Your social media management business requires a professional, disciplined approach. A social media management contract is a helpful tool to retain your clients for the long term. Use the tips and sample contracts in this guide to get started.
Social Media Management Contract:
- Three crucial reasons why you need a social media management contract
- What should be included in a social media management contract?
- Social media management contract sample
- Social media management contract FAQ
- Make it easy to get paid
1. Three Crucial Reasons Why You Need A Social Media Management Contract
As a social media consultant, you probably started your business because you enjoy the creative challenges of marketing. You probably don’t particularly like contracts. However, these documents are essential business tools for the following reasons.
1.1. Protect Your Business
Social media is inherently unpredictable. That can be good for business – like when a post or video goes viral! It can also be harmful – your client may be mocked, insulted, or suffer in other unpredictable ways. A contract can protect your business. For example, you can use an agreement to reduce your liability.
1.2. Manage Client Expectations
Your clients probably don’t understand social media to the same extent as you. That is a big reason why the client is hiring you first! The downside is that your client may have unrealistic expectations for what they can achieve on social media. For instance, your client might tell you that they want a video to go viral on TikTok and YouTube and get 1 million views in 30 days with a small budget.
It is important to keep client expectations under control by using a contract. You can define what you will do and what is beyond your control in your agreement.
1.3. Increase Your Business Value
Some social media marketing business owners have a long-term goal to sell their company. According to Upward Exits, digital marketing agencies with a $5 million annual profit can sell for a multiple of 4.5 to 5 times (i.e., you could earn over $20 million from selling the business). You are unlikely to achieve those profitability levels with detailed professional contracts.
If you are interested in selling your company someday, you must have robust contracts with all of your clients. When you have long-term clients and contracts, your business is more likely to be seen as valuable by a potential buyer.
2. What Should Be Included in a Social Media Management Contract?
Creating a social media management contract is no easy task. There are multiple issues to consider. We’ve covered some of the most common topics in these contracts to save you time.
2.1. Intellectual property (“IP”)
The contract should clearly state who owns which intellectual property. Clients may ask to own everything. You may take a different perspective as you develop proprietary processes and IPs of your own.
2.2. Pricing and payments
You should never be guessing when you will be paid. The contract should clearly state your specific services, fees, and payment terms.
The contract should also be clear about how and when payments will be made. If you use CheckYa to send invoices, you should mention that in your contract, so the client knows what to expect.
2.3. Dates and Deliverables
The specific deliverables you offer in a social media management contract may vary with each client. One client may only be interested in using Facebook. In that case, your deliverables might include running Facebook ad campaigns and creating posts for their page. Larger companies may want more services, such as creating content for Twitter and Instagram. Knowing who will provide assets such as images, photos, and videos is essential.
You may also want to include dates in your contract when you offer a more complex social media service. For example, you may want to give the client a few days to provide feedback and approve copies, images, and videos before they are posted.
Your social media management work may also be linked to the client’s other promotions, like a back-to-school sale or Black Friday sale. Setting aside adequate time to prepare your social media to meet these deadlines in these situations is crucial.
2.4. Analytics and reporting
Your clients are more likely to stay with you for the long term when they see positive results from your services. By issuing regular reports to your clients showing traffic, leads, and sales, you can reassure your clients that your services are creating value.
Creating detailed reports – especially reports that tie your social media work to sales – can be difficult. Therefore, you may choose to create reports based on the analytics reports available elsewhere. Be clear about what you will provide your clients in your contract.
2.5. Standard clauses
Most professional service agreements include a variety of standard clauses for legal reasons. You can see examples of these clauses in the sample contracts listed below. For example, it is wise to include termination clauses so that you or your client can end the service if needed.
2.6. Bonus or incentive payments
This is an advanced topic relevant to highly experienced social media marketing professionals. You may want to negotiate a bonus or performance-based reward with your clients.
Bonuses are best when the criteria are simple. Let’s say your social media management services focus on lead generation. In May of last year, your client generated 100 leads. In addition, the client has historically had difficulty increasing their monthly leads to over 100 leads. In that case, you might propose a bonus of $500 every month if your efforts generate over 110 leads in a single month.
3. Social Media Management Contract Sample
The following social media management contracts are samples only. You must customize them to meet your company’s needs and negotiate with clients. This guide provides information only. Consult a lawyer in your area for advice on designing a contract specific to your needs.
This sample social media marketing contract template will be used as an entry-level resource plan. If you are working with smaller companies or charging relatively low prices, this template is good to get started. Use this template if you are new to the business or have had less than five clients.
This contract becomes relevant when you are starting to work with larger companies. For example, you can use this client to manage multiple social media accounts and charge higher fees. This contract template is most relevant after you have been in business for a year or had at least six clients.
Are you ready to work with large brands and charge $10,000 a month or more? This contract template gives you a starting point to work from. Remember that large companies often have an in-house legal department that may review all agreements. You may have to negotiate those requirements if your contract has unusual elements.
4. Social Media Management Contract FAQ
As you develop your social media management business and contracts, you will have questions. Here are some of the most common questions newer business owners face in this industry.
4.1. How much should I charge for my social media services?
There is no single answer to this question. Large companies with complex needs may be willing to pay millions of dollars to agencies to run their companies. In comparison, a small local restaurant may have more specific needs and only be able to pay a smaller amount.
You might have to charge relatively low prices just starting, such as $50 per hour for your services. After working at that price for a few months, you may want to revisit your contract pricing and discuss increasing your price. For this reason, you may find it valuable to use a short contract duration, like 3-6 months, so that you have the chance to update your pricing as your skills develop.
For additional guidance on pricing your services, see our post: How To Charge Your Freelance Clients?
4.2. Which social media services should I offer to clients?
The social media industry is growing daily, so you must choose where to focus your efforts. Many consultants pick a single platform like Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram as their focus. If clients ask you for more services, there are ways to handle those requests. For example, you could partner with another social media management consultant who knows how to manage those risks.
4.3. The client is asking me to respond to people on social media on their behalf. How do I handle this request in the contract?
Unlike other forms of marketing, social media is interactive. Potential customers can comment, like, and react to postings. As you ramp up your social media activities for clients, you will likely encounter more feedback in the marketplace.
Responding to social media questions and comments on behalf of your client can be difficult. For example, you might have a restaurant as a client and see a comment asking for a reservation. You may see another person complain about the restaurant’s service the next day. Your client might expect you to handle everything on their behalf unless you clearly state otherwise.
One solution to this situation is to offer clients a weekly social media summary and let them respond. Another option is to train an employee at the client’s company to respond to comments.
4.4. The client asks me to grow their social media to a certain number of followers. How do I respond to this desire in the contract?
It is challenging to guarantee marketing results because many factors are outside your control. For example, you can’t control social media algorithms. Instead of promising results like the number of followers in the contract, focus on what you can control. As a social media management service provider, you can control the quantity and quality of your posts. In addition, you can also control how you communicate with the client. For example, you may be able to grow your followers faster if you have an advertising budget.
4.5. The client is concerned about giving me direct access to their social media accounts. What should I do about this concern?
Start by acknowledging the client’s concerns. If somebody asks for your social media account password, you might be reluctant to give those details. There are a few ways to solve this concern. Some social media platforms, like Facebook, let you add users to a business account. This option means your client retains ultimate control over their account and can remove your access if they desire.
Use the following resources to find out how to request access to a company’s social media accounts.
- Facebook: Request Access to a Page in Business Manager
- YouTube: Add or remove access to your YouTube channel
- Instagram: Manage Roles on a Shared Instagram Account (note that this process requires a business Instagram account)
- TikTok: Add Users to TikTok Business Center
- Twitter: Multi-user login FAQs
Generally speaking, you can be more productive if the client gives you access to their accounts. If the client is focused on getting results quickly, encourage them to give you access faster.
4.6. The client has a standard freelancer contract they want to use instead of my social media management contract. What should I do?
This is a common practice at larger companies because they tend to work with many contractors. Start by carefully reviewing the contract provided by your client. You may find that it is acceptable.
There are a few key areas to review before agreeing to use a client’s contract. Verify that your pricing structure is accurately reflected. Next, double-check that your preferred payment terms and process are shown (e.g., you will use CheckYa for invoicing and expect payment within 15 days).
If there are particular sections you don’t like in the contract, discuss them with your client. You might be able to get those clauses changed or removed.
4.7. How long should my social media management contract last?
There are a few points to keep in mind with contract duration. It is generally easier to get a contract with a short duration approved. A manager at a company may be able to approve a three-month contract on their own. But if you insist on a 12-month contract, you may need to raise the matter to a more senior person, like a vice president.
The other aspect of contract duration should reflect how you want to run your business. Long-term contracts make your business more valuable to a potential buyer. It is also easier for you to generate results for a client when you have more time to dive deep into their specific business. It is best to have a 3-6 renewable month contract as a general starting point. Anything shorter than that, and you may find it challenging to deliver meaningful results.
5. Make It Easy To Get Paid
Creating a social media management contract that works for you and your client is vital in developing your business. Making it easy to send invoices and get paid is also essential. If invoicing is a pain, you may put it off. CheckYa is a fast way to send invoices and get paid by clients worldwide.