With a plethora of digital marketing channels, platforms, and strategies, social media has become a must for small businesses and large companies alike. And, if you don’t have a well-executed...
How to Create an Efficient Social Media Approval Workflow￼
Social media specialists have a lot on their plate. Different social media platforms, creating social media strategy, keeping an eye on brand’s social media content – it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
That’s why having a smooth process for approving posts is so important. It helps you stay organized and makes sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Want to make your social media tasks easier?
Keep reading to find out how to set up a solid social media content approval process.
What is a social media approval process?
A social media approval process is a set of steps that a social media post goes through before it’s published. This process usually involves multiple team members, such as content creators, editors, and managers, who review and approve the content. An external social media approval process also includes multiple stakeholders or clients.
This way, you can be confident that what you’re posting on social media channels is the best it can be.
Types of social media approval workflows
Social media approval workflows can differ depending on many factors, such as the scope of team collaboration, the size of the organization, or legal requirements.
Below, you’ll find some types of social media approvals that you can mix and match, or adjust to your business needs:
- Optional approval: This is a flexible workflow where approval is not mandatory: so seek approval or go ahead and publish.
- Required approval: Every post must be approved by a designated person before it goes live.
- Multi-stage approval: Content approval processes consist of numerous layers, such as content creation, editing, and proofreading.
- Parallel approval: Specific team members review the content simultaneously. Once all give the green light, the post is published on multiple social media platforms.
- Sequential approval: Each social media marketing approval follows the next and is dependent on the previous.
- Automated approval: Any team member can automatically approve and schedule posts that meet predefined criteria.
In social media approval workflows, types of workflows are closely linked to levels of involvement, as you’ll discover in a few seconds.
How do you create a social media approval process?
No matter if you’re a solo social media manager or part of a larger team, having a well-defined approval process should be your core.
Here’s how to go about it:
Step 1: Make a master list
There’s no doubt that lists are the best friends of social media managers.
The list below is a starting point for building a social media content approval process. List a few directories and resources that you need for your social media approval process, such as:
- Names of clients – This helps you quickly identify which approval workflows are tied to which clients.
- Industry – Knowing the industry can help you group clients into workflow segments and, therefore, build similar approval procedures (e.g., in banking).
- Platforms – Specify which social media networks you’re using for each client.
- Profiles – List links to the social profiles you manage, in one place.
- Scope – Also, list out what’s included in the package for each client, including both deliverables and quantities.
- Approval requirements – Not everything needs a green light from the client or higher-ups, so divide your services accordingly.
- Content types – Indicate what types of content you will post and how many approval steps they may require.
- Deadlines and timelines – Include the expected time frames (SLA) for each approval stage.
- Contact information – List the contact details of everyone involved in the approval process.
Also, feel free to add any custom information that suits your workflow. Even if some details seem like a given, include them. It’s better to have them listed than look for them who-knows-where when you need them the most.
Step 2: Assign roles and responsibilities
Building on your master list, the next step is to clearly define who does what in your social media approval workflow. Understanding the strengths and preferences of your team members can help you assign roles that play to their strengths, making the process more efficient.
Examples of roles:
- Social media managers (SMM): These are the creators, the ones who draft the initial posts. Their role is first to create, but also to revise content based on feedback, and potentially publish when approved.
- Social media leader/supervisor (SML): They might provide initial approval or constructive feedback to the social media managers. They’re often the ones who set the tone and guidelines, and are on the front line of the internal communication.
- Account/Client manager (ACM): In agencies, this role serves as the point of contact with the client. They’re responsible for gathering client feedback and communicating it back to the team. They also brief social media leaders.
- Community moderators (M): They manage community interactions, responding to comments and questions on social media posts.
- Client (C): Clients should also have a role in your workflow, as they often have final approval and can provide valuable insights.
- Support roles (S): These are roles like graphic designers or data analysts who may not be consistently involved but are crucial for specific tasks.
Examples of responsibilities:
- Content approval: Different roles may be responsible for different stages of content approval, from initial drafts to final client sign-off.
- Client communication: Gathering feedback or seeking final approval, make sure you know who’s responsible for client interactions.
- Support and request tickets: Communicate changes and updates to support roles when they are needed.
- Crisis management: Designate who will be on call for urgent matters, whether it’s a weekend or after regular business hours.
In smaller teams, one person might wear multiple hats—managing social media, client communication, and even community moderation. In larger teams, these roles can be distributed more evenly for efficiency. Very often, they will overlap and that’s fair enough – the content creation journey is versatile!
Step 3: Take care of asset management
Whenever you send something for social media approval, it is an asset of some kind. Text, image, video, even a set of hashtags. That’s why it’s a good idea to build a central repository of all social media assets you use in social media communication so they’re always easily accessible.
Apart from social media content creatives, include materials such as:
- Brand books: Your brand’s bible that everyone should refer to.
- Graphic designs: All your visuals in one place.
- Templates: Pre-designed layouts for different types of posts.
- Passwords: Securely stored and accessible only to those who need them.
- Color palettes: Keep your brand colors consistent.
- Icon sets: For use across various posts and platforms.
- Vectors: High-quality images that can be resized without losing quality.
- Guidelines: Editorial and visual guidelines for content creation.
- Explainer videos: Short videos that explain complex topics simply.
Choose a cloud-based platform that’s accessible from anywhere but secure enough to protect sensitive information. The best social media scheduling tools also allow you to store creative assets in a built-in media library.
Step 4: Set timeframe & procedures
Every client, brand, or product, will have unique needs and preferences. Take note of these specifics, as they can significantly impact your workflow. For example, some clients may be more demanding, while others may be more flexible.
A few best practices to follow and check:
- The 5Ws: Clearly outline who is responsible for what, when it needs to be done, where it takes place, and why.
- Client “temperature”: If we’re talking about agency collaboration, is the client open to suggestions or do they strictly follow guidelines when it comes to creating social media content? Are they quick to approve or do they require multiple rounds of revisions?
- Approval channels: Some people may prefer email, while others may want to use a social media approval tool. Identify the preferred method for each profile you manage.
- Approval timeframe: Set clear expectations for how long each social media approval process stage should take. While everyone is busy, respecting each other’s time is a must-have for a smooth workflow.
Why to do all that? You’re adding the final layer of structure to your social media approval workflow. This time, more detailed and rules-based.
Step 5: Review and evaluation
Think of your social media approval workflow as a custom suit. It might look great on paper, but you won’t know how well it fits until you try it on. Get prepared for adjustments such as:
- Approval rounds: Too many rounds can create bottlenecks that slow down the entire process. If that’s the case, think about how to reduce the number of approval rounds.
- Staff turnover: It’s important to have a contingency plan in place when a key contact leaves.
- Unclear guidelines: Use clear, accessible guidelines that everyone knows – unless you love misunderstandings.
- Communication gaps: Ineffective communication channels can lead to delays.
- Extended approval times: Set clear timeframes for each approval stage and stick to them to prevent campaigns from being delayed.
Levels of social media approval workflows
A common misconception is that the social media approval process is solely an agency-client interaction.
In reality, there are various levels involving multiple stakeholders, each contributing to the quality and effectiveness of the social media content. Below, we explore these different levels in detail.
#1 Content creator level (specialists -> managers)
Content creators are often the first to draft social media posts. They can either work independently or collaborate with team leads for initial feedback. The focus is to produce content that is in line with the overall social media strategy.
Managers (different team members like team leads or editors) are then responsible for reviewing drafts for quality, accuracy, and alignment with brand guidelines. They can use social media management tools for streamlined approval, or manually review each post via email, or other internal communication channels.
If needed, this can go for further approval – even to C-level executives, as mentioned in the example below.
Example: A content creator drafts a Facebook post about an upcoming webinar.
An editor reviews it and suggests adding bullet points to highlight key agenda points, so that the audience can skim through the content. Furthermore, they suggest including a quote from the CEO of the company hosting the webinar.
CEO does not have time to create such a quote on their own, so the editor creates it and sends it to the CEO for approval, therefore adding another layer to the approval process.
#2 Legal or compliance level (managers -> legal dept)
In industries that are highly regulated (finance, banking, insurance – just to name a few), posts often need to go through a legal or compliance check. These checks can be conducted through secure channels or specialized software in order to ensure regulatory compliance.
Example: A legal advisor for a financial services company reviews a Twitter post to ensure it doesn’t violate any SEC regulations.
#3 Managerial level (managers -> team)
Managers or department heads are responsible for giving the final approval based on broader company goals and strategies. They can either approve posts individually or in batches, depending on the workflow and the importance of each post.
Example: A marketing manager reviews a series of Instagram stories for an upcoming product launch. They approve all the stories at once but suggest staggering their release for maximum impact.
#4 Client level (agency -> client)
In agency-client setups, the client often has the final say. They can get the posts via a social media management tool to approve directly, or have it sent by account managers or social media specialists for approval. Usually, the person dedicated for the contact from the agency’s side gets the content approved from the client.
Example: The client reviews a Pinterest pin and suggests changing the image to better align with their brand aesthetics. They also want to add a link that’s missing in the content plan, and UTM it with newly introduced parameters.
#5 Consultant level (Managers -> external consultants)
Sometimes, companies bring in external consultants for specialized advice, especially for campaigns that require niche expertise. These consultants review the content to check that it meets specific objectives or industry standards.
Example: A lawyer reviews a LinkedIn post about a company’s new legal initiatives in the DACH market. They suggest adding more statistics to bolster the company’s claims and make the post more compelling. They also recommend translating the post to German and offer their help with high-quality translations.
#6 Crisis management level (Moderators -> managers)
In times of crisis or sensitive situations, a specialized crisis management team may step in to review and approve posts. Since there is no room for mistakes here, the content must be sensitive, accurate, and aligned with the company’s crisis communication plan – and social media marketing moderators might not have enough information to craft it all themselves.
Example: During a social crisis – where the company is facing public backlash for a controversial statement, the crisis management team reviews a Twitter post meant to apologize and clarify the company’s position. They work closely with managers to check if social media content is carefully worded to mitigate further damage and keep brand’s voice intact.
Design the perfect social media approval process with Kontentino
Everything sounds great, and you’re eager to get started with your social content approval process. Now the question is… how? How to do it when you have more than one person in team, many stakeholders involved, no content approval workflow in place, and more than one social media platform to manage?
Kontentino can be the answer here.
Kontentino was born in a social media agency to meet the needs and struggles of social media manager teams, not only with scheduling content, but also with content approval and collaboration.
Here’s how you can take control over your social media workflow with Kontentino:
#1 Intuitive approval process
Do you need to approve content with everyone and their dog to get it approved?
Do you need a quick go ahead on brand voice from your boss?
Do you need your colleague to peer review your social media captions?
No matter what your use case is, Kontentino can make your life easier.
You can send single posts or whole content plans to your clients with just a few clicks to get their approval.
#2 Comments, tasks, and labels for better collaboration
Simplify, simplify, simplify! With Kontentino’s features such as comments, tasks, and labels, you, your entire social media team, or your clients, would have to try really hard to get lost.
#3 Live post preview
Sometimes, it’s hard to give an “okay” on something you can’t visualize, and that’s why mockups are important in any content approval process. Creating them from scratch is time-consuming, though. Creating content in Kontentino, you can see exactly how posts will look when they go live, without creating separate mockups, on multiple social media accounts.
#4 Post requirement checklists
Whenever you plan a post in Kontentino, you can create a list of all the required elements to cross off. This might include anything under the Sun, helping both you and your team stay on top of everything.
#5 Quick two-way communication
You can leave internal and external comments directly in Kontentino, access the conversation history, and check previous edits.
That perfect social media approval workflow can happen in a single Kontentino dashboard instead of multiple emails, attachments, and documents. From A to Z.
Why do you need social media approval?
A single post can make or break your brand’s reputation, so having an approval process is more than just a formality – it’s a necessity.
An approval process acts as a safety net, catching problems before it’s too late. Even if it’s only a typo, incorrect information, or a poorly chosen image, it can be costly. And when your social media posts are polished, it reflects well on your brand.
A well-defined approval process streamlines the workflow, so team members can collaborate more effectively. It sets clear roles and responsibilities, and everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, where, how, and when.
Being on the same page with your clients
An approval process is a communication bridge between you and your clients. As a result, there are fewer chances of misunderstandings and revisions since the client’s vision and the final output are in sync.
While it may seem counterintuitive (at least at first), an approval process can actually save time in the long run. When you reduce revisions and errors, you can get rid of the time-consuming and stressful process further down the road.
Once again: you need a social media approval process
…and a social media approval tool. *
Managing social media content approval can get messy, especially when you’re juggling multiple social media channels and so many team members. That’s where social media management tools come in handy. They simplify the content creation process and make it easier to keep track of who’s doing what.
With a solid content calendar, you can plan out your social posts, create content approval workflows and get it all sorted without the last-minute rush. This is a game-changer for any marketing team aiming for a consistent posting schedule.
Social media approval tools often come with features like social media content calendar wizards, making it even easier to organize your social media presence.
* So, whether it’s version control or a flexible approval workflow you’re after, everything’s easier when you’ve got the right social media management platform. Kontentino can make your publishing process and social media approval processes as simple as never before.