health industry, they wouldn’t for certain charities. We therefore have to understand the audience, look at what’s working well in the industry and of course explore what competitors are doing.
This information can then be used to influence the strategy, perhaps through conformance but also by looking at differentiating. If every competitor is producing the same content there’s almost certainly an opportunity to do something different and stand out.
Step 4: Social Media Strategy First Draft
Once I’ve collected the information on your business and goals and researched the industry and competition I’ll provide a first draft of your Social Media Strategy, this will be in the form of a document but could be something else if desired (note: this may incur additional costs so see below).
Step 5: Draft Review and Input
You’ll receive the draft and we’ll work through it so that you can ask questions and clarify the contents. This will typically lead to some amendments in the strategy and hence another version will be created. There may of course be a couple of cycles through Step 5 as we ensure that you’re completely happy with the strategy.
Step 6: Final Version
Once any amendments or new information have been captured I will create a final version of the strategy document and this will be handed over to you and will signal the completion of the scope of work.
Step 7: Implementation
A Social Media Strategy always comes with free email support to help the customer implement what we’ve created. They now have a plan and the next step is to execute the plan. This might require training or additional support and this would be outside the scope of the strategy work. It is key that the strategy is implemented because of course it otherwise becomes an expensive document.
What’s covered in a Social Media Strategy?
Here’s an example list of information that will be in a Social Media Strategy. This may vary depending on the scope and size of the strategy.
- Overview / Intention
- Goals and Objectives
- Target Audience
- Brand Voice
- Content Ideas
- Content Plan
- Engagement Strategy
- Follower Growth Strategy
- Customer Support Strategy (inc negative comments)
What does a Social Media Strategy cost?
When deciding a price for a Social Media Strategy the main variable is really the complexity of any existing social media accounts and the number of people involved.
For example. The starting price on my website is £450. This assumes I am liaising with one or two people within a business and they either have no existing social presence or are managing a couple of accounts (e.g. Facebook & Twitter).
If the business comes to me and has an account across all social accounts as well as a YouTube channel, a Podcast, a blog etc and also has numerous people responsible for managing their online presence the time required to understand, discuss and implement a new strategy becomes higher – as does the price.
The price of £450 is an estimate of approximately 7 hours work which comes to around £64 per hour. Having spoken to a number of Social Media Agencies who I have good relationships with, this cost isn’t uncommon.
The top end of a quote would be in the region of £800-900 based on the complexities identified above. This would be covered in the discovery call and communicated upfront.
Any additional customer requests, such as receiving the strategy in a different format or requesting additional content (e.g. a full content plan) would incur additional costs as well.
You can now see the work that goes into creating a Social Media Strategy, the steps involved and the costs associated with creating a strategy.
If you’re thinking that you might need a Social Media Strategy I wrote this article which might help: https://www.simonsocialmedia.com/8-signs-you-need-a-social-media-strategy/
You may also want to read about my Social Media Strategy here: https://www.simonsocialmedia.com/socialmediastrategy/