How much do social media managers make? Well, that depends.
We know that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but it’s the truth. Salary ranges are impacted by everything from geographic location to years of experience and more.
Luckily, tons of resources have collected data that accounts for these variables. If you’re looking for an average social media salary for your unique situation, chances are you can find it in this article.
We’ve compiled data from sources across the web to provide you with everything you need to know about average social media manager salaries. Use this information to set fair expectations and negotiate the pay you deserve.
What is an average social media manager salary?
Social media management went from being questioned as a career path to becoming a full-team operation. These new circumstances have businesses competing to secure talent, creating an ideal market for those seeking a career in social media.
Let’s look at how all this change impacts base pay for social media managers of all stripes. Here are the salary ranges you can expect by geographic market, industry, experience, education and gender.
How much do social media managers make in the US?
Social media managers working in the United States can expect salary fluctuations based on the region they work out of.
As of September 2022, the average salary for social media marketers across the US is a base pay of around $70,000 with opportunities for upward of $6,000 in additional compensation.
Here’s how that number changes when you look at specific cities across the US:
- New York City, NY: $76,908
- Los Angeles, CA: $71,380
- Chicago, IL: $66,974
- Miami, FL: $80,750
- Denver, CO: $65,978
According to a recent study from Upwork, over 40 million American workers expect to work remotely in the next few years. If you’re a social media manager who counts yourself among them, you’re looking at an average salary of $71,000.
How much do social media managers make in Europe?
According to findings from the UK and Ireland edition of the Sprout Social Index™, hiring social media talent is the #1 challenge facing European social media teams today.
Thanks to the growing role of social media in Europe, hiring has become increasingly competitive in the region. Here are the average salaries social marketers can express in countries throughout Europe, according to Glassdoor:
How much do social media managers make in different industries?
When it comes to social, some industries seem to outperform others.
It may be due to audience engagement or content creation opportunities. Whatever the case is, that social performance is often reflected back in a social media manager’s earning potential.
Zippia segmented their social media manager salary data by industry and found that professionals working in:
- Technology can expect an average salary of $76,786.
- Manufacturing can expect an average salary of $71,841
- Finance can expect an average salary of $68,394
- Retail can expect an average salary of $68,247
How much do social media managers make based on experience?
Social has officially been around long enough for us to observe long-term social media manager career trajectories. That means there’s new data on what marketers can expect to make as they gain more experience.
- Social media professionals with 1-3 years of experience make an average salary of $56,605
- Social media professionals with 3-5 years of experience make an average salary of $64,320
- Social media managers with 5-7 years of experience make an average salary of $78,129
How much do social media managers make by gender?
Gender pay disparity is a persistent issue in marketing, where the overall average pay gap for full-time workers is a whopping 12.6%.
These discrepancies also exist in the world of social. Karten’s Social Media Compensation Survey looked at average salary by gender and found that:
- Men receive an average salary of $78,989
- Women receive an average salary of $71,223
- Non-binary individuals receive an average salary of $63,536
How much do freelance social media managers make?
Freelance social media managers and consultants have the power to control their workload, therefore controlling their income. Keeping that cash flow up starts with setting the right fees.
Data from Upwork shows that the median hourly rate for social media managers ranges from $14-$35.
Project-based rates vary by business size and project type. For example, the average cost of account management services for small businesses is around $400-$2,000. On the other hand, larger companies might pay anywhere from $2,500-$10,000 for the same services.
3 Trends driving social media manager salary expectations
The current state of the US job market is confusing, to say the least.
Despite this, current and aspiring social media managers should remain optimistic. In a world where social trends shape everything from consumer buying habits to brand reputation, social media managers aren’t a “nice-to-have.” They’re business critical.
To better understand other drivers behind the data listed above, let’s take a look at three trends affecting social media manager salary expectations.
Salary expectations are reaching pre-pandemic levels
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many job seekers lowered their salary expectations in favor of stability during uncertain times. According to a recent report from Glassdoor, those expectations are on the rise again.
The amount of money job seekers expect when looking for a new role has increased 43% from first-quarter 2021 to first-quarter 2022. Today, job seekers are expecting to make 34% (or $9,253) more than their current salary.
That number was closer to $7,000 before the pandemic, so there’s still some work to be done to close the gap. But, if this steep growth is an indication of anything, it’s that those working in the business and technology sectors may be recouping those losses faster than expected.
Social media roles are becoming more specialized
How many people does it take to manage a strategic presence across multiple social networks?
In today’s social landscape, quite a few.
Consumer social media usage has been steadily rising over the past few years. More people are turning to social to communicate with and about businesses, creating new opportunities within the channel. Coincidentally, this also creates more work for social media teams.
A quick search on any job board will reveal several new titles that fall under the umbrella of social media management. Each of these new roles calls for their own social media skill set, whether that be account management, data and analytics, content creation or customer care.
This increase in departmental scope has created new paths for career advancement, helping social media managers claim more executive-level titles and higher salaries.
SMMs are speaking up about unfair expectations
Saying social has evolved over the past few years is like saying “water is wet” to a social media manager. Those working outside of social, however, may not share the same understanding.
SMM job descriptions are so broad and, dare I say, wild cause higher-ups really don't know what they want to accomplish by being on social media.
— Vuh-suun-dher-ah (She/Her) (@ThisDhara) October 26, 2021
This disconnect has led to several job postings that request a full team’s worth of work from a single person. It’s an outdated idea of what a social media manager can accomplish alone, even worse when it comes with an outdated salary.
Several established social media managers have taken to #MarketingTwitter to voice their frustrations about these mismatched expectations. To better understand the conversation at large, we used Sprout Social’s Advanced Listening tool to analyze Tweets sent on the topic from January 1, 2022, to August 17, 2022.
We found that since the start of 2022, 2,183 authors have driven over 430,000 engagements after speaking out about discrepancies between work and salary expectations for social media managers. This Tweet from @ChiThukral sums the conversation up well:
everything a social media manager does: marketing, content creation, graphic design, video editing, community management, strategy, copywriting, customer support and publishing on 8 channels
social media day is a reminder to give them credit, respect and pay them their worth
— chithukral on all socials (@ChiThukral) June 30, 2022
Social media managers are experts when it comes to raising awareness for brands and causes. As they lean on these skills to advocate for their career and compensation growth, we’ll continue to see gains in salary averages.
Get the social media manager salary you deserve
When it comes to salary discussions, preparation is essential. Gathering market-specific pay data before kicking off the conversation can ensure a fair negotiation process. You have to know your worth.
If you want to learn more about your growth path in the wild world of social, check out this guide to social media careers. We’ve got the inside scoop on seven different career paths so you can find your dream job.
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