Outsourcing Social Media Management Guide

Nadica Naceva
Last Updated:

With 4.95 billion people using social media, it won't be wrong to say that social media is the glue holding our global village together. It's where people connect, share ideas, and, more importantly, discover new products and businesses. 

For a business, social media is more than a place to share life updates and memes. It's a powerful marketing tool, a place to engage and attract customers. 

Bryan Weiner, the former CEO of Comscore, puts it perfectly by saying, "Social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers."

In a business context, social media management isn't as easy as logging into an account and posting a few pictures. It requires strategy, planning, consistency, and constant monitoring. 

That's why businesses need a dedicated social media team. Now, it could be an in-house one or an outsourcing partner. 

To select the latter, you must be fully aware of its pros, cons, and best practices. Our guide will teach you everything you need to know about outsourcing social media management.

What Is Social Media Management?

Social media management encompasses everything pertaining to your social media marketing strategy. To put it simply, it means running a brand's social media pages. 

But there's more to it than just posting updates. It also involves: 

  • Creating a social media strategy 
  • Creating content 
  • Interacting with followers and responding to comments/messages 
  • Getting and monitoring brand mentions 
  • Creating a content calendar (and following it) 
  • Increasing social media reach 
  • Conducting competitor research 
  • Running paid promotions and ads 
  • Analyzing social media data
  • Hosting giveaways and contests 

It's a multifaceted role that requires regular effort and attention. 

For example, look at Depop's social media presence. The brand is often described as half eBay and half Instagram since it combines the functionality of an online marketplace with the visual appeal of a social media platform. 

Depop’s TikTok page

Depop's social media team doesn't simply pick up a picture of a product and post it on Instagram. They use a blend of strategies. 

Depop’s Instagram account

Yoann Pavy, the head of digital marketing at the company, says that user-generated content (UGC) is the brand's primary focus. He says, "At the core, that's our strategy. And then we add a little bit of influencer marketing, we have paid marketing on top of that and everything is interlinked."

All of this comes under the umbrella of social media management. 

So, the team has to find and collaborate with influencers. They have to scour through relevant hashtags to find repost-worthy UGC. On top of that, they run ads and monitor their performance. 

So, it's a lot of work. 

What Is Outsourced Social Media Management?

When a company hires an external agency or freelancer to handle its social media presence, they have essentially outsourced social media management. 

Small businesses, especially startups, often outsource their social media management because their in-house team may not have the expertise or resources to handle it efficiently. 

The extent to which a company outsources its social media management can vary greatly.

For example, a company may only outsource video creation for its social media accounts. Another may outsource the entire management, from content creation to engagement and advertising. 

TS Media is a good example of an agency you would go to if you only want to outsource the video production side of social media. The agency specializes in creating promotional videos, social media ads, Instagram and TikTok reels, and explainer videos. 

TS Media home page

But if you're a company that needs to hand over all aspects of social media management, you'll opt for an agency like Giraffe Social. They handle everything social media related. 

Giraffe Social

Both are examples of outsourcing. Only the scale and scope differ. 

Outsourced Social Media Management vs. In-House 

We've already discussed that outsourcing social media management isn't necessarily the best option for every business. But how will you know if it is? 

Here's a brief comparison to help you decide. 

Outsourcing Social Media Management 

We'll look at both the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing social media management


  • You get to see quick results since social media management agencies are experts in their field. 
  • You can focus on other important aspects of your business, such as product development and customer service. 
  • It's more cost-effective than hiring an internal social media team. 
  • Agencies will keep you on top of the latest social media trends. 


  • There's a risk of miscommunication or misrepresentation of your brand if the agency doesn't fully understand your business values and voice. 
  • You may not have full control over the content and strategies the agency uses.
  • Finding the right agency may be a hit or miss, and it may take time to find the perfect fit. 

In-House Social Media Management 

Let's see how in-house social media management compares to outsourcing. 


  • You have full control over everything. 
  • Your in-house team is more familiar with your brand and business values, resulting in a more authentic representation of your brand.
  • Communication and collaboration are easier since you're working directly with your team. 


  • It can be expensive and time-consuming. 
  • It can be challenging to find and retain qualified social media professionals.

Social Media Management Agency vs. Freelancers: Which to Choose?

Another common question for businesses is whether to hire a social media management agency or individual freelancers. 

There are pros and cons to both. 

We've already covered the advantages and disadvantages of working with an agency earlier. 

Let's discuss freelancers now. Working with freelancers can be a good option in the following instances: 

  • More Control: If you want direct control over every aspect of your social media management, work with a freelancer. 
  • Cost: Hiring freelancers is more cost-effective than working with an agency. You can only pay for the services when you need them instead of getting into a long-term contract. 
  • Specific Skills: Maybe you already have a decent in-house social media team. But for your new campaign, you're looking for someone who can create stunning graphics. Your in-house team's knowledge doesn't go beyond Canva. In this case, a freelancer could be quite helpful. 
  • Business Size: If you're a smaller business with your social media presence on just two or three platforms, you can work with a single freelancer. 

But here are a few downsides to outsourcing social media management to freelancers. 

  • Lack of Consistency: If you work with multiple freelancers, it can be hard to maintain consistency in your brand's social media presence. 
  • Limited Availability: Freelancers often juggle multiple clients and projects. So, they may not always be available when you need them, making it difficult to stick to a consistent posting schedule. 
  • Managing Multiple Contacts: You could have difficulty managing communication with multiple freelancers. 

If cost is an issue and you're still in the growing phase, freelancers might be the best option. 

Benefits of Outsourcing Social Media Management

Not every company needs or is prepared to outsource its social media management. But if you fit the bill, outsourcing social media management can do wonders for your company. 

Knowledge or Expertise Gap

As a solo business owner or a small team, you might be good at one or two aspects of social media management. 

But there'll be other areas you dread. 

For instance, you could be great at creating content but struggle with social media analytics. Or you may be savvy at engaging your followers, but can't create a funny Reel for the life of you. 

In such situations, outsourcing is the perfect solution. You get to focus on what you're good at while leaving the rest in capable hands.

Time Constraints

Businesses, both big and small, have a lot on their plates. 

It's not uncommon for social media management to fall through the cracks or become an afterthought. In fact, the BBC reported that many social media experts say time is the "driver pushing away brands: it can be a tall task to ask often junior employees to keep tabs on so many platforms." 

On top of that, there are just too many social media platforms to manage. For reference, there are 14 social media platforms that have half a billion or more active users. 

It can be pretty overwhelming for a business or solo entrepreneur to juggle all of them while also running their day-to-day operations. Outsourcing may be a good alternative here.

Cost Issues 

In-house social media management can get expensive pretty quickly. Glassdoor reports that social media managers make anywhere from $54,000 to $98,000 a year

Social media manager salary range

If you're in a city like New York City or San Francisco, that salary range can easily be pushed to the higher end. 

Besides salaries, you also have to offer employee benefits. There are costs associated with hardware, software, tools, training, and space, too. 

Don't forget about the hiring costs. Indeed reports, "You can expect to pay a commission of 15% to 30% of the hired employee's first-year salary to the recruiter." For a salary over $50,000, that's around $7,500 to $15,000 per employee. 

If all these costs are too much, outsourcing social media management may be a more cost-effective solution.

Adoption of Latest Trends 

Kami Huyse, a social media strategist and CEO of Zooetic Media, says, "The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time." 

That's absolutely correct. 

New social media trends emerge every day. Plus, new platforms are introduced all the time. Meta's Threads, an alternative to X, is a good example. 

As a business, you need to be where your customers are. So, if your target audience is using Meta's Threads, you need to be on Meta's Threads

Meta Threads

The same is true for social media trends. For example, if more and more people are liking video content, you can't expect your lengthy written posts to do well. You have to adapt to the trend and create more video content. 

If your business is struggling to keep up with these trends and new approaches, it's better to outsource social media management. Since it's the agency's job to stay updated, your social media presence will always be relevant.

How to Select a Social Media Management Agency? 

If you've made the choice to hand over social media management to an agency, here's how to find the right fit for your company. 

The Prerequisites

Before we get into the steps, you should get some prerequisites straight. The first is location. 

Do you want to work with an agency in your local area, or are you open to remote work? Working with a local agency can provide more opportunities for face-to-face meetings and collaboration. 

Also, if you plan to improve your local SEO and tie it in with your social media strategy, a local agency may have more knowledge of the area and audience. 

Otherwise, remote agencies will do just as good a job. 

Second, decide if you want to work with a general agency or one that specializes in your niche. For example, if you're in the fashion industry, you might want an agency that has a decent fashion clientele and is the master of that niche. 

For example, Intrepy is a healthcare marketing agency that solely caters to healthcare organizations. 

Intrepy home page

 Similarly, GNGF specializes in social media management for law firms. 


If you're in a highly regulated industry, it will be better to partner with an agency that has experience dealing with those regulations. For example, in healthcare and law, you don't want to end up with a HIPAA violation or a bar association complaint due to social media management mishaps. 

Now, let's look at the steps to choose a social media management partner. 

Step 1: Identify Tasks to be Outsourced

Start by listing all the tasks that you want the social media agency to take on. 

Do you want a complete social media management service? Or do you only want the agency to handle certain tasks? 

Know this before you start your research.

Step 2: Do Your Research

Research is often the part that takes the longest time. Google is your best buddy in this regard. 

If you're looking for local agencies, try searching for "social media agencies near me" or include your location in the search query. 

Otherwise, you can search for social media agencies by niche or simply "social media agencies." Once you have a list of potential agencies, start digging deeper. 

Visit their websites and check out their services

Make sure you go through the case studies or success stories sections. These sections will help you see if the agency has helped clients like you in the past. 

Check out third-party sites in your research, too. Trustpilot, Clutch, and G2 are some popular sites that feature reviews from clients. 

You can also ask for recommendations from your colleagues or network. For example, if you have a decent X or LinkedIn following, ask them for a referral. 

Step 3: Reach Out 

Let's say you settled on 12 agencies in your research. After going through their websites and reading reviews, you've narrowed down the list to four agencies. 

Now, it's time to reach out to them. 

Most agencies have a form that you need to fill out. Some will also schedule a call with you to get more details about your requirements. 

For example, ICUC Social lets you book a meeting through its website. 

ICUC Social

Similarly, Fresh Content Society allows you to schedule a consultation. You can use this initial discussion to clear all your queries. 


What will you talk about? 

Discuss everything you'd potentially want to know about your social media management partner. Here are some questions: 

  • What is your pricing structure like? 
  • Are you familiar with my industry? 
  • What kind of results have you delivered in the past? 
  • How do you communicate with clients and provide updates? 
  • Do you offer any additional services or packages that could benefit my business? 
  • How do you analyze the success of social media efforts? 

Usually, by this point, you get a feel of what the agency is like. If something clicks instantly, you'll know it's a good fit.

Step 4: Review Proposals 

Social media marketing agencies prepare proposals for potential clients. These proposals include the pricing and strategies they'll use to manage your social media accounts. 

Review the proposals from the agencies you've shortlisted. 

If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask. 

Step 5: Make Your Decision 

The initial consultation and the proposal will finally bring you to your final decision. 

Select an agency and draw up a contract with them. 

If you think none of the four agencies you reached out to are what you're looking for, go back to your list and reach out to more agencies. It's better to take the extra time now than to face social media management problems later on. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing Social Media Management

Keep these not-to-dos in mind when outsourcing social media management. 

Not Having a Plan

Yes, the social media agency will be the one to craft a strategy for social media marketing. But you need a plan that you'll communicate to them. 

For example, you might want to increase your presence on social media. Or, you're already a well-established business in the US, but now you're expanding to Europe. 

So, your goal may be to create individual social media pages for your European branches. 

That's what Vogue does. The publication has different Instagram pages for each of its regional offices, like Vogue Arabia and Vogue Italia

View post on Instagram

A proper plan and vision will prevent miscommunications. 

Not Looking at References

Most social media agencies have case studies or portfolios that showcase their work. But don't rely on those alone. 

Ask them for references, too. If an agency refuses to give you references, it's a red flag. 

An outsourcing partner is more than just a result-producing machine. You'll also have a long-term relationship with them. 

While case studies might paint a picture of their skills and capabilities, references can tell you about their work ethics and communication style. 

Not Overseeing the Process

Outsourcing your social media management processes doesn't mean completely handing over the reins. You still need to oversee the process and stay involved in decision-making. 

It's your brand that they're representing on social media. You should have a say in how you want your brand to be portrayed. But you can only do that if you stay involved and communicate regularly with your partner. 

Don't micro-manage, though. Instead, go for a collaborative approach. Discuss ideas and strategies with your partner, but trust their expertise in implementation. 

How Much Does Outsourcing Social Media Management Cost? 

The cost of outsourcing social media management differs across agencies. It also depends on other factors, such as your business size and the number of social media platforms you're present on. 

Fiverr reports that social media marketing services cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per month

Social media marketing costs

These are not fixed prices; what you pay will depend on the type and level of services you get. 

Sprout Social asked 228 agencies about their pricing for social media services. Nearly 33% of the respondents said they charge between $1,500 to $ 3000 on a monthly basis, while 12% charged more than $5,000 per month. 

Monthly prices for social media services

Some of the services these agencies offered were platform management, content development, social analytics, social strategy, and running paid campaigns. 

On the other hand, if you want to outsource social media management to freelancers, you can expect to pay $14 to $35 per hour, according to Upwork. 

Social media freelancers per hour rate

Again, there's no guarantee that this is how much your business will have to pay. More experienced freelancers will charge a higher rate. Also, the location and the level of competition in your industry will affect how much you pay for social media management services


Outsourcing social media management is sometimes the best way to have a solid social media presence. If you want access to a diverse skill set and don't have the feasibility or resources to put together an in-house team, working with agencies or freelancers is the way to go. 

Just make sure you're doing your due diligence when choosing a service provider. Also, collaborate with your outsourcing partner so that their strategies don't stray from your brand's objectives or the public perception of your business. 

About the Author
Nadica Naceva is a storyteller, reviewer and strategist with an instinct for blending the worlds of online advertising and content creation. She's been in the game for nearly a decade, navigating the currents of SEO optimization, content marketing, and the digital strategies. Her path has taken her through the dynamic terrains of digital marketing, including stints at SEO and web design agencies and finally settling down as Head of Content at Influencer Marketing Hub. Nadica's approach to content? It's all about depth and precision, favoring insightful, well-researched material over the superficial or overly automated. It's this mix of in-depth knowledge and down-to-earth style that really makes her stand out as a reviewer and a voice worth listening to in the digital marketing world.