How to Buy Social Media Services: A Survey

social media survey graphic SMCHI 2011

As an initiative for the Social Media Club Hawaii Chapter in 2011, I set up a survey of social media practitioners, looking at compensation and services. I posted the early data we collected at a public event on this topic. Here is the summary data, delivered to you from the “Better Late Than Never” department. You can Download a PDF of the Social Media Pay Survey here. Below are a few screen shots that tell the gist of the story.

First, A Few Caveats

This was an anecdotal poll of social media pros, conducted via an online survey that was shared through the SMCHI email newsletter and to our colleagues on Twitter. It is not scientific, balanced, or vetted by a statistician. It was a gathering of data among friends, with a total of 89 responses. We targeted our Social Media Club colleagues – who as a group – are at the top of the food chain of social marketers and consultants.

It was initiated by the “Something is Better Than Nothing” department to assist the Hawaii marketplace in knowing how to purchase social media services. If I had wanted it to be utterly defensible, I would have hired Tom Webster!

Please peruse these snapshots and use them as a starting point to see where you stand. Whether you are a practitioner or a buyer, this information can at least describe the general marketplace for buying social media services.

A few points about our respondents, not included below:

54% were from Hawaii; 40% from US Mainland
70% live/work in urban environments; 20% suburban; 10% rural
83% have a college or post-graduate degree
Some questions were for employees; others were for independent consultants.

How long have you been a social media services professional?

how long have you been a social media professional
Social Media is still a relatively young profession, though there are clearly established levels of expertise from which you can choose.

As an EMPLOYEE, what is your annual salary?

annual salary for social media employee
Although there is quite a range, 68% earn $50,000 per year or more. This is not a fast food position.

As a SELF-EMPLOYED consultant, how do you charge for your services?

how do you charge
Social media services can be purchased in any number of ways; your way will depend on several factors. Let a professional socmed consultant help you.

As a SELF-EMPLOYED consultant, what is your hourly rate?

hourly rate
73% of self-employed social media consultants earn at least $50/hour. The largest percentage (32%) earn $100 – $149 per hour.

Re: Your employer and/or clients: Do they get it yet?

do your clients or employer get it
Only 2% really get it! On the other hand, over half are seeing the big picture and proceeding reasonably – that’s good! For the 40% who are still looking for justification…it might be time to rethink.

So let’s talk this out in the comments.

  • Are you buying or selling social media services?
  • Could you pay a little more and get a lot more?
  • How do you screen your consultants before hiring them?
  • Consultants, what do you ask potential clients/employers to know you are a good fit?
  • Should social media be done more by experienced mature people who understand your brand but may not be super techy or should it be done by interns and young hires who can whiz around iPhones and Facebook in lightning speed?
  • What are the mistakes businesses and consultants make when it comes to implementing social media? (Be constructive here – it’s a learning opportunity.)

Thanks for your input!