If you’re looking at the above photo, the answer is not “breakdancing.”
One of the things I don’t talk about much (and should), is what I actually do for a living, aka how I make money. My blog has never been my main source of income (though I wish it was sometimes), so I’ve had to find other ways to make money over the years of freelancing and being my own boss.
If you’re new here (hello!), I started out as a food blogger and food photographer (in NYC), which made it fairly easy to transition into handling social media for restaurants here, especially a few years ago when it was still a very “new” thing.
“How much do social media consultants charge??”
It depends on the package and what you need (scroll down for more on that), but I can tell you that the more content you need, the higher the rate. If you’re looking to hire a social media manager, 2 posts per week will not be as pricey as 4-5 posts per week. Make sense?? It’s like any other job: more work = more money.
If I’m being honest, it was a lot easier when I started out because it was JUST photos at that time; my rates were lower, but I had more volume of clients. Now, you basically have to be a professional video editor (among many other things) to make content that “stands out” on Instagram and TikTok.
While your content doesn’t have to be overly complex, it still has to have a clear strategy and provide value. People don’t just follow accounts willy nilly anymore because they take a nice photo. A pretty photo of a burger is great but…foodporn is not the key to success as it used to be for restaurants. Now, people want to see “the vibes” and “the process.”
What music do you play? What does Friday at 9 PM look like? Is there a cake cutting fee? Do you have gluten free options? Can I bring my dog? Are the cocktails pre-mixed? These are all questions I’ve had over and over in my client’s DM’s. Your Instagram page is basically Google for your business now.
What does a social media manager actually do??
As I mentioned above, the social media manager/consultant’s job has morphed into about 5 different creative roles in one, maybe more.
Here’s a list of all the things I do now, as a social media manager:
Shoots the content (in good lighting)
Edits the content (in a creative or unique way)
Finds trending sounds and audios that make sense
Writes a good “hook” and a good “CTA” for Reels/TikTok (I have a bunch of FREE Hooks & CTA’s here, if you want examples)
Writes the captions while working in keywords for SEO (which is a thing now for social, not just for websites anymore!)
Designs templates and flyers in Canva for marketing collateral
Manages a content calendar of posts
Keeps a “social media holidays calendar” for relevant “holidays” (ie National Pizza Day)
Uses AI and auto-scheduler software to help organize/plan the posts (Later.com, Planoly, etc)
Stays “engaged” on the app – replying to comments, liking relevant posts, answering DM’s (for a business that isn’t even theirs)
Works odd hours because it’s remote, and we’re all on our phones, so…why CAN’T you answer a DM or a text from a client at 10 PM on a Friday night??
That last one is sort of a joke, but if you’re a SMM, you know it happens and drawing those boundaries is not always easy.
I tell all of my clients now that I don’t work weekends (unless weekend business is big for them, in which case, I will schedule posts to go up on weekends). Sorry, I’ve been doing this a long time (mostly without an assistant or team) and I’m a human being who needs a break, too. And guess what? I STILL end up working on the weekends more often than not.
Is there a difference between a social media manager and a social media consultant?
It depends on who you’re speaking to, but for me, I think of my social media management tasks for more established brands, and the social media consultant tasks for those who are more green and/or are just starting out. They usually need help in all facets of branding (tone of voice, aesthetic, target audience, etc), so they require more of a consultative approach.
It’s fun and creative work, but it can also be very thankless because it “seems” very simple. I blame teenagers for this because they can run circles around most older people on social media (sorry but I’m old too, it’s just a fact).
So let this be a reminder to all of you (including those of you who are still charging pennies or accepting free food in exchange for this work): it’s not as easy as snapping a photo and posting it to Instagram.
We are photographers, video editors, designers, writers, SEO researchers, trend hunters, and community managers. And our rates will reflect that.
And for the record, I loves me some free food, but I’m not paying my mortgage in cheeseburgers, ya know?
If social media management is out of your budget, that’s perfectly understandable! In which case, you can hire me (and others) as a “UGC Creator”: User Generated Content Creator. It’s a one-time fee and you get a photoshoot that results in a set amount of photos and videos, fully edited and delivered to you. If you have an understanding of how IG works and can handle the posting, this is a great option. Email me for how many photos and videos you’re looking for and I can get back to you with a quote! firstname.lastname@example.org
Another much cheaper option under this same umbrella is what I call “The Content Kit.” I provide all the things you need for a strong social media presence – caption templates that are customizable, trending audios and ideas that go with them, static photo suggestions, and a social media holidays calendar for your niche. You just have to choose from the pack, shoot the content or pick a photo that you already have, and hit post. Again, email me if this interests you and I can explain further! email@example.com
One of the aspects of being a social media consultant that I really enjoy is teaching or training. I offer 1:1 coaching for creators, and sometimes I operate as a speaker for brands/small businesses. The latter is a higher cost and a one-time fee, but that’s because it’s a lot more prep work and research.
I had such an opportunity last week, where I was hired by Samson & Surrey, a liquor company with a fantastic selection of brands under their belt (Widow Jane Bourbon, Tequila Ocho, Brenne Whisky, and many more) to train their Trade Advocacy Team on all things social media.
I created a crash course presentation for them and included a photography/videography training session as well. It was a lot of work, but so worth it!
The photography/videography portion is always everyone’s favorite because I teach some cool tricks for capturing content. You can see some examples on my TikTok.
In that package, they got my Lightroom Presets for free (typically sold for purchase, here), as well as printed materials/cheat sheets, and digital PDF’s with links to purchase all of the tools I use for content creation (if they want).
If you are interested in a similar package for your company, shoot me an email with some extra info and I can get back to you to set up a call to discuss/provide a quote! firstname.lastname@example.org
The content creation and social media management game is ever-changing, but if you’re at all interested in honing your social media presence, I can help! Click here to set up a discovery call with me and I can help you figure out your goals.