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How to Hire a Freelance Social Media Designer

Discover why hiring a freelance social media designer can help you develop a strong visual brand on social media.

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By Ana Simova
content writer at Ranking Press

Social media marketing has become an essential part of most businesses’ marketing strategies and with that, the demand for social media professionals is on the rise. In fact, social media jobs like content strategist and social media manager are gaining popularity day by day - and the social media designing job is one of them.

Every year more and more businesses decide to hire freelancers instead of in-house employees, Upwork and Freelancer being the two biggest platforms where you can find these professionals. The good thing is that everyone can create a profile as a client to hire a freelancer, and you can find and hire a social media designer in a matter of hours!

You can find all kinds of professionals on these sites, from programmers, internet marketers, and designers, to transcribers, writers, editors, SEO specialists, and more!

In fact, designers are one of the most represented freelancers on these platforms, and most of them specialize in different sub-fields. There are illustrators, packaging designers, visual identity specialists, publication designers and, of course, social media designers. But why does your company need a freelance social media designer?

Reasons to Hire a Freelance Social Media Designer

There are quite a few reasons why freelancers are so popular and attractive for businesses and start-ups, so let’s go over them.

Lower Cost

Limited resources is one of the primary reasons why many businesses and start-ups decide to hire part-time social media designers. The costs are much higher when working with in-house designers if we take into consideration the salary, office space, equipment, additional training, and so on, so not every company can afford them.

This is why many companies hire freelancers via websites such as Upwork, 99designs, and Freelancer for just a fraction of what it would cost them to employ an in-house designer . You can choose to pay them by the hour or you can offer a fixed price for a specific project. If you don’t like a candidate for any reason, you can hire someone else in a matter of hours without signing complicated contracts.

You’ll Save Time

If your business has a social media presence but you still haven’t hired a social media designer, we’ll assume that someone else in your company is managing the ads or creating the infographics. Maybe it’s your web designer, marketing expert, or even yourself. By doing your primary job and additionally designing graphics for your social media accounts, you are spending your precious time doing something that you are not an expert in.

When you get a freelancer to work on your social media designs, you are automatically saving your time and getting professional results . So, not only will you be more efficient in doing what you do best, but you’ll have amazing graphics done by a professional.

Professional Look

Social media designers’ job is to create professional-looking images, ads, and other necessary digital assets by elevating your visual identity and creating a unified look and feel. So, if you want to stand out from the competition and make your brand more noticeable on social media, independent designers are the right people for the job.

What if your business doesn’t have a specified color pallet, fonts, graphical elements, and style of photography and you’re not sure where to start? A social media designer can develop a strong visual identity for your brand, with your help, of course . All you need to do is tell him or her about your brand, what you expect, give him some ideas if you have them, along with examples, set some guidelines, and stay in close communication if you want to get the results you want.

Higher Engagement

Freelance social media designers can design great-looking covers, images, infographics, ads, or any other visuals you need for social media by analyzing your analytics. Knowing your audience and the types of posts that perform the best helps them create posts that’ll most likely have high engagement . So, giving them access to your analytics or sending them the necessary information can only benefit your social media presence.

What You Can Get from a Freelance Social Media Designer

So, what exactly can a social media designer create for you? Let’s see.

Profile Pictures

Every business on social media should have a great-looking profile photo. After all, it’s the most significant graphical element on any business Page or profile, so it’s important that yours looks impeccable.

Your profile photo is displayed both on your profile and your follower’s news feed when you publish a post, so it’s seen as both a small icon and a larger picture. A great profile photo should look good and be recognized in both big and small formats, and that’s exactly what a skilled social media designer creates.

Cover Photos

Due to its size, a cover photo is the most dominant visual element on your Page or profile. It should convey a message or tell a story about your brand, so a talented graphic designer will be able to create a captivating cover image that’ll grab your visitors’ attention from the start.

YouTube Graphics & Thumbnails

If you have a YouTube channel you know that video thumbnails are one of the most significant factors for having solid click-through-rates (alongside your videos’ content and titles, of course).

Since thumbnails are important for your videos’ success, and because YouTube has other graphics like a channel art image, a profile photo, and so on, you can speed up the growth of your channel if you hire a social media designer.

Images for Posts

You probably know that posts with images have higher engagement as opposed to text-only posts. Social media designers know how to create attractive images that’ll appeal to your audience and make sure they’re the correct size for all of your social media accounts.


Believe it or not, infographics usually have the highest engagement on social networks like Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. These informative graphics are sometimes funny, other times factual or instructional, and almost always the most viewed, liked and shared posts.

So, if you think that infographics can improve your content marketing, a skilled social media designer can definitely get the job done.

Digital Ads

If you advertise your brand on social media you’re aware that the image you use can make or break your ad. If it’s not visually appealing enough, users who see it will simply continue to scroll down, leaving your ad go unnoticed. This is why you sometimes need to ensure the effectiveness of your ads, especially when promoting a new product or a service, by hiring a professional to create awesome graphics for your advertising campaign.

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Where Can You Find and Hire a Freelance Social Media Designer?


Upwork is an amazing place where clients can hire freelancers from dozens of different industries. It was created in 2015 when two popular freelancing platforms (oDesk and Elance) merged together and rebranded as Upwork.

There are 12 million freelancers on Upwork and a high percentage of this number are graphic designers. They’ve now created the option for freelancers to make two specialized profiles (in addition to their general profile) so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

This makes Upwork worth checking out if you are looking to hire a social media designer, just check the ‘skills’ section on their profile and look for “social media”.


Freelancer is a freelancing platform similar to Upwork that represents freelancers from various industries. The process of finding a freelancer is nearly identical to that of their main competitor – Upwork. It’s a great place for finding social media designers given that almost one-third of their job requests are in the category of ‘design, media, and architecture’. Freelancer has around 20 million users (data from 2016) from more than a hundred different countries around the world, so just enter “social media designer” in their search bar and find your candidates.


This marketplace is a bit different than Upwork and Freelancer. Created with the sole intention to connect designers with clients, it might be easier to find a designer specialized in social media.

99designs was founded in 2008 and for a couple of years only offered design competitions. For example, if you wanted a logo for your business you had to start a logo design competition where up to 99 freelancers create a logo from your brief. The winner is the one the client chooses in the end and the whole budget goes to that designer.

However, 99design have redesigned their platform and now give you the option to search for and hire a social media designer directly from categories like “logo and identity”, “business and advertising”, “art and illustration”, etc.


Although this is not a platform for hiring freelancers, Behance has many designers who showcase their portfolio and previous designs on this site. Owned by Adobe, the company that created the most popular applications for graphic designers, Photoshop and Illustrator, this platform has plenty of ridiculously-talented individuals.

So, you can either enter keywords and find designers by discovering their creative works or you can browse the best designs by category. You can definitely find great social media designers here, but since this site is not a hiring platform, you’ll have to send them individual message or e-mail.

How to Evaluate and Select the Best Applicant?

After choosing a platform and creating a profile as a client, it’s time to publish a post with your job description and wait for freelancers to apply. You can either do this or contact the freelancers directly on UpWork and Freelancer, and only do the latter on Behance.

By typing “social media designers” on UpWork you’ll get the top designers on the platform.

If you publish a job post, expect dozens of freelancer applications. You’ll have a list of all the people who are interested to work for you, so you can easily review their profiles, read their cover letters, and see their pricing for the project.

You can choose to pay the one you hire by the hour or set a fixed price for the project.

To select the best applicant, you first need to carefully read their cover letters and see if they are written specifically for your job. It’s smart to avoid applicants who don’t personalize their letters since that’s the first sign of their amateurishness or laziness.

After you’ve eliminated those applicants, it’s time to open the profiles of those in your price range. You can see their portfolio and the previous projects they’ve worked on and see if they are experienced in creating images, ads, and other graphics for social media.

In the end, you should be left with a few best applicants for your project. They must have a solid rating, at least two or three completed jobs with reviews from previous clients, and some great designs in their portfolio. You can then select one or a few and start the interview process before deciding which social media designer is best for your brand.

Communicate and Negotiate

The third and last step is to interview the final candidates for your social media design project. If you’re looking to hire someone for more than one project or you need a full-time freelancer, it would be good to pick at least three applicants and interview them individually.

The interview can be in the form of text messaging, voice chat, or video call on Skype. This is entirely your choice just make sure to ask your potential employee any relevant questions for the position or project they’re applying.

Freelance Social Media Designer Interview Questions to Ask

Asking the right questions will evaluate which freelancer is best for the job after analyzing their portfolio and job history. Let’s give you some ideas.

Are You Working on Other Projects at the Moment?

Many freelancers work on multiple projects at the same time so this should be the first question to ask if you’re looking to hire a full-time social media designer to join your team.  

Can You Describe Your Design Process?

This is a great question to ask if you want to know how they work, but also to see if they are able to clearly state and explain their work process. This question may be especially relevant if you plan to hire a social media designer who’s not a native English speaker since the response will let you know if you two can easily converse with each other.

Why Did You Apply for This Job? What is Your Motivation?

Every client who’s looking for a graphic designer wants someone motivated, passionate, and enthusiastic about what they do. After all, some designers are not really into doing social media designs and prefer creating packaging designs for example. This is why asking your candidates about their motivation to apply is of great importance. Would you rather have a designer who’s in it just for the money or someone who’s actually passionate about doing social media graphics? It’s your call.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Social Media Designer?

Even though the most correct short answer would be that it depends, that’s not what anybody wants to hear. Let’s look at the different factors to consider when hiring a social media designer.

Hourly Rate or Fixed Price

There are two different paying methods to choose from when posting a job on freelancing platforms like Upwork or Freelancer. The method you choose will have an impact on the price so think well whether paying by the hour or paying a fixed price per project is more suitable for your budget.

Work Experience

The work experience of a social media designer is the most important factor that decides the cost. Designers who are only beginners in this profession are willing to lower their hourly rate in order to build experience and earn some money in the process, while more experienced designers, especially those who have worked in agencies or with relatively popular brands, will cost you considerably more.

Marketplace & Location

We know that many countries in the world have a much lower minimum wage than US or Canada meaning a lower cost of living as well. So, designers from the Balkan countries, for example, would cost considerably less than someone from a more developed country like Germany.

Lastly, when deciding how much to spend on a freelance designer, think in terms of high risk and high reward or low risk and low reward. If you pay less, you’ll have more chances to get less in return, but if you find some experienced freelance designer, you will have much more confidence in his/her capabilities, but you’ll pay significantly more. The choice is entirely yours.

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