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7 Essential Clauses of a Social Media Manager Contract

Essential Terms of  Social Media Manger contract - close up image of woman typing on phone

Are you a social media manager looking to establish a clear and comprehensive contract with your clients? Look no further - I’ve got you covered!

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the essential elements of a social media manager client contract that you absolutely should have in place in your business. I’ll break down the importance of defining project scope (whether a it's a one-time strategy session or ongoing retainer), establishing deliverables and timelines, outlining payment terms, and including necessary legal clauses in your contract.

Whether you’re a solo social media manager or in the process of building an agency, the foundation of great client relationships remain the same:  clear, transparent communication and  a great client contract

If you're thinking "I already KNOW I need a new contract, just send me there - grab your lawyer-drafted Social Media Client Contract Template here.

 

The Importance of a Social Media Manager Contract

Creating a solid contract is key for any social media manager, as it sets clear expectations and protects both parties involved. Social media is constantly changing and it's so easy for the scope of work to get bigger and bigger as platforms and algorithms change. Whether we like it or not.

A well-drafted contract outlines the responsibilities of each party, the scope of work, deliverables agreed upon, payment terms, and more. All of this works to reduce the risk of disputes and miscommunication - which is why it is important that your contract be thorough. 

Having a contract in place means that if there is uncertainty or a dispute at any point in your relationship, you have something (in writing!) to refer back to. 

Key Elements to Include in a Social Media Manager Contract Template

There are many important clauses included in a solid social media manager contract (which you can find in our Social Media Manager Contract Template). I’m breaking down a few of the key elements here, but know this isn't a full list - it's just a starting point!


1. Scope of Work and Responsibilities

Defining the scope of work clearly in your social media manager contract is crucial to avoid any confusion, misunderstandings, or the dreaded scope creep. This section of your contract should clearly outline the services you will provide as a social media manager, including the social media platforms you’ll be managing, tasks such as content creation, posting schedules, community management, and analytics reporting. 

It is important to be as specific as possible to set clear expectations for both parties. With the ever-changing landscape of social media, new trends, and new platforms, scope creep is the number one issue.  Setting clear boundaries and expectations from the start is key as well as being clear with your client when requests come in that they fall outside of the services they are paying you for. 

Additionally, this section should outline the responsibilities of the client, such as providing access to social media accounts, sharing necessary information, and timely approval of content. In a lot of situations, you can't do your job, without gettin information and assets form your client. 

Clearly defining responsibilities ensures that both parties understand their roles and can work together effectively. It's literally the not-so-secret key to success!

 

2. Payment Terms and Conditions

The payment terms and conditions section of your social media manager contract should include details such as any upfront retainer or deposit, the payment amount, frequency of payment (e.g., monthly or per project), and preferred payment method. Specify any additional fees, such as rush charges or late payment penalties. 

To protect yourself as a social media manager, consider including provisions regarding late payments or non-payment. Clearly outline the consequences of late payments, such as suspension of services or termination of the contract. Including these terms will help ensure that you receive timely compensation for your work.

Also, if your contract states that you stop work when payment is late - make sure you do! You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve worked without getting paid. Stick to your contract terms and those boundaries. This is a muscle that gets easier the more you use it. Trust me on this. 

 

3. Ownership of Content and Intellectual Property

Clearly defining ownership of content and intellectual property is crucial in a social media manager contract. Most clients likely expect that they own the deliverables made on their behalf, but if you deliver content strategies, content posting prompts, or calendars, it is essential that you carve out and retain the copyright ownership that prevents your client from repurposing, sharing, or selling these kinds of deliverables.  

This is vital to discuss with your client up front to ensure that you are both on the same page with who owns what.

Another often overlooked copyright piece is to also ensure your client understands they are responsible for making sure they have full copyright ownership or a commercial license for content they want used in their socials. This includes brand photos, fonts, etc. It’s also a great idea to retain the right to use the content in your own business portfolio and for your own marketing purposes. 

Include a clause in your social media manager contract that protects your intellectual property rights, stating that the client cannot reproduce, distribute, or modify the content without your permission. This ensures that your work is protected and cannot be misused without your consent. This can be a tricky clause to navigate, but you want to make sure it's clear and reflects everyone's expectations. 

4. Termination and Dispute Resolution Clauses

Including termination and dispute resolution clauses in your social media manager contract provides a clear roadmap for resolving conflicts and ending the professional relationship if necessary. Specify the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract, such as breach of contract, non-payment, or failure to meet agreed-upon deadlines.

Whether you want to think about it or not, all relationships eventually come to an end, even an amicable one! Make sure you have clear notice periods for each party, so no one is left hanging and a clear method for off-boarding. This is an internal process that is better to have in place before you need it. 

Other Important Terms for Your Social Media Manager Contract Template

While the key elements listed above are absolutely essential, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when drafting your social media manager contract. 

5. Contract Term

Specify the duration of the contract, whether it's for a fixed term or ongoing until either party terminates. 

6. Guarantees

If applicable, include a service-level agreement that defines the expected performance metrics, such as response time, engagement rates, or follower growth. If you don’t provide this, it’s important to state that you don’t provide guarantees to your clients. Don't set yourself up to fail!

7. Changes and Amendments

Outline the process for making changes or amendments to the contract, ensuring that any modifications are agreed upon in writing by both parties. Verbal agreements just don’t cut it here. I always recommend using an Amending Agreement. Emails get lost and deleted!

 

Your client contract is often one of the first impressions your client gets about the quality of work you can deliver, so make sure it's reflective of your professionalism and quality of work.  I know I'm biased, but I've definitely picked one freelancer over another, because of typos, mismatched definitions and just poor writing quality of their contract. It just didn't leave me feeling confident about their attention to detail. 

One of the benefits of using a lawyer-drafted contract is that it helps you consider and establish your own business policies and procedures before issues arise. It’s a great way to set a professional tone with new clients, and a strong foundation to grow your client relationships and business.

If you’re a freelance social media manager or are growing and scaling an agency, make it a priority to get a solid contract in place. Check out my Social Media Manager Contract Template and Social Media Manager Contract Template Bundle, which includes the clauses and terms set out above, and so much more. 

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