The best freelance social media contract template should include the following:
- Introductory statement.
- Terms and conditions.
- Scope of the project.
- Changes and revisions conditions.
- Ownership/ copyright.
- Termination of the project.
- Legal disclaimer.
Do social media freelancers need a contract? I’d say yes. Just like social media managers who are permanent employees with employment contracts, freelancers need one too. I have heard complaints such as non-payments, changes and revisions, and so many others from freelancers. You can avoid this if you have a contract in place.
So, what’s a contract? Why should you have it? And what should you include? You could be asking yourself this already. I’ll save you the hassle, though.
In this article, you will get answers to each question about contracts for freelance social media managers.
We are here to help you be the best social media manager. We at Bawabba believe in the power of having a contract in place with every client you work with. And executing a contract is one of the most important steps you can take in 2021 as a social media freelancer to create long-term relationships with clients.
A freelance contract is a document that defines the nature of social media project or position in a company. It provides a mutual understanding of the project’s scope, payment details and schedules, ownership of work, and termination of the freelancer-client relationship policy.
The document sets clear expectations between two parties on a specific project.
As a social media freelancer, you need a contract for the following reason:
1. For professionalism
A contract gives you long-lasting confidence when dealing with your clients.
Lack of a contract creates miscommunication and misunderstanding among both parties. It gets worse since it creates an impression of a lack of professionalism on your part.
To avoid such, you need to have your contract template to modify to suit the new client’s requirements.
Having a contract makes the client feel the project is well taken care of. It gives a client peace of mind, a clear understanding of the scope, and a place to start a conversation if some things don’t go as planned. In addition, a contract goes a long way to instill trust between the brand and the social media freelancer. It protects both of you and builds mutual respect.
2. A contract gives clarity
While a proposal may give your potential client a basic understanding of how it will look like hiring you to manage their social media presence, a contract clarifies what to expect from you, when to expect, and the cost.
Here is why; people tend to forget verbal agreements. So, to avoid misunderstanding, freelance social media managers are encouraged to execute a contract before gaining access to the new client’s social media accounts.
3. It spells the scope of the project
Once your new client has accepted your proposal, be sure to add the scope of your work to your contract to prevent scope creep.
And this brings us here; what is scope creep?
It’s when a client asks you to perform a task outside what you had agreed upon.
A client might ask you to do an extra thing then it turns into a whole project without payment.
If you’ve been in such a situation before, you are not alone. It happens to most freelancers out there. If you want to prevent such situations, then copy the scope of your work as written in the proposal. If a client asks you to do more, refer them to the contract and let them know it’s outside the scope. However, you can perform the task at an additional fee if your client is okay with it.
Also, you may add what you cannot do on your contract. This may be unprofessional, but trust me, this leaves no room for misinterpretation from the clients’ end.
4. Contracts specify payment options and prevent late or non-payment
Did you know some social media freelancers struggle with getting paid?
If you had no idea, then it happens. Some clients pay late. Some Of them disappear after you’ve submitted the project.
Spelling the payment options and payment deadline in your contract will protect you and allow you to be paid for work done.
You can also include the following for depending on your project;
- Upfront cost as a strategy.
- Monthly retainer fee
- Hourly rate – for additional out-of-scope work.
- Payment deadline.
- Fines in awe of late payments.
- Non.- payment penalties.
Including all this in your contract brings more clarity. There will be no room for misunderstanding. Is that not how you like to work? If yes. Execute your contract now.
5. A contract keeps lines of communication open
If you have been a freelancer for a while, you know some terrible clients are difficult to work with. But, you also know, good clients have bad days or even weeks. And while you can love your good client even on rough days, you are not a charity.
Be specific on what you offer, and deliver it.
Also, ask your client to specify their needs and deliver that.
If things change as per the scope, adjust it with the terms of the contract in mind.
Shift when things change in their business. And to do this peacefully, you need clear and open lines of communication.
And this is where a contract comes in.
In your contract, specify the means of communication, whether it be through email, zoom, or phone call. Whatever the best type of communication that works for both of you, use that.
Communication will do a lot in keeping everything on track.
6. The contract limits legal liability on your part
Things do go wrong all the time. Having a contract limits your legal liability should something happen. It’s social media, and what they own is a social media account. You don’t own Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. So in case their Twitter account gets suspended, or you share something on your client’s channel that copyrighted by no fault of your own, the contract limits legal liability on your part.
Thus, executing your own contracts limits your legal liability should something go wrong.
7. The contract provides legal enforceability
Should something go wrong between you and your client, your contract gives you legal enforceability. In case of late payment, you have a recourse to ask for late payment fines.
A contract gives you confidence and a starting point to file a lawsuit in case of no payment. Without a contract, there is no way you can go after the money owed to you.
What do you include in a contract?
You don’t need to be a lawyer to execute your contract. You can simply create your contract by clearly including the following;
1. Introductory statement to your contract
This part is pretty simple. It introduces the main parties to the contractual agreement and offers a short overview of the agreement. The section establishes both parties’ designations as they will be referred throughout the contract.
The overview describes what you will be doing for the client, which is managing their social media presence.
You will include a mutually agreed upon starting date when you will begin the actual work. However, in most cases, the start date is the day your client signs the contract.
The purpose of this section is to ensure you know who you are working with and that you understand the expectations so that nobody gets a surprise.
2. Terms and conditions
Freelancing has freedom. However, you are on your own. For this reason, you can’t afford to allow any confusion about the critical expectations with your client, whether it is a task you are expected to accomplish or the tools you are supposed to receive to achieve the job.
This section clearly states the expectations.
You can begin your terms and conditions by establishing what you want in your client. You can include the agreed level of payment, how it should be paid and when payment should be made.
You can agree on an hourly rate or payment by the project. Clearly stating the payments rate can prevent any potential disagreement should a client decide to pay less than the agreed amount.
If you agree to an upfront fee, followed by a milestone fee, outline these milestones clearly in your contract. You don’t need to include lots of information, just enough to clear out the confusion.
For large projects, you can include milestones, especially if they have different delivery dates. In case you include any add-on services, specify them in this part of the contract.
3. Scope of the project
Scope creep can be frustrating. Nobody likes scope creeps. And more, no one enjoys doing add-on services with no payment. The good news is, you can avoid scope creep if you include the scope of your project in the contract.
Even if you love your client and don’t mind doing a little extra bit to make the project turn awesome, some add-ons can turn projects independently. It’s the reason you need a fine line there. After everything, you will realize you’ve done tons of work for free. Remember, you are working with your client and not for your client. So, they should not expect anything for free.
A contract will provide evidence to prove that the work is outside the agreed scope. Also, you can include additional hourly rates for any job done outside the area. By establishing a clear area, you establish an ending for the freelance contract.
4. Changes and revisions
This is another section where you will deal with requested changes and revisions to your original contract.
Most clients will be reasonable about changes and revisions. But, If you are dealing with a terrible one, a contract comes in handy.
A client may request changes based on the circumstances that have shifted on their end. However, some of them- especially perfectionists, will consistently want you to change their work. All that for free.
This is how you can handle revisions;
- If a client wants a minor revision that doesn’t consume your time, make changes per their wish.
- If a client wants you to shift the direction of the entire project, when you are halfway done, you have to make it clear that they have to pay for work done before changing direction.
- In situations where editing is needed, state the number of edits you will do within a set of days after the delivery date.
Not getting payment after you deliver a project is painful. Just like other employees, we freelancers have bills to pay too. To avoid confusion, you will want to explain the entire payment structure for a project.
You will want to explain the cost of each deliverable, milestone, or the whole project.
When the client is expected to pay, if the payments will occur in installments, specify the frequency of installments. You will have to specify the payment system to use, whether it be PayPal, Payoneer, skill, or any other method.
In your contract, you can specify what will happen in the case of late payments or non-payments. Specify fees for requests associated with changes, revisions, or add-on services.
This may be the longest and most important part of the contract template. But, it’s worth it.
6. Ownership issues
As a freelance social media manager, you are hired to complete a project for a brand or client. Typically, this means the work belongs to the client. Some clients do have their copyright contracts. It’s okay if they do. But always have yours in place.
Still, if you work for a client who doesn’t stipulate ownership of the work, then it means the work belongs to you even if you are paid unless you release the work to the client.
This part is short and straightforward; all you need is to establish a clear transfer of ownership after you are paid for the project
7. Termination of the project
Sometimes you get into a project, but you realize it’s not going to work for one reason or another. This might be about the work itself or tensions in the client-freelancer relationship. You may also want to terminate the project because of personal issues. Your contract should state the conditions under which both of you can end the contract. In your agreement, indicate the circumstances which can be considered grounds for termination:
- How much notice or amount of warning must be given before terminating the contract.
- Termination fees. In some instances, it may be best to charge a fee for terminating the contract early. This might apply regardless of the circumstance of termination.
8. Legal disclaimer
As a social media manager, you build social media presence for a company. So, if anything goes haywire, the client might blame you. A contract clears all liability the client might blame on you. The liability may include loss of profits if you market their products or even suspended social media accounts.
In case of such issues, you are covered if you’ve got a contract.
9. Signature area
A contract is sealed with a signature. You can get digital signatures directly within a Google document, email with scanned signatures, or use a free online signature maker.
The section is simple, as stated. Indicate signature and date lines for both you and the client. Seal the deal and enjoy a long-term relationship with your client.
Social media contract templates are essential tools for any social media freelancer. It protects the interest of both you and your client. I hope this guide has been helpful, and you’re already thinking of creating your template.
Execute your contract now and enjoy a long-term relationship with your client from great freelancing sites and job boards.