For freelancers and agencies who provide social media services, having a proposal ready for your client should be an essential part of your workflow.

We’ll walk through the important components of a social media proposal, aided by tips from people who write proposals on a daily basis. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll be able to write your own or make tweaks to an existing template.

Where Does a Social Media Proposal Fit into Your Workflow?

The proposal is part of your sales process.

Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association found that companies with a clearly defined sales process see 18% more revenue growth than companies that don’t.

What is a clearly defined sales process? It’s made up of stages, such as “prospecting” and “close.” It can resemble a pyramid, flow chart or even a circle. Below are three examples of different sales processes.

The number of stages differs from company to company. What is more important here is that each stage has clearly defined actions and metrics that are relevant to you.

For example, your “conversion” stage could include:

  • Write proposal
  • Send proposal
  • Client reviews proposal and returns with questions
  • You answer questions and/or revise proposal
  • Client agrees on proposal
  • You send a contract
  • Client signs contract

Having a clearly defined sales process not only makes you look more professional, but it also helps you manage your workflow.

What’s the Purpose of a Social Media Proposal?

A social media proposal formalizes your ideas to your client. It’s not a contract (though it can be if you want it to be). This stage often comes after a consultation and/or research on what the client needs.

Let’s say you want to change up the look of your kitchen. You have a general idea of what you’re looking for, but you don’t have the knowledge to make your dream kitchen come to life. Your next logical step is to hire an interior designer and if you do your due diligence, you’ll find a few people who might have the experience you need. You’ll ask for proposals and after looking at what they send you, you’ll make a decision.

The tricky part of writing a proposal is that you need to persuade the client of your abilities without outlining every step.

An interior designer won’t send you three different kitchen designs, complete with sample materials in their proposal. Nothing could stop you from taking their design and executing it on your own. Instead, the designer would need to demonstrate industry knowledge and an understanding of your needs. Based on their recommendations and their portfolio, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on hiring them.

What’s in a Social Media Proposal?

As we mentioned before, a proposal needs to demonstrate an understanding of the client’s needs.

Some of the major proposal components include:

  1. Analysis: identification of the client’s problems
  2. Scope of work: your solution to the problems
  3. Project milestones and deadlines
  4. Proof of work
  5. Terms of agreement
  6. Next steps for the client

We’ll go into each part in detail.

1. Analysis: Identification of the Client’s Problems

An important part of a client relationship is managing their expectations. In the client consultation, you should be able to understand what their needs are for social media and how you can help them.

Oftentimes, clients will recognize that they need help in social media management, but are unable to describe why they need it or what their goals are for using social media. For example, if the client wants to use social media to increase their sales, this proposal section would include current sales metrics and an analysis of why the current strategy doesn’t work.

2. Scope of Work

This section closely matches your contract’s Scope of Work section. Essentially, everything that goes here is what you will do for your client. This is the biggest part of the proposal and can be broken into smaller pieces.

For social media proposals, work can often include any of the below:

  • Posting schedule: Which networks are you going to be monitoring and how often will you be posting? If a posting approval process is needed, then be sure to outline what that would look like.
  • Content creation and curation: This can include creating a social media content calendar, taking photographs and keeping a pulse on industry news.
  • Brand keyword monitoring: Be sure to note which keyword(s) you will be tracking.
  • Analytics and reporting: How often will you be reporting on analytics and what will you be tracking?
  • Social media management details: When will you be available to engage on social media? How much time will you be dedicating to the client?

Andy Bishop, President at marketing agency Thin Pig Media recommended clarifying the number of hours of work a client is receiving. He explained, “Social media is very fluid and of course 24/7. It is important to set clear expectations to avoid issues in the future and also to let the customer know what they are getting.”

Our product can make a social media manager’s life easier. Not only do we offer easy keyword monitoring, but our reports come presentation-ready and can be exported at a click of a button.

3. Project Milestones & Deadlines

Often looped in with Scope of Work, this section will clearly define how you measure a project’s success.

If the client wants more brand exposure from social media, you’ll likely identify impressions and reposts to be part of your metrics. With their current numbers and growth rate in mind, you’ll be able to write reasonable, numeric goals in the proposal.

4. Proof of Work

Why should you be the one to work with this client and not your competitor? What makes you stand out from all the others? Chances are that the client is receiving multiple proposals for the same project.

This is where you demonstrate how your experience would fit into their needs. It can come in the form of client testimonials or examples of how you’ve successfully managed clients with similar goals.

Tessa Greenleaf, Matching Specialist at CloudPeeps agreed. “When sharing examples of accounts you’ve managed, it’s important to detail what you’ve achieved for those clients, as well as your goals when you began working with them. This tells a client why they should hire you for their job.”

She used follower growth as an example goal. To show how you grew one client’s growth, she said to “share exactly how many followers there were on the account when you began work, how many follows you grew the account to and what role you played in that growth.”

5. Terms of Agreement

This is the nitty-gritty of the proposal. The section should clearly communicate how you work and what the contract terms would be.

It can include important items like:

  • Fees: project, hourly or retainer
  • Billing practices: how you invoice, what your payment terms are or if you require a deposit
  • How you work: remotely, in the client’s office and when you’re available to answer questions
  • Termination: how to end the project if either party decides it’s not for them

Joyce Davis, Branding & Marketing Designer at Square One Creative recommends having a kill fee and expenses incurred as part of the termination. She explained, “This is important so there are no surprises, and the client is forewarned that if the project is not as presented, or gets too difficult, you’ll have the option to stop working with them.”

The termination goes both ways: the client can end the project if it’s not working out for them, as long as they know they still need to pay the kill fee.

6. Next Steps for the Client

What’s next after the social media proposal? To avoid limbo and a continual back-and-forth between you and the client, write down what happens after the proposal is sent. Will you be following up after a certain number of days? Does the client have a chance to ask for revisions on the proposal?

While these are major components of a social media proposal, there are countless other ways of writing a proposal. Some agencies like to include an expiration date on their proposals along with a copyright notice.

Proposal length can vary depending on the client you’re working with. A proposal for a small business would look remarkably different from a proposal for a multi-million dollar company.

Creating & Delivering the Proposal

For many social media marketers, a digital delivery of the proposal is sufficient enough. For others, you may need to make an in-person presentation. Just like when you write and design a resume, make sure your proposal is easy to read for the client.

With all of this in mind, you should be able to create your own social media proposal template. Services like Canva have presentation-ready templates that can be adapted for a proposal. Having a template will make new proposals easier for you, leaving you to focus on writing the details.