How much does social media marketing cost?

How much does social media marketing cost?

Full disclosure: Generally speaking, this is for well funded startups or medium sized (and up) businesses that typically have established marketing budgets to work with. If you’re a small local business or side hustle, chances are this won’t apply.

Don’t you hate it when you ask a question like this and get a vague, waste of time response that doesn’t even really answer your question? We promise not to do that. If you’re reading this, you probably are looking for an easy answer. The fact is, there really isn’t one. But we’re going to do our best to give you one. At least to start.

So here’s the quick and dirty:

Typical Agency Monthly Retainers

Individual consultant with 1-3 years experience.

Boutique sized agency (6-15 employees. 5+ years experience or more.

Enterprise, large brand agencies (25+ employees)

$1,500 – $2,000/month

$3,000 – $7,000/month


*does not include advertising budgets

We’ve been at this for close to 4 years now, and the numbers above, while not definitive, are a pretty good starting point and will probably be fairly consistent with what you’d find. But of course, it’s not that simple. Many things factor into what your total cost would be such as:

  • Your specific goals and objectives
  • Volume and complexity of the content
  • Your ad budget

All things being equal between talented, experienced agencies, the true velocity of your success and results will be tied to the size of your ad budget. Organic reach on social is practically non-existent these days, so having a healthy ad budget is a critical component to a successful social media strategy. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Access our paid social media calculator to the right to help give you a sense of what a realistic budget should be for your specific goals and objectives.

These are just some of the things that can factor into what your total out of pocket will be. But here is one key takeaway to consider if your thinking about outsourcing your social media:

If you’re serious about producing real measurable results for your business with your social media, you need to be prepared to spend roughly $5,000/month minimum all in (retainer + ad budget). We’ve found on average, that is where most clients need to be at a minimum, to work with an experienced agency and for a healthy enough ad budget.

Yes, there are many social media and marketing agencies out there charging sub $1000/month social media plans, but just like anything in life, you get what you pay for. These are not designed to truly deliver measurable results for you (leads, customers, sales). They are designed for what we call “check-box social media management”, meaning the only real benefit is that you don’t have to do it, and you can “check” it off your list.

Sure, they’ll manage your social media for you, but the content will be templatized, and the results will be minimal to nothing for your business. For some smaller or newly formed businesses, that can be OK…it’s a starting point. For larger businesses, or ones that truly are looking for leads, customers or sales out of their social media management, these sorts of offerings don’t apply.

Don’t just take our word for it. Here are some great additional resources to help educate you on the true cost of real results oriented social media marketing:


Social Media Ad Budget Calculator

Interested in figuring out what your paid social media budget should be? Enter your details below to access our paid social media ad budget calculator.