As a chief marketing officer (CMO) or an agency owner, you need a workflow for building out your team and replacing team members who have moved on. In many cases, creating a contract with freelance social media marketers rather than hiring full-time employees makes sense.
Working with freelancers may seem like a simpler solution, but it’s still critical to get all the details of your relationship in writing.
In other words, you need a social media manager contract template for your business or agency.
Wondering where you can get a contract outline and whether you really need a formal agreement? Find out how a social media contract can benefit both parties and learn what your agreement should include.
A social media contract is a written agreement between two entities: a contractor and a client. Before they begin working together, contractors and clients typically sign social media marketing agreements to confirm the terms of their relationship.
When both parties sign a social media management contract, it’s usually legally binding. That means the contractor and the client both have legal recourse if the other party doesn’t fulfill their part of the agreement.
A written agreement is critical for any business relationship. Take a look at a few mishaps you can avoid if you have a contract:
- Unclear deliverables. Have you ever stressed about what exactly you’re getting from the freelance marketer you hired—or what you have to deliver if your agency is the contractor? A written agreement outlines the deliverables for both parties.
- Vague timelines. Are you tired of endless follow-ups about the status of your social media marketing efforts? With an agreement, everyone involved gets a clear schedule for the project or campaign.
- Unconfirmed costs. Are you worried about negotiating invoices with freelancers—or concerned about how much to charge as a contractor? When you have an agreement in place, you can make sure everyone is on the same page about costs.
Because it’s an agreement between two parties, a social media contract protects everyone involved. That means it can provide a range of benefits to contractors and clients alike.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the positive outcomes a written agreement can achieve.
If you’ve ever tried to work with a social media contractor based off a handful of emails or a couple of phone calls, you know how tough it can be to keep everyone on the same page. A social media marketing contract clarifies all relevant terms, so both parties can set expectations.
You’ll know when to expect your contractor to provide deliverables—and exactly what they’re going to send. You’ll also be able to set up workflows that everyone can follow. Then you can keep campaigns on schedule and lower the risk of missing key launch dates.
As an agency or an employer, an agreement can help you understand what your obligations are to your contractors. In other words, you’ll know what kind of briefs, data, or account access you’re required to provide. So, your marketing efforts are more likely to succeed and your business relationships are more likely to flourish.
At the same time, a contract also specifies when and how much you’re obligated to pay social media contractors. That means your organization can budget accordingly while ensuring that you can still afford to run ad campaigns or pursue influencer partnerships.
Ideally, the social media freelancers you hire will work out perfectly, delivering top-notch work right on schedule. But that isn’t always the case, even if you vet candidates thoroughly or if you rehire contractors you’ve worked with before.
Typically, social media manager contracts are legally binding, making them enforceable. If a contractor doesn’t carry out their part of the agreement, you can hold them accountable. Then you can decide whether to allow them additional time or seek another resolution.
In the event that a partnership with a social media freelancer doesn’t work out as planned, a well-written social media manager contract template frees your organization from unnecessary liability. Most social media manager contract templates outline liability and confidentiality requirements so both parties understand their rights and responsibilities.
How can you prepare an agreement that protects your company and your relationship with freelance marketers? Use the items below to start drafting your organization’s contract template for social media managers, and then add other components as necessary.
Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to have your legal team review agreements before signing them or sending them to contractors. A legal expert can modify the social media manager contract to ensure that it’s binding and that it protects your organization’s investment effectively.
First, list the parties involved in the agreement. Every social media manager contract template should include two parties: the client and the contractor. Be sure to specify which party is the client (the person or organization paying for the services) and which is the contractor (the person or organization providing the services).
Provide as many identifying details as possible, including contact information.
Here are a few essential pieces of information to include:
- Legal names
- Mailing addresses
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
In most cases, you can state the legal name of each party once. Then you can indicate how you’ll refer to each party throughout the rest of the agreement. For example, your agreement might begin with: This social media manager contract is between [Contractor Name] (herein referred to as “Contractor”) and [Client Name] (herein referred to as “Client”).
2. Scope of work
Next, explain the scope of work. Arguably one of the most important parts of the agreement, this section details all the work and deliverables that the contract covers.
Clarify who’s responsible for each item, and be as specific as possible when describing each task.
Include as much detail as possible so you can avoid misunderstandings.
A clear explanation of the work involved can help your company or agency avoid scope creep while preventing your contractor from underdelivering.
Your scope of work may differ based on the nature of the project or campaign involved. But you can use these prompts to get started:
- Type of project, which could be developing a social media strategy, providing ongoing social media management, or running a paid social media campaign
- Channels the contractor will use or manage, from Facebook and Instagram to YouTube and Twitter
- Number of paid and/or organic posts the contractor will create each week or month or over the course of the campaign
- How many photos, graphics, videos, or Reels the contractor will produce—or if the client will be responsible for creative assets
- Maximum time that will elapse before the contractor responds to comments, direct messages, or other engagement
As you detail the scope of work, it’s also a good idea to outline the editing or approval process. If you need the contractor to provide one or more rounds of edits, get it in writing before asking for changes.
The scope of work should also include a timeline for the deliverables. You can list specific dates for a one-time project. For ongoing campaigns or recurring deliverables, you can state every Friday or on the last business day of each month.
3. Time frame and termination
Typically, the scope of work covers due dates for one-time and recurring deliverables. But it’s also important to specify the time frame for the entire contract. That way you can ensure that the project starts on time and concludes when you’d like it to end.
In your social media manager contract template, leave space for designating a start date and an end date. If the agreement involves a recurring relationship, indicate that the contract renews weekly, monthly, quarterly, or however often you’d like.
If the project is open-ended, you can omit an end date.
However, it’s important to clarify how either party can terminate the agreement. After all, not every client-contractor relationship goes as planned—even when you clarify the scope of work and set a firm start and end date. That’s why it’s a good idea to explain how, why, and when either party can terminate the agreement before the end date.
For example, the client may be able to terminate the agreement if the contractor doesn’t deliver within a set number of days past the deadline. Along the same lines, the contractor may be able to end the agreement if the client doesn’t pay within a set time frame.
If the agreement covers a recurring weekly, monthly, or quarterly relationship, it’s also a good idea to specify how much lead time either party has to give prior to terminating the contract. For example, you might require 30, 60, or 90 days’ notice.
In your social media manager contract template, you also have an opportunity to add a time frame for executing the agreement. Including an expiration date—such as a week or a month from the issue date—can be helpful for getting projects started on time and avoiding unnecessary delays.
Next, detail the fees and the payment structure. First, state the amount of the social media manager salary or project fee. Then clarify whether the contractor will receive a one-off payment or recurring weekly, monthly, or quarterly payments.
If the contractor needs to invoice the client, specify the deadline. For example, the contractor may need to submit an invoice within 30 days of completing the project.
Then state the payment terms, or the amount of time the client has to pay the invoice. For example, the terms could be 15, 30, or 60 days. If the contractor requires payment prior to starting work, the agreement should clarify these terms.
In some cases, the client may pay certain expenses for the contractor—such as software, hardware, creative assets, or travel. Be sure to outline all included expenses as well as any maximum amounts. Alternatively, state that the agreement doesn’t include any expenses.
5. Ownership and confidentiality
In most cases, social media content belongs to the profile that publishes it. But content ownership can be a gray area, especially if your contractor personally appears in the photo or video content.
To prevent misunderstandings and avoid unwarranted ownership claims later on, state who owns the content. For example, you might state, Contractor transfers copy and creative asset copyright to Client upon delivery.
In situations where the deliverable isn’t social media content, the contractor may retain copyright. For example, if the scope of work calls for training documents, you may need to clarify that the contractor owns the intellectual property (IP) even after delivery.
Whether you represent a brand or an agency, you undoubtedly have a lot of proprietary data to manage. To keep contractors from sharing your plans and processes publicly, include a confidentiality statement that prohibits contractors from disclosing proprietary information.
Then clarify the type of information the contractor must keep confidential. For example, you might list:
- Products under development
- Social media and marketing insights
- Financial data and business plans
Keep in mind that asking contractors to keep information confidential doesn’t prevent them from publicly claiming your business or agency as a client. If you don’t want contractors to disclose your relationship at all, you may need a separate non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
If you’ve worked in social media marketing for long, you know that it’s nearly impossible to guarantee results. Algorithms, seasonality, competition, and other factors can all affect the outcomes of marketing efforts.
But if you do require contractors to meet minimum requirements, you need to specify the metrics. For example, you might require a certain return on ad spend (ROAS) or purchase value for ad campaigns. Alternatively, if you accept that the contractor can’t guarantee results, clarify your understanding in the contract.
In case disputes arise between the two parties, it’s also a good idea to specify the jurisdiction that governs the agreement. That way you can clarify where you’ll handle any disputes.
In this section of your social media manager contract template, be sure to clarify how you’ll resolve or mediate any conflicts that may develop.
Finally, conclude the contract with space for both parties’ signatures. To streamline the process, send the agreement to the contractor to sign first. Then you can countersign the contract if and when you agree to the terms and want to start the project.
You could send a paper copy of your agreement or ask your contractor to print it out and sign it. But in most cases, it’s much easier for both parties to sign contracts digitally. One of these apps may work for your company or agency’s needs:
- Contractbook: With Contractbook, you can create social media manager contract templates that you can reuse or modify as necessary. This app also makes it easy to automate contract workflows based on updates to your contractor databases.
- DocuSign: This platform lets you collaborate with your team to initiate contract templates, add relevant details, and send for signatures. After executing contracts, DocuSign automatically notifies key members of your team to streamline onboarding.
- HelloSign: With HelloSign, you can create or upload contracts and send them out for legally binding signatures. This app also integrates with Dropbox and other apps so you can create and send agreements efficiently.
- PandaDoc: This platform makes creating contract templates super-simple. You can drag and drop contract elements into a template and customize the language for each social media marketing agreement. Like the other apps on this list, PandaDoc also integrates with dozens of apps to boost your team’s productivity.
Once you receive the countersigned agreement back from the other party, you’ll be ready to get to work. Then you can create a process to onboard contractors and tackle projects efficiently.
Creating a freelance contract requires a bit of an up-front time investment. But when you start with a free social media manager contract template, you can modify it as necessary and develop it into a document that works for your needs. Then you can reuse it every time you hire another contractor—without having to recreate it from scratch.
Remember to have your legal team review any agreements before you send or sign them. That way you can confidently hire freelancers and enhance your marketing team while protecting your brand and your investment.
Get started on saving time and energy in managing your clients’ Instagram accounts! Check out our free trial of Agorapulse to help you schedule, track, and measure all your social media efforts.