“We need to be on social.”
Anyone in content marketing has heard this from multiple companies in the past year. Often followed by:
“But how can you create social content for my brand?”
Sometimes this is acknowledging a lack of existing digital assets, images, video, graphics. Sometimes it evokes doubt that the industry or vertical can inspire socially engaging content.
For certain niches (i.e., information technology and security) it is a challenge to create engaging social content around a company’s offering. But equally as much, I see companies with a visually stunning product — or visually stunning outcome — stumble on social and post boring, non-engaging, messy content. So when you’re talking with a social content producer, the question isn’t really: “Is my business too boring for social media?“ It’s: “How will you make my business stand out on social media?” A good social content strategist will have the answers, but of course these vary widely according to the budget.
For all of you who are wondering what a social content producer can do, let’s look at a reasonable scope of work for typical monthly retainers — and then add some extras.***
With a $1,500/month retainer for social***
Daily posts with imagery you provide.
You could expect daily posts for Instagram and repurposed/tweaked posts for Facebook. Little to no original photography would be included for this monthly fee. The client would have to provide photography, and/or the social content strategist could find user-generated content, or create simple social graphics using tools like Canva or Visme.
Bundle a newsletter or blog content.
You may be able to ask for one newsletter or a few short blog posts to be bundled into this monthly retainer package.
Expect one round of revisions.
Finally, be realistic about the revision rounds and reports/recaps that are built in that retainer. At this level, you probably only get one round of revisions, and minimal to nonexistent analytics reporting.
With a $3,000/month retainer for social***
Daily posts on multiple channels.
At this rate, you can expect your social content freelancer or agency to create daily posts for Instagram, Facebook and either LinkedIn or Twitter.
Probably this rate will cover the social content producer shooting some original photos, but it will be “social media quality,” not studio quality. It will most likely not be professionally lighted or Photoshop edited. Instead, the content creator will shoot with a DSLR or a smartphone and use simple filters and retouching apps. Your social calendar content will probably be a mix of original social media photography, existing photography from your archives, and user-generated content.
You should work with your content person to create a social strategy that best suits your business.
- If your business sees the most engagement from Twitter, you might want a Twitter specialist to tweet three times a day plus answer all customer tweets, and scale back on Facebook/Instagram posts to three times a week.
- If you focus on B2B marketing, you might want someone who really understands LinkedIn paid and organic strategy and who is abreast of the best strategies for targeted Facebook ads and content creation.
- If you have a highly visual product in the home or style space, you might want a Pinterest specialist who also can maintain an active Instagram account. Don’t feel like you have to cover all four major platforms just to have a presence.
Multiple revisions and additional content.
For this retainer, you could ask for multiple revisions, or a total redo of a week’s content to accommodate a sudden shift in marketing strategy — though don’t do that every week. You could also get weekly blog posts or newsletter content, though maybe not both.
Community management, maybe.
Do not assume community management would be included in this rate. For a small company or one that doesn’t get a ton of engagement on social, it could be.
You should expect to get at least bi-weekly or monthly analytics reports for this rate.
With a $5,000/month retainer for social***
Daily availability and activity.
For this monthly retainer, you could expect a social content consultant or agency to spend plenty of time creating content around your business — and for them to be active/reachable daily crafting and executing strategic cross-platform content.
Contests and campaigns.
In addition to all the services listed in the lower price points, you could expect your social content producer to be running contests and campaigns, setting up partnerships with other businesses, networking and engaging in your niche, and connecting with influencers in the category. If you have a policy of sending out free products to influencers or loyal customers, it’s appropriate to expect your social team to identify those people and track them for your business.
Also for this rate, you could see what works for you in terms of original video. While it won’t get you a full commercial camera crew, this retainer could allow for your content specialist or agency to film plenty of footage around your business and cut together a couple different types of video.
Set an amount of videos that you want posted every month, and also schedule Facebook Lives and Instagram Stories. Fewer videos of better quality probably will generate better results for your brand, though you could ask your content person to do different “cutdowns” (i.e., make the same long video into two 30-second and four 15-second videos).
Instagram Stories do not need to be as polished as other social videos, and many people are using Stories as an alternative to static Instagram posts. Instead of setting up a video shoot, you may want to ask your social content creator to come up with a few different buckets for Stories (i.e., ‘Behind the Scenes’ or ‘Meet the Team’) and film many Stories for each topic that can then live in your Instagram Highlights.
In-depth reporting and A/B testing.
Most companies that are paying for social content at this level expect in-depth reporting on all platforms to understand which types of posts are performing best, whether hashtag and tagging strategy is working in organic posts, and whether engagement is increasing or staying flat or decreasing. You would also expect to be working with your content creator to constantly fine-tune your pay-per-click strategy on ads. It also may make sense to ask your content strategist to run competitive analysis and constant A/B testing, and report everything to you consistently with recommended next steps.
Caveats for outsourcing your social content
Be honest about your degree of involvement.
Keep in mind that the amount of content you can get will have a lot to do with the kind of client you are. Are you providing photos and content ideas for your social content person to utilize for posts? Do you answer their queries efficiently and thoroughly? All of this makes you an easier client and encourages the content person to do the most they can for your business.
Or, on the flip side, do you forget to answer queries for days? Do you send the social content person only partial answers, and no assets — telling them to find what they can on your site? Do you let your intern manage the social agency/consultant? All of these habits can frustrate your social content strategist and drastically reduce their output, not to mention slowing up their schedule.
Don’t fall for “growth-hacking.”
Any firm that promises engagement or “growth-hacking” as part of the package for this monthly rate is almost certainly using a bot program to auto-engage with other accounts. Try not to be tempted by a promise of cut-rate “guaranteed” new followers and/or engagement. The followers will be either fake or have been pulled in using the reviled follow-unfollow practice. Auto-engagement comm-nets are easily spotted as tone-deaf and spammy. And Instagram and Pinterest regularly shut down these services and any account that’s been regularly using them.
*** Please note that the costs for the monthly retainers in this article are for general guidance only, based on our contributor’s experience. They are not ClearVoice prices or plans. To discuss custom content plans for your business, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you!