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How to put together your own social media marketing proposal

| Kenzi Wood | May 21st 2021

Do you have a solid social media marketing proposal under your belt?

You’re running a growing agency and know it’s time to show off your flashy social media prowess. You start offering social media management to your clients and one of them is interested!

But then they say, “Just send me a proposal,” and you might not be sure what they need to see.

Instead of sending them an email with a handshake agreement, you need to send your clients a proper social media marketing proposal.

Sure, you could write this proposal from scratch every time you have a new social media prospect, but chances are, you don’t have time for that. You need a social media proposal template waiting in the wings for the moment a client is interested in your services.

But how do you write a social media proposal, anyway? What should it include? What’s going to make you stand out and actually get a, “Yes,” from the client?

Let’s dive into:

  • How you can get more social media clients.
  • The importance of a social media marketing proposal.
  • 8 components to include in your proposal.
  • 4 steps you can take to get more accepted proposals.

How do I land social media clients?

Plenty of businesses know they need social media, and many rely on agencies to do the heavy lifting for them.

On average, you can expect to charge $250 - $700 a month for managing your clients’ social media.

If you manage your time well, that means a handful of social media clients are a great boon to your earnings. But before you can daydream about the payday, you need to find clients!

You need a healthy lead pipeline to put your social media marketing proposals to work. Before you invest in a proposal template, you can bulk up your social media client leads by:

  • Creating a social media portfolio: Clients want proof that you know your stuff. A portfolio of your work—or, even better, case studies—makes it a lot easier for clients to pull the trigger. You should also share testimonials and before-and-after data if you have them.
  • Doing email outreach: Email has a median ROI of 122%. It’s cheap to do and a great way to get new leads into your pipeline. Just be sure to do cold emailing right so you aren’t spamming the world.
  • Promoting yourself on social media: Duh! If you want social media clients, you need to be reachable on social media, right? Post both organic content and paid promotions to connect with business owners.
  • Networking and asking for referrals: Did you know that 20 - 40% of your leads come from word-of-mouth referrals? If you’re trying to grow your small agency on a shoestring budget, go out there and network with other business owners. You should also ask your favorite customers for referrals. It never hurts to ask!
  • Giving away freebies: Webinars, online training, downloads, and other goodies are a great way to connect with new clients. Try creating a compelling freebie that solves a big problem for potential clients. Then you can promote this freebie via email, social media, and paid ads to get more prospects into your pipeline.

Honestly, a lot of effort goes into sourcing leads for your business.

If you’re trying to find more social media customers, you’ll likely spend hours a week looking for leads.

We guarantee your efforts will pay off, but that’s not when your work ends.

Once a customer is interested, you still have to persuade them to sign on the dotted line for a social media retainer.

Part of growing your business means creating and presenting proposals. Now that you have a solid lead pipeline, it’s time to wow your prospects with a professional social media marketing proposal.


What is a social media marketing proposal?

A social media marketing proposal is a formal document you send to prospective clients. This proposal outlines how, specifically, you plan to help the brand achieve its social media goals.

There are plenty of free social media templates available online, but if you really want to cover your bases, we recommend writing a proposal yourself.

Social media proposals are typically structured by:

  • Client goals: Show you understand what the client is going for.
  • Your expertise: How are you going to help the client become a social media superstar?
  • Logistics: This includes the timeline, team, and budget.

Social media pros typically whip out their social media marketing proposals after an initial consultation with the client. You’ll do tons of research to prep for this proposal, so give yourself at least a few hours to put it together.

From there, you’ll share the social media proposal the persuade the client to hire you.

If they approve the proposal, the document will serve as an outline of your work with them, which means it will save you planning down the road, anyway.

Why you need a social media marketing proposal

Smaller agencies and freelancers tend to skip the proposal process in favor of a price sheet or handshake agreements. But if it’s time to grow your agency (and we’re pretty sure it is), you need to formalize some of your processes.

And do you have the time to write a social media proposal from scratch for every single client? Probably not.

Agencies of all sizes need formal proposals for 4 reasons.

1 - Make more money

The science backs us up here.

Social media pros with a clearly defined sales process (AKA your social media proposal) generate 18% more revenue than businesses that don’t.

There are several reasons for this, but it comes down to showing the client that you’re serious. It also makes it easier for them to say yes to a tangible plan of attack instead of a lot of flowery promises.

2 - Set expectations

Social media proposals help clients understand what you can and can’t do for them. A well-written proposal helps you set expectations for how the relationship will work so there are no nasty surprises.

When you’re on the same page with your clients, you’ll get fewer angry midnight emails and retain more of your customers, anyway.

Always start the relationship with a solid proposal.

3 - Build trust

If a formal proposal seems too big and stuffy for your business, think again. Even if you’re a freelancer, social media proposals help you build trust with every prospect.

A proposal demonstrates you understand your client’s requirements and have a specific plan to fulfill those needs.

And it doesn’t hurt that a good proposal should look amazing. It should showcase exactly why you’re the right person for the job.

4 - Protect yourself

Nobody likes to think about it, but sometimes you land yourself a less-than-pleasant client.

Whether they’re arguing over scope or ghosting you on payment, it can be tough protecting your business without a paper trail.

A social media proposal protects both you and the client. It puts everything in writing so that, heaven forbid, if you need to go to court, you’ve got something tangible with their signature.

8 components to include in your social media marketing proposal

By now you should be chomping at the bit to write your social media proposal. But if you’ve never written one before, don’t worry, we’ve got you.

There’s a convention to writing social media proposals, so be sure to include these 8 sections to write a comprehensive plan.

1 - Executive summary

This section comes first in the document, but you’ll write it last. Think of this as an overview of the entire proposal.

The client should be able to skim a few paragraphs here and understand the meat of what you’ll do for them.

Your executive summary should include:

  • Client problems
  • Anticipated results
  • Budget
  • Resource requirements

The executive summary is the most important part of your social media proposal, so make sure it’s a winner!

2 - Analysis

The analysis section should be all about your client’s problems. That means you need to explain:

  • Their social media as it is today (or their lack of social media).
  • Why the existing strategy isn’t working.
  • How your business can help.

You don’t need to write America’s next great novel here.

Keep the analysis as simple, straightforward, and specific as possible. You should specify the client’s needs and the objectives of the project.

For example, if you have a prospect who wants to get on TikTok but doesn’t know how, their challenge would be making the time to get on TikTok. Your solution could be filming a source video for TikTok and posting it on their behalf.

You get the idea.

By the way, if you’re responding to an RFP (Request for Proposal), use language in this section that echoes exactly what the client is looking for in the RFP.

3 - Scope of work

The scope of work section is going to be the biggest part of the social media proposal. It specifies the exact activities you’ll do to solve the client’s problem.

Think of this as a hyper-specific checklist of everything you’ll do for the client.

Scope of work will show your planned work as well as the goals you want to hit. It might sound something like this:

  • Facebook Ads campaign: Agency will create a retargeting campaign on Facebook Ads promoting a 50% seasonal discount. The goal is to improve client retention by 15% by Q4.
  • Organic Instagram creation: Agency will create Instagram graphics in Canva and post them 5 times a week for Client. The goal is to increase Instagram followers by 20% by January 2022.
  • Social media monitoring: Agency will check Client social profiles 3 times daily for one hour. This includes replying to comments, removing spam, and regulating group discussions. The goal is to improve Client’s average response time to less than 1 hour.

Did you see how we included measurable goals with every line item? Always include SMART goals in your scope of work. This should also include the platform, metrics, and (if you have them) dates.

If you want a brand to approve your social media proposal, it’s a good idea to explain why you’re proposing each line item.

You don’t want them to think you’re unnecessarily padding the budget, so be sure to justify everything in your scope of work.

When in doubt, tie every line item back to the objectives you defined in the analysis section.


4 - Project milestones

The best way to make a social media proposal actionable is to include your project milestones and due dates.

First of all, this is good for managing the client’s expectations. It’s also helpful for you to plan your internal resources, like employee’s time and ad spend.

Project milestones define how you’ll measure the project’s success.

For example, if your client wants more brand recognition, you can measure impressions and social shares in service of that goal.

This section should also spell out when you and the client will check in on the project as a whole. That might mean you have more meetings at the beginning of the project and space them out to happen monthly or quarterly after a certain point.

5 - Social proof

Sure, you have testimonials and reviews on your website, but you need to add those bad boys to your social media proposal, too.

Try to keep your social proof as relevant as possible.

You want to share testimonials, endorsements, and case studies that are a close match to what the client needs.

When you’re writing your social proof, make sure you:

  • Spell out the results in terms of hard numbers. “Recognition” and “awareness” are nice, but they don’t hit as hard as, “We boosted their Instagram following by 10% in 30 days.”
  • Use examples from a client in a similar industry, or with similar goals.
  • Focus on the results. Don’t get too hung up on the client’s problem or the project itself. Your message should lean heavily on the fact that you get results.

Full-on case studies are great here, but you don’t have to be that fancy. You can keep it simple by pulling a few key quotes from Facebook or LinkedIn to start.

6 - Terms of agreement

This is where you get into the finicky details like pricing, hours, and more. The terms of agreement will spell out how you work and your contract terms.

Be sure to touch on:

  • Fees and payment terms: How are you going to invoice the client? What are the payment terms (30 days, 60 days, etc.)? You should also provide a breakdown of how the client’s total budget will be spent, whether it’s as an hourly or flat-rate fee. If the word “fee” or “cost” feels too icky, use the word “investment” instead.
  • Specify responsibilities: Your team may be responsible for posting content to a client’s Instagram profile, but is the client responsible for sharing images with you? The terms of agreement should say which party is responsible for what. This speeds up the entire work process and avoids any unwanted surprises.
  • Expiration: Some clients gather dozens of proposals and sit on them for months. That’s not great for you, obviously. Set an expiration date for the proposal under the terms of agreement section. This prevents potential clients from coming back months later when you’re fully booked or you’ve raised your rates. It happens, so prepare for it!

This is a finicky section of any social media proposal, so if you want to really protect yourself, hire a lawyer to go over your terms before sending them to the client.

7 - Next steps

So, what happens now?

The next steps section tells your client what they need to do before you can move forward with the proposal.

It can be a super quick checklist like this:

  • Respond to the proposal with any changes.
  • Sign and accept this proposal.
  • Submit initial payment.
  • Schedule onboarding call with the team.

You might need to flesh this out a little more, including URLs or contact details if needed (ie. book your onboarding call via Calendly).

Keep your expiration dates in mind from the previous section. If you want a client to take action quickly, create a due date for each action item.

This also gives you a good excuse to follow up with them a few times if they go silent after receiving the proposal.

8 - Appendix

Not every social media marketing proposal needs an appendix. But if you really need to get into the nitty-gritty and share tons of:

  • Studies
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Additional reading

… then add an appendix.

If the client wants more context, they can choose to look at your supplemental material here.

By plopping your more data-heavy stuff in the appendix, you can keep the rest of the proposal clean and easy to read (without sacrificing thoroughness).

How to get more clients to accept your social media marketing proposal

At this point, you’ve probably spent several hours creating a social media proposal template. When you spend this much time on something, you naturally want the prospect to green-light the project.

You don’t want to go through the rollercoaster of unresponsive prospects or unapproved proposals. Take these 4 steps to hear more “Yeses” to your social media proposals.

1 - Start with client discovery

Remember the buyer’s journey? Make sure you aren’t stepping over the Discovery stage (as tantalizing as the Consideration stage can be).

Client discovery is a must before you spend any time writing a social media marketing proposal.

If you can, try to have a video call, phone call, or in-person chat with prospective clients. At a minimum, you need an elaborate intake form so you can write a better proposal based on their needs.

However you connect with prospects, do your homework before the call. Always check their social media profiles, their competitors, and pull any data you can find.

While you should let the client talk for the majority of the discovery call, ask lots of questions. There’s no worse feeling than trying to write a proposal without all of the information you need.

Be sure to ask questions like:

  • Who is your main audience? Do you have buyer personas?
  • What is your goal?
  • What’s been an obstacle or challenge that prevented you from reaching your goals?
  • Why do you need social media help?
  • Who are your top 2 - 3 competitors?
  • What do you need help with specifically? What is the project scope?
  • What’s your budget?

The discovery call is super important because it will help you see if this is a good fit. That way, you aren’t wasting your time writing social media proposals for clients that won’t hire you.


2 - Proof the proposal before you send it

We get it: you’re probably sick of looking at this proposal after a few hours of writing.

But don’t send off that proposal without a second opinion! You’d be amazed at how many errors can get past the human eye.

Have someone else double-check your proposal if possible. If it’s just you in your business, set the proposal aside for a night and review it with fresh eyes in the morning.

You want to proof for things like:

  • Grammar and spelling
  • Simplicity
  • Factual correctness

3 - Make it mobile-friendly

Did you know that 34% of proposals are opened on mobile devices?

It’s tempting to print, sign, scan, and send a proposal over email, but is that really the fastest way to get a signed contract?

Instead of sending over an unwieldy PDF, use a mobile-friendly format to sign proposals faster. We like DocuSign and HelloSign.

4 - Send the proposal at the right time

Remember that discovery call? You increase your chances of winning the account by 14% if you send the proposal within 24 hours of a discovery call.

You might want 3-4 days to put together the proposal, but chances are, your prospects won’t stick around that long.

Stick with a template and personalize as needed to put together effective proposals in less time.


Whether you start from scratch or use a template, a solid social media proposal puts you and your client on the same page. It not only makes you look more legit, but it ultimately helps you win more clients and grow your business.

Be sure to include the 8 sections we mentioned here in your social media proposal. If clients aren’t approving your proposals, remember to start with a discovery call, proof your proposals, optimize them for mobile, and send them over quickly.

Once the ink dries on the proposal, you’re on the hook for getting your client results.

Feel free to do what you do best, but when you want to use the power of influencers at scale for your clients, give Trend a try. We connect brands to experienced influencers to streamline your social media work. Create your free account now.

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