Are you feeling underpaid, overworked and undervalued? You might be suffering from being a social media manager.
Okay, it's not all doom and gloom. LinkedIn has reported that social media managers are one of the most in-demand marketing positions and the field is only expected to grow. But how much do social media managers actually make? We've done some investigating to help you understand the averages, and some patterns we've noticed, to help you better navigate the social salary landscape.
What is the average social media manager’s salary?
According to Built In, the average social media manager salary in the US is $72,000 USD. However, data from a combination of over 12,000 submitted salaries on Glassdoor and PayScale skew quite a bit lower than that.
So why the discrepancy? One factor is that the role of a social media manager falls under a very large umbrella of hierarchy and experience. And while roles are starting to become more defined by levels of seniority, the data we have is likely grouped together with a lot of different levels of experience, including those just starting out.
One bright spot? There's plenty of room to grow in terms of salary. By taking a quick browse on LinkedIn jobs, we see a lot of social titles that include Senior, Strategist and Director displaying salary ranges of well over $100,000 per year, with some larger companies offering salaries in the upper range of that.
So how much do social media managers make by industry?
Like other professions, social media salaries vary from industry to industry. Data from Zippia shows that roles in tech average $82,000 USD, finance average $74,000 USD, and professional industries average $71,000 USD. The lowest? Media, retail and hospitality.
Social media consultant Rachel Karten came to a similar conclusion in her 2021 Social Media Compensation Survey. With responses from over 1,000 social media marketers, Rachel concluded that tech, healthcare and entertainment were the top-paying industries and nonprofit, education and food and beverage were the lowest-paying industries. The takeaway? Larger organizations like tech typically equal bigger teams and larger salary budgets for social media managers.
Oh, and PS: Rachel has a great newsletter for social media managers that we'll link in the description below for more industry insights.
How much do social media managers make as freelancers?
Being a freelance social media manager offers a lot of perks, like higher earning potential, location flexibility, and full autonomy over your work and schedule. It can, however, have some downsides, like no workplace benefits, inconsistent pay since you have to track down invoices on your own, and more overall business-related responsibilities.
If you're considering freelancing, we recommend trying it as a side hustle first. This can be a great way to earn additional income and test the waters to see if you enjoy the freelance lifestyle before jumping right in. Plus, if you can start to build up a client roster before quitting your full-time job, you'll be setting yourself up for much better success in the long run.
How to charge social media clients as a freelancer
When it comes to charging clients to a freelance social media manager, it all comes down to how you package your services. Some might start out at $500 and go up to a few thousand dollars per month. There's a lot that goes into social media management and so many different styles and services you can offer.
For example, some social media packages curate existing content from a client, versus some packages offer content creation that include video production or photography. The latter will take more time and planning, so you can often charge a lot more.
How does the future look for social media managers?
There are a lot of controversial takes about the future of social media, especially with recent AI updates. But one thing is clear: social media use is only growing. Just look at the July launch of Instagram Threads, which saw 30 million users sign up within the first 24 hours. And with younger generations turning to use social as a search engine instead of Google, social is already deeply integrated into our lives in so many ways.
The job of a social media manager will only become more important in understanding how a target audience thinks, which is why we're seeing more articles like this sharing how social media managers could be the next CMOs. Let us know your thoughts, and if you have any social media manager-specific questions in the comments below. And don't forget to hit that subscribe button because we're back with a new video every week. See you later.