When you ask how much an agency charges, you’ll hear “it depends”.
While not particularly helpful, it’s often true.
There’s no set cost for a social media agency in the UK, so you’re never really sure what price tag to expect—making it hard to tell if you’re paying a fair price or getting ripped off when you’re quoted a price.
To show you what to expect to pay when hiring an agency, we’ve put together what goes into pricing, the average prices and whether it's a better deal to hire a freelancer or an agency.
Agency pricing can vary drastically, with agencies charging between £500 - £10,000 per month for their services.
When working with an agency, you should keep your goals and budget in mind. The most expensive isn’t necessarily going to offer the best service. However, you do often get what you pay for.
When considering what an agency charges, you focus more on the value you expect to receive rather than the cash amount. If you select the right agency, your investment can quickly pay for itself many times over. You can get a rough idea of the returns on investment you can possibly make by looking at their case studies and seeing the typical results they achieve.
When it comes to how much they charge, the truth is, it depends. Agencies can charge per campaign, per day, as a monthly retainer or with a bespoke package deal. Typically, these are the prices you’re likely to see:
Social media management consists of running a brand’s social accounts, implementing social media strategies and creating engaging content.
The average agency charge in the UK for social media management is:
These prices are often based on a per-platform basis. The more social accounts an agency manages, the more they’re likely to charge.
Paid social advertising, or media buying, is buying ad space on a social media platform to present your ads to the right audience.
There are two main ways an agency will charge for this: a flat rate fee or a percentage of ad spend.
For flat fees, the average agency charge in the UK for paid social advertising is:
If an agency operates using a percentage pricing model, you can expect to pay 10-15% of your total monthly ad spend for the service.
Most agencies will offer both payment models.
Influencer marketing is hiring a content creator to create sponsored content that promotes your brand to their audience. An agency can help you source the most suitable influencers, show the results you’re getting and keep everything in budget.
Typically, social media agencies will charge a finders fee for sourcing influencers. At The Social Shepherd, we charge £100 per influencer sourced if they’re a micro influencer, or if they’re a macro influencer we charge 15% of your campaign budget, on top of paying the influencer themselves.
Most commonly, an influencer will create content for Instagram. The prices they charge to do so can vary depending on their audience and engagement rates. They typically charge on a per post basis. Here’s what to expect:
Cost per post
Hiring a freelancer is more like hiring an extra hand to help out on a project. Whereas hiring an agency is more like hiring a partner to work alongside you to create a strategy and leverage their resources to bring it to life.
Initially, a freelancer is likely to be cheaper than an agency. This is because an agency has to pay salaries, software subscriptions and various other operating costs. They also need to make a profit too. A freelancer however, is just one person.
However, as a freelancer is a single person, they’ll likely only have expertise in one area. Whereas an agency offers a team of experts in various roles, all working together.
If you have a project that requires, say, media buying and video production for your ads, you’re going to have to hire multiple freelancers. This can quickly add up in price. Whereas, when you hire an agency, like the Social Shepherd, you can get both services under one roof.
Freelancers can operate faster than an agency and hit tight deadlines. However, freelancers lack a full range of skills, knowledge and resources. No single individual will be as capable as a larger team.
Due to the way you’d hire them, a freelancer may end up becoming more of an order-taker rather than one leading you through the social media marketing process in a systematic way.
An agency will have access to the resources and have the capacity that would be impossible for a freelancer to have. This results in a higher quality end product with generally stronger results.
It depends on how critical your social media success is to you. Are you aiming to grow and hit goals through a solid strategy or simply have somebody fill in your content or media buying needs on a schedule?
Most importantly however, it depends on the project and the budget you have.
If it’s something small or short-term, get a freelancer. However, if you’re planning on running an extensive campaign or doubling down your social media efforts, have an agency by your side.
We offer four core services for social media marketing. We keep our prices for these services transparent and straightforward. This is so you can make the best choices without feeling the pressure of a hard sale.
We charge a minimum of £1,000 per month, but every single proposal we create is completely bespoke to your brand - so this pricing can change depending on your requirements.
Contract-wise, we offer an initial 3-month contract. If you’re happy with the results you’re getting, this moves into a 28-day rolling contract.
We prefer shorter contracts because we want to be judged by our work’s quality and the results you receive. It puts the responsibility on us to provide you with our best work and never put clients onto the backburner.
Want to find an agency that fits your needs? See our full list of the best social media agencies in the UK here.