How to write a social media proposal

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”″ only_single=false style=”compact”]There’s an art to writing a social media proposal. It’s not as easy as telling someone what type of website you’re going to build or how many emails you are going to send out on their behalf. A social media proposal is about telling someone HOW you intend to help them define themselves online and begin the process of engaging with their customers.

What makes it tricky is that there’s a danger that you will go off half-cocked at this stage, happily listing all of the ideas you have about where their audience is, what tone-of-voice is effective, the content of their blogs. etc. This is bad in 2 ways:

  1. You are guessing. Until you sit down with your client and really explore what they do and where they’re headed you can’t make a professional attempt at working out what they should be doing.
  2. You’re giving away your services for free. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and you shouldn’t be surprised when you lay out an entire engagement strategy for free and then find that your client suddenly doesn’t need a consultant any more.

So what should your proposal look like?

Well, a good place to start is with your services. List out what you intend to provide. That may be branding services, strategy, training, comms planning, analytics, monitoring… this list goes on and you won’t be providing all of the above for every client. So lay out the ones that you do intend to provide.

Then explain HOW you are going to provide them. What steps are you going to take to come up with their social media brand? How are you going to undertake that analysis? Whatever the services are, make sure that you are clear and open about how you’re going to do your job. This is what you’re expecting to be paid for.

Finally, you’re going to need some metrics. Lay out some goals as you see them at this stage. Remember though that these may well change after you win the job. Be clear about how your activities can be measured against these goals. It might be and increased number of customer interactions, more online sales or an improved perception. It’s all valid but it needs to be laid out up front.


Leave this to the end. Be sure that your costs are clearly laid out and have individual tasks itemised. You want to be clear about what you are doing and how much you expect to be paid for it. In most cases you will be presenting a fixed price plan for what you’ve outlined but in some cases it’ll be a shot in the dark. I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure that your client understands the distinction.

Then send it

And good luck to you.


3 thoughts on “How to write a social media proposal

  1. A good example of how to approach a proposal – very well put and extremely useful if you’re in the business.

    Another point to make is that you’re allowed to ask the client questions – this ties in with a sit down with the client/prospect. It’s perfectly alright to query their brief, ask them specific questions and gain clarity on issues.

    It’s not a case of “here’s a brief – come back with a proposal” – it’s constructive 🙂

  2. Sitting down with a client is SO important – particularly when it comes to finding their voice and points of interaction online. I’d ask them to do a quick audit of what they currently do (if any) in social media or what their perceptions and expectations are *before* you see them.

    Strategy can only come from business intelligence and an assessment of their own internal resources as well as externals (the dreaded SWOT analysis).

    Taking the client through these rather than providing a package is important as no one social media strategy (just like a website) is going to be the same for different people.

    People first. Then from there you get messages, conversations and if well managed, positive outcomes.

  3. Thanks this is exactly what I was looking for. I have a client who requested a proposal, and I was thinking ‘uh-oh’.. lol. Does anyone have any decent templates or examples that they know of for ideas? Thanks!

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