Social Media Manager Rate Negotiation Tips
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Evaluate your experience and skills
  2. Research average rates
  3. Consider the client's budget
  4. Justify your rate
  5. Practice your negotiation skills
  6. Be open to compromise
  7. Know when to walk away
  8. Follow up after the negotiation

Whether you're fresh off the boat or a seasoned professional in the world of social media management, the process of figuring out how to negotiate social media manager rates can feel like navigating a maze. Don't worry, though! We're going to walk through this maze together, breaking down the most effective steps and strategies to help you secure a fair rate that reflects your skills and experience.

Evaluate your experience and skills

To start, you'll want to take a comprehensive look at your experience and skills. This is the foundation of how to negotiate social media manager rates because it directly influences the value you bring to the table. So, let's break it down:

  1. Experience: How long have you been in the social media game? If you've been managing social media accounts for a few years, you'll likely have a better understanding of the nuances and trends that can make or break a social media strategy. This experience equates to value for your client and justifies a higher rate.
  2. Skills: Are you a wordsmith who crafts engaging posts, a data wizard who can analyze metrics and adjust strategies on-the-fly, or a savvy marketer who knows how to leverage each platform for maximum brand reach? Make a list of your skills, and consider how they uniquely position you to support your client's goals.
  3. Specialties: Maybe you've made a name for yourself managing Instagram for fashion brands, or perhaps you're a pro at increasing engagement on LinkedIn for B2B companies. If you have a specialty, this can further increase your value and, in turn, the rate you can negotiate.

Remember—your rate isn't just a number. It's a reflection of your experience, skills, and the unique value you bring to your clients. By taking the time to evaluate these elements, you're setting a solid foundation for a successful negotiation.

Research average rates

Once you've evaluated your skills and experience, the next step on your journey of learning how to negotiate social media manager rates is doing your homework on the average rates in the industry. Think of it as window shopping—but for salaries. Here's how:

  1. Online Resources: Websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Payscale can give you a ballpark figure of what social media managers are earning. Use these figures as a starting point, but remember that rates can vary based on factors like location, industry, and company size.
  2. Networking: Don't underestimate the power of a good chat with colleagues or other industry professionals. You'd be surprised how much you can learn about the going rates just by asking around. Remember, though, to approach these conversations with respect and discretion.
  3. Industry Reports: Look for annual salary reports published by professional organizations or industry publications. These can provide a more detailed breakdown of rates, often segmented by years of experience, specialties, and regions.

By researching the average rates, you're arming yourself with valuable data. This data will not only help you understand where your rate should fall, but it will also give you the confidence and evidence you need to back up your negotiation.

Consider the client's budget

A crucial aspect of figuring out how to negotiate social media manager rates is considering the client's budget. Remember, it isn't just about what you believe your services are worth; it's also about what the client is willing and able to pay.

When discussing rates, it's helpful to ask the client about their budget upfront. This can save both parties a lot of time and avoid potential disappointment down the line. After all, there's no point in trying to negotiate a rate that's way outside of the client's budget.

That said, don't immediately write off a client if their budget is lower than your usual rate. Instead, consider:

  1. Value Exchange: Maybe they can offer something else of value, like introductions to new clients, or the opportunity to work on a high-profile project that will enhance your portfolio.
  2. Long-Term Potential: If the client has the potential for ongoing work or future growth, it might be worth taking a lower rate now with an understanding that this could increase down the line.
  3. Passion Projects: If it's a project you're really excited about—maybe because it aligns with your personal interests or values—you might be willing to accept a lower rate.

Remember, while your rate should reflect your skills and experience, it's always worth considering the bigger picture too.

Justify your rate

Once you've determined your rate based on your skills, experience, and the client's budget, the next step in learning how to negotiate social media manager rates is justifying your rate to the client. It's not enough to simply state your rate; clients want to understand what they're paying for and why it's worth it.

Here's where you get to showcase your value. Start by explaining the tangible benefits your services will bring to the client. For example, you might highlight:

  1. Increased Engagement: As a social media manager, your strategies can drive higher engagement, leading to more shares, likes, and comments, and ultimately a larger audience for the client's brand.
  2. Boosted Traffic: Consistent, well-managed social media content can drive more traffic to the client's website, potentially leading to increased sales or sign-ups.
  3. Improved Online Reputation: Your expertise in managing online interactions can help improve the client's brand image, making it more appealing to its target audience.

Apart from the benefits, also highlight the specific tasks involved in your role as a social media manager. This could include content creation, community management, data analysis, strategy development, and more. By outlining these tasks, you're showing the client the amount of work that goes into managing their social media effectively and, therefore, why your rate is justified.

Remember, negotiation isn't just about reaching an agreement; it's also about making sure both parties feel satisfied with the outcome. By justifying your rate, you're helping to ensure that the client feels they're getting good value for their money, leading to a more successful negotiation—and hopefully, a long-term working relationship.

Practice your negotiation skills

Now that you know how to negotiate social media manager rates, it's time to practice your negotiation skills. Think of this as a role-play exercise where you're the star. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Start by imagining a typical negotiation scenario. You've got a potential client interested in hiring you, and you're about to discuss rates. What do you say? How do you respond to their counter-offer? Run through these scenarios in your mind, or better yet, practice out loud or with a friend.

Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Stay calm and confident: It's normal to feel nervous, especially when money is involved. But remember, you're a professional offering a valuable service. Keep your tone polite and respectful, but also firm.
  2. Be clear and concise: When discussing rates, it's crucial to be direct and clear. Avoid using overly complex jargon or beating around the bush. State your rate, justify it as we discussed earlier, and be ready to answer any questions the client may have.
  3. Listen actively: Negotiation isn't just about talking, it's also about listening. Pay attention to what the client is saying, and respond thoughtfully. This shows that you're genuinely interested in understanding their needs and finding a solution that works for both of you.

Remember, negotiation is a skill that improves with experience. So don't be disheartened if your first few attempts don't go as smoothly as you'd like. Keep practicing, learning from each experience, and before you know it, you'll be a pro at negotiating social media manager rates.

Be open to compromise

As you navigate the path of how to negotiate social media manager rates, you'll discover that compromise is a big part of the process. After all, negotiation is a two-way street, and finding a middle ground that satisfies both parties is often the key to successful outcomes.

But what does compromise look like?

  1. Adjusting your rate: Sometimes, you may need to adjust your rate to accommodate a client's budget. This doesn't mean you should undervalue your services, but being flexible can open doors to valuable opportunities. For instance, a start-up might not have a big budget, but working with them could give you exposure to new industries and connections.
  2. Altering your service package: If a client can't meet your rate but you still want to work with them, consider modifying your service package. Maybe you could manage fewer social media platforms or posts fewer updates per week. The key is to find a balance between your workload and the client's budget.
  3. Offering a trial period: Another option is to offer a trial period at a discounted rate. This can be a win-win situation. The client gets to test your services without a huge financial commitment, and you get a chance to prove your value and potentially secure a long-term contract.

Remember, though, compromise doesn't mean selling yourself short. Know your worth and stand firm when necessary. The goal isn't just to secure a job—it's to build a mutually beneficial relationship that respects your skills and contributions.

Know when to walk away

Mastering how to negotiate social media manager rates is not just about knowing when to compromise—it's also about recognizing when to walk away. This might sound a bit scary, but it's a crucial step in protecting your worth and maintaining professional integrity.

So, when exactly should you consider walking away? Here are some scenarios:

  1. When your rates are undervalued: If a client refuses to meet your minimum rate, it might be best to politely decline the offer. Remember, your rates reflect your skills, experience, and the quality of service you provide. Accepting less than what you're worth can set a precedent that's hard to break.
  2. When you are asked to work for exposure: Exposure doesn't pay the bills. While it can be tempting to take on work for the promise of exposure, especially when starting out, it's important to understand that your time and skills have monetary value.
  3. When the client doesn't respect your boundaries: If a client is constantly asking for more work outside of what was agreed upon without offering additional payment, or if they're infringing on your personal time, it might be a sign to reconsider the relationship.

Walking away can feel tough, especially when you're eager for work. But remember—the goal is to build a sustainable, satisfying career. And sometimes, saying 'no' can open the door for better opportunities.

After all, your skills as a social media manager are in high demand. Trust that you'll find clients who respect your work and are willing to pay you what you're worth.

Follow up after the negotiation

Once you've learned how to negotiate social media manager rates and the negotiation is over, what's next? It's time to follow up.

Following up after a negotiation is a key step that's often overlooked. It helps to confirm the details of your agreement and maintain a professional relationship with your client. Here's how you can do it effectively:

  1. Send a thank you note: After the negotiation, send a brief note thanking the client for their time. This is a simple gesture that shows your professionalism and appreciation.
  2. Summarize the agreement: In your follow-up email or message, summarize the key points of your agreement. This includes the scope of work, the agreed rate, and any other important details. This helps to ensure both you and the client are on the same page.
  3. Ask for confirmation: Ask the client to confirm the details of the agreement to avoid any misunderstandings later. Once they've confirmed, you can move forward with confidence.

Following up not only helps to solidify your agreement, but it also allows you to end the negotiation process on a positive note. Plus, it sets a great precedent for your working relationship moving forward.

Remember, the art of negotiation doesn't end when you've agreed on a rate. It's a continuous process that plays a key role in your career as a social media manager. So, keep practicing, keep refining your skills, and don't be afraid to stand up for your worth.

If you're eager to learn more about social media management and want to improve your rate negotiation skills, check out the 'Social Media Marketing 101' workshop by Faira. This workshop will provide you with essential information on social media marketing, helping you become more confident in negotiating rates as a Social Media Manager.