Social media management, once upon a time, was just a little side gig or something you’d ask your tech-savvy nephew to do. 

But times have changed, my friends, and it has now blossomed into a full-fledged career option! 

Social media is becoming more and more important, so businesses of all sizes are realizing how important it is to have a strong online presence. And that’s where social media managers come in, waving their digital wands to make a brand’s image shine.

Now, if you’re considering a career in social media management, you might be wondering, “Should I go freelance or join a company as an in-house social media manager?” 

Well, you’re in luck, because that’s precisely what we’re going to explore in this article. 

We’ll dive into the popular freelance vs in-house debate, the considerations you should weigh before making a decision, and how to choose the path that’s right for you. 

So buckle up, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and let’s get started!

Differences between freelance and in-house social media roles

Let’s start by breaking down the key differences between freelance vs in-house social media management roles, so you can get a clear idea of what each path offers. 

We’ll cover work arrangements, client bases, workloads, responsibilities, and the ever-important topic of income and benefits.

Work arrangement

When you go the freelance route, you’re essentially a one-person business. You work on a project basis and can have multiple clients at the same time. 

Freelance and contract work means you’ll have the flexibility to choose who you work with and the projects you take on. You’ll also have more control over your schedule, which can be a big plus for work-life balance.

As an in-house social media manager, you’re employed by a company and work either full-time or part-time. Your main focus is managing the company’s social media channels, and you’ll likely have a more structured work schedule. 

You might miss out on some of the freedom that freelancers enjoy, but in return, you get the stability of a consistent job.

Client base

As a freelance social media manager, you have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients from different industries and backgrounds. 

This can keep things interesting and help you build a versatile skill set. Plus, it’s an excellent way to network and make connections in various sectors.

When you work in-house, you’ll primarily work with one company and its brand. 

This can give you the chance to really get to know the company’s voice and messaging, allowing you to craft a cohesive and consistent social media presence. While you might not have as much variety, you’ll likely become an expert in your company’s niche.

Workload and responsibilities

As a freelance social media manager, you will be in charge of everything related to social media management, from planning to putting plans into action. This means you’ll need to wear many hats, including content creator, strategist, and analyst. 

It can be challenging, but it also means you’ll gain experience in a wide range of tasks.

In-house social media managers typically focus on executing the company’s social media strategy, with a defined set of responsibilities. 

You might have more specialized tasks, such as content creation or community management, and you’ll often work closely with other departments like marketing and public relations.

Income and benefits

The freelance life has the potential for a higher income, as you can take on as many clients as you can handle. 

However, it’s important to remember that you won’t receive benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, or paid vacation. You’ll also need to be prepared for the financial ups and downs that come with a fluctuating workload.

With an in-house position, you can expect a stable income and all of those benefits, and maybe some more! Plus, you’ll have opportunities for career growth within the company, which means increased earning potential and potenitally more stability.

While you might not make as much as a successful freelancer, the stability and perks can be appealing for many people.

Considerations for choosing between a freelance and in-house career path

Now that you know the main differences between freelance and in-house social media management, it’s time to weigh some important factors that can help you choose the path that’s best for you. 

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when making your decision.

Personal and professional goals

Think about where you want to be in the next few years, both personally and professionally. 

Do you have entrepreneurial aspirations and want to build your own business? Freelancing might be the way to go. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder and develop your career within a company, an in-house position could be a better fit.

Work style and preferences

If you thrive on independence, self-motivation, and the ability to juggle multiple projects, freelancing could be right up your alley. 

However, if you prefer a more structured environment with clear responsibilities and a team to collaborate with, an in-house role may be more suitable.

Financial situation

Freelancing can provide a higher earning potential, with some social media managers charging up to $100 an hour, but it comes with fluctuations in income and a lack of benefits. Make sure you’re comfortable with the financial risks and responsibilities of freelancing before diving in. 

If you prefer the stability of a consistent paycheck and benefits, an in-house position might be a better choice.

Work-life balance

When deciding between freelance and in-house social media management, work-life balance is an important thing to think about. 

Freelancing offers more flexibility in terms of scheduling, which can be great if you have family commitments or other personal priorities. However, it can also be challenging to separate work and personal life, as you might end up working at odd hours or taking on too much.

Most in-house jobs have more predictable schedules, which makes it easier to keep work and personal time separate.

Job security

In-house positions often provide more stability and job security than contract social media jobs, as you’re less likely to be affected by fluctuations in the market or changes in client demand.

If having a secure job is important to you, an in-house role might be a better choice. 

Still, building a strong freelance client base and network can help reduce some of the risks of freelancing, so if job security is a concern, don’t write it off completely.

Do some research

Now that we’ve shared the main differences for freelance vs in-house social media manager jobs, let’s look at some extra steps you can take to make an informed decision.

Evaluate your skills and experience: Take stock of your current abilities and experience in social media management. Do you have a diverse skill set that would allow you to work with different clients, or do you excel in a specific area that might be more valuable in an in-house position? If you’re just starting out in social media marketing with no experience, consider building your portfolio with some volunteering or mock projects first.

Research the job market and industry trends: Understanding the job market and trends in the industry can give you a better idea of the opportunities available for both freelance and in-house social media managers. For example, you could check the current rates for social media freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr. This information can help you gauge the demand for your skills and the potential for growth on your chosen path.

Identify your ideal work arrangement: Reflect on your preferred work environment and how much flexibility you want in your schedule. Knowing your ideal work arrangement can help you decide if freelance or in-house social media management is the better fit.

Consider the financial and practical aspects of each option: Consider how much money you could make, what benefits you could get, and how stable your income would be. Also, think about the practical aspects, such as whether you have a dedicated workspace at home for freelancing or if you’re willing to relocate for an in-house position.

Seek advice from other professionals and mentors: Talk to other social media managers, both freelance and in-house, and seek advice from mentors or industry experts. Their insights can provide valuable guidance and help you make a more informed decision.


At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to freelance vs in-house social media management. It all boils down to your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. The most important thing is to carefully consider your options and make an informed decision that aligns with your personal and professional aspirations.

If you find that an in-house position is the right choice for you, make sure to check out the hundreds of social media jobs on Social Rover! 

And remember, no matter which path you choose, the world of social media management is full of opportunities for growth and success. 

So go forth, and conquer the digital realm!