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Let’s face it; the world is becoming increasingly digital.  Outsourcing business operations has become a norm. With the growth of the internet, many people are also becoming freelancers. In the U.S. alone, there are over 50 million freelancers. It's also estimated the online workforce across the globe produces approximately $2 billion yearly. Today, you can choose to offer clients services without following the conventional, traditional way of reporting to the office. As a matter of fact, you can work from anywhere, at any time, for anyone or any organization, doing just about any type of work. 

Social media has also become popular, but gone are the days when social media was only used for connecting with family and friends.  Nowadays, your social media is also used as a platform to look for and connect with clients. Through it, a great number of businesses have experienced growth and success. Social media are now recognized as an effective digital marketing channel whose power should be leveraged in achieving branding and marketing objectives.

A trend that has arisen with the increased use of social media for business-related purposes is that businesses are hiring experts for the task of marketing their offerings on social media and managing their social media accounts. Therefore, aside from the jobs that freelancers have been typically doing, such as content writing, application development, website design, marketing, accounts, and administrative support, many are now providing social media marketing and management services. 

Although this type of job may differ in some aspects with others, such as web design and software development; the fact that an agreement is entered into by a business and a freelancer makes a written contract necessary.  

A written contract plays a critical role in protecting the social media freelancer and the client. Notably, for involving work or more extended social media services engagement, signing a contract at the beginning is a must. If you are preparing such a contract for the first time, a social media contract template is worth buying.

Image Credits: imom.com

Why Use a Social Media Contract Template

Whether you are a consulting company or an individual freelancer providing skills to clients, your success will largely depend on your ability to convince them. After convincing them to give your business a chance you need a social media contract to cement the deal.  The contract should be as detailed as is necessary to provide adequate protection for you. This will not only smoothen the going as you provide the service, but also protect your interests. When the deal turns sour and has to come to an end, neither you nor your client will be adversely and unfairly affected as long as you get the social media contract bit right. A contract template will help you get it right.

Apart from the protection, a contract template will help cast you in good light before the client. It will help you demonstrate to the client how serious you are about the job. A well-made contract that takes into consideration all the important details of the deal, along with a convincing and appealing social media presence and a portfolio that highlights your strong points, will help you gain the client’s respect and trust. Below are things you should do and features that are crucial to an effective social media contract.

Social Media Contracting Best Practices

As a foundation for the whole deal, you need to be clear on the things that you can do. For those requirements that you are not confident about the meeting, you should have a plan on how you will handle them; whether it will mean subcontracting or learning to do it. With this clarity, you will be able to budget your time and money adequately and negotiate timelines and mounts to be paid fairly. This is important because once you prepare and present a contract and all parties sign it, you will be expected to deliver on your end of the deal. Ideally, this should actually be done right at the point where you are coming up with the proposal. Once you are clear on this, you can confidently get a social media contract template to help you in preparing your contract. 

Having covered the importance of having a social media contract, it becomes necessary to have a template stipulating the terms and conditions. A template makes things more manageable since the one doesn’t need to craft a new contract every time they sign a client. You can then customize the template for each job you take up.

Guidelines on What a Social Media Contract Template Should Have

A social media contract template covers the exact work that needs to be undertaken, liabilities, and payment terms and most importantly, the contract includes measures to be taken should the working arrangement culminate into early termination.

The question remains to be; how does one go about creating a decent, yet elaborate Social Media Contract template? If buying a contract template, what should one be looking for? Below, we take a look at necessary parts that need to be included in the template. 

Parties Involved in the Agreement

The first part should include the names, titles, and addresses of the parties entering into the agreement. This is the part that also clearly indicates the date of when the contract was signed. Care must be taken to get this part right and ensure that all the important details are accurate. Little mistakes in this area just as with the rest of the contract can drag back the contract signing part which will then affect the time taken to start the work. They can also cost you the protection you count on when you sign the contract.

Roles/Duties Undertaken

In this section, the precise roles and duties that each party is expected to undertake must be listed. If the social media management roles extend to regular posting to various social sites, record the number of times (daily or weekly), you will post.

List the number of sites to be posted on and indicate any extra activities that you will undertake. A well-defined social media contract template help’s one create a contract that gives the freelancer the power to accept or decline additional duties that at times crop up from the client haphazardly.

When such scope creep appears, the contract extends the freelancer leverage to charge an additional fee for the extra work. In the contract state how long and in what manner images and posts approvals will be delivered and passed.

For projects that require consultation work only, list the number of sessions the contract will cover. State the dates the consultation services will be undertaken and how your services will be scheduled and executed.

Image Credits: trufote.com

Contract Commencement and Termination Provision

Always indicate the dates the contract covers. Whether the contract runs month-to-month or if it’s open-ended; clearly spell out the activities that will lead to the contract cancellation on either end.

The amount of notice before termination of the contract must be clearly specified. Similarly, the deliverables that each party should provide at the point of termination should also be made clear.

Fees, Expenses, and Modes of Payment

Include the exact costs for services rendered and when and how payments should be made. For some freelancers, they include a 50% upfront payment before they commence the work and the remaining 50% after they finish their work in a given month. Others charge a full month upfront payment; they demand full payment to discourage clients who devalue or are not serious about their work. Whichever method you choose, it should be disclosed in the contract thus the template should provide for it.

Side Note

Having stellar invoicing systems helps freelancers avoid the issue of late payments. This, however, doesn’t guarantee that clients will pay on time thus so additional statements in the contract might be helpful. For instance, the social media contract should stipulate what happens in cases where payments are made late. A clause such as “When and if payments fall 14 days behind, work ceases until such a time that the payment is received”.

Another section of the contract template should cover extra fees for additional services such as; individual reporting tools, stock images, travel costs and various things that are outside the quote.

It’s in the best interest of the social media freelancer to incorporate all aspects that will be used in the social media costs. However, certain things/elements may require separate and/or additional prices.

Confidentiality/NDA

Included in the contractual template should be a statement declaring that the freelancer will honor the confidentiality of the company.

The statement acts as a non-disclosure agreement stating that the freelancer can only disclose the company issues any information upon written authorization.

The statement in part may include words and phrases such as “The freelancer will keep information, including financial information, business plans, company information, and analytics confidential, regardless whether or not the info is labeled “confidential information” at the time of its disclosure.” The template should have a section which indicates the party that retains the rights to the work done.

Naturally, the client (company) retains the rights the rights to the work, however, in some instances where, social media marketing and management freelancers have proprietary ways and tools of conducting their services it's essential that they indicate that the methodologies used are theirs.

Guarantee

This section is an important piece of protection for the freelancer and should be present in the template. Before guaranteeing results, consider that every business/company is different. Numerous business aspects such as the product, brand reputations, sales funnel and their website are beyond control for social media freelancer. Under this part, it’s best to state “No explicit results are guaranteed, only estimates.”

Mediation and Jurisdiction

It’s paramount to add a clause indicating where and how contractual disputes jurisdictions should and will be dealt. As fatalistic as this may sound, should it culminate to the point of mediation and jurisdiction, the provision will save the day!

The clause indicates that warring parties should attempt to resolve expeditiously disputes arising from or related to; performance, formation or termination of the social media contract. A sample clause is as follows:

“Parties undersigned in this contractual agreement will attempt to promptly resolve any dispute/controversy arising or relating to the performance, formation or termination of this Agreement; provided, in instances where the parties fail to reach a settlement amicably, such issues are to be submitted to binding arbitration before a single arbitrator to be conducted in (DATE, YEAR).”

Date and Signature

It’s important to leave ample space for the freelancer and client to append their signature to the contract.

For contracts carrying multiple pages, page numbers should be included to authenticate that nothing has been left out. If desired, each page should have space for initials. 

Optional Items

At this juncture, a basic contract template is complete and serves as a legally binding document.

However, for some freelancers, there’s need to include other parts/clauses to seal any loophole. One of the additional elements that need consideration includes the non-compete clause.

Non-Compete Clause

Sometimes, contractors feel the need to include a non-compete clause in the contract. This usually binds the parties from entering into business ventures that directly compete with the other party in the contract. This section is not always necessary, but if you feel the need to protect yourself from a client that you deem capable of doing this, it is important to get a social media contract template that includes it, or edit the one you one have to include it.    

Get Assistance If You Need To

Each Social Media Contract Template carries the weight of a properly drafted legally binding contract. There will be specific parts/clauses that you might edit from time to time when and if you sign new contracts with different parties. Even with the template, employing the services of an attorney to review your contract before you send it out to a client is highly advised.

There will likely be some back-and-forth between you and the client before the final copy of the contract is signed. This means that some details may change in the process; with some being removed and others being added. Therefore, it makes sense to either have a lawyer throughout the process or have them review the final copy before signing. This decision is of course up to you and will depend on whether you can afford it or not.  

In essence, contracts are not at all fun to work on. However, they are a necessary tool to protect a Social Media freelancer’s business and that of the client.  Sampling several Social Media Contract templates online to have guidance on what to include and how to structure and design the contract is highly recommended.

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