5 Types of Social Media Approval Workflows (+ Step-by-Step Creation Guide)

Umme Sutarwala

February 22, 20248 min read

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You’ve spent hours crafting the ideal social media post, only to discover a glaring error after hitting "Publish." What do you do? Such mistakes can prove costly, that's why an efficient social media approval workflow is vital to ensure that none of your posts ever harm your brand reputation.

To ensure your social media content aligns with your brand guidelines and meets regulatory necessities, it’s crucial to have an efficient approval workflow in place. Your company may also save time, maintain consistency and mitigate possible public relations (PR) disasters using a powerful social media approval workflow.

This blog will guide you through creating such a streamlined social media approval workflow for your business.

Table of Contents

What is a social media approval workflow and why is it important?

The creation, evaluation, approval and publication of content on a company's social media pages are all governed by a standardized system referred to as a social media approval workflow.

A social media approval workflow makes sure the content, before being shared with the public, complies with the company's branding, legal and message guidelines. Multiple stakeholders, which include content creators, managers, legal professionals and senior management, often take part in this workflow and contribute to the approval of the content.

How does it help brands?

  • Brand consistency: Maintaining brand consistency is made easier by a social media approval workflow. It ensures that all posts adhere to the established guidelines, tone and messaging, which raises brand awareness and builds trust.

  • Risk mitigation: It is crucial to ensure that content adheres to the guidelines, avoiding potential legal issues and safeguarding the brand's reputation.

  • Quality control: Before content reaches the public, review processes help find errors, inconsistencies or tone-deaf content. This upholds morality and professionalism.

  • Efficiency: A well-organized workflow streamlines content creation by specifying clear steps, roles and approvals. This minimizes delays, improves communication and ensures efficient collaboration, resulting in timely and high-quality content delivery. It ensures that posts are generated quickly and do not get bogged down in a lengthy approval process.

  • Crisis management: Effective crisis management relies on well-defined strategies, enabling rapid identification and resolution of issues. A streamlined process ensures proactive handling, preventing escalation and minimizing potential impact on the organization.

Learn More: Impact of social media marketing on businesses

Benefits of an efficient social media approval workflow

Efficient social media approval workflows offer multiple benefits, such as:

  • Compliance and legal safety: Content approval workflows ensure that all social posts abide by the law, business guidelines and copyright laws. This reduces the possibility of legal problems and protects your company’s reputation.

  • Improved content quality: The quality of content goes up because of a comprehensive review process that identifies errors, inaccuracies or offensive information before it reaches your target audience. This upholds your brand's credibility and encourages professionalism.

  • Teamwork: Collaboration in social media approval workflows thrives on teamwork, where various contributors unite, communicate effectively and offer unique perspectives. For instance, a marketing team collaborates to craft engaging content for a new product launch.

  • Data-driven decision-making: To enhance the analysis and enhancement of your social media efforts, incorporate performance analysis and data collection into your approval processes. This will provide valuable insights into the efficiency of your strategies, facilitating informed enhancements.

Learn More: How to create a social media marketing strategy from scratch?

Types of social media approval workflows

Select the appropriate social media approval workflow for your company by considering factors such as its size, objectives and content type.

Here are some common types:

1. Centralized workflow: In a centralized workflow, approval decisions usually come from a specific team. This approach ensures a consistent and controlled process, allowing for streamlined management and oversight.

  • Ideal for: Ideal for small to medium-sized companies with just one marketing team

  • How it operates: A central marketing team or a specific social media manager oversees all content creation and approval

  • Advantages: Consistency is ensured; it is streamlined and efficient for smaller enterprises

2. Hierarchical workflow: Hierarchical workflows involve a tiered structure where approval progresses through various levels of authority. Each level reviews and approves content based on their designated roles, ensuring a systematic and structured validation process.

  • Ideal for: Bigger businesses with multiple departments and regions

  • How it operates: Content is suggested at different organizational levels, such as regional offices and is subject to higher levels' approval

  • Advantages: Maintains brand consistency while allowing modification for various areas

3. Collaborative workflow: Collaborative workflows inspire input and approval from various stakeholders. Team members work collaboratively to review and refine content, fostering cooperative surroundings that incorporate various perspectives and understanding.

  • Ideal for: Businesses that value cooperation and teamwork

  • How it operates: A cross-functional team works together to create and approve content, ensuring a variety of viewpoints

  • Advantages: Promotes unique ideas and might result in greater resourceful content

4. Automated workflow: Automated workflows leverage technology to streamline the approval system. Using predefined guidelines and triggers, content moves through the approval tiers with minimum manual intervention. This technique complements performance, reduces delays and guarantees consistency.

  • Ideal for: Businesses that publish a lot of content

  • How it operates: With little to no human involvement, content is automatically declared legal based on predetermined policies

  • Advantages: Quickens the content publishing procedure, mainly for frequent posts

5. User-generated content workflow: Specifically designed for content generated by users, this workflow involves a structured approval process for posts created by the audience. It may include moderation to ensure compliance with brand guidelines and maintaining a balance between user engagement and content quality.

  • Ideal for: Companies that depend on user-generated content

  • How it operates: A dedicated team collects, filters and approves user-generated content 

  • Advantages: Uses user-generated content while making sure it is consistent with the brand

Learn More: How to leverage user-generated content to drive engagement & conversions on social media?

How to create a social media approval workflow

Creating a social media approval workflow includes several key steps to ensure a systematic and efficient process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Define roles and responsibilities

Clearly outline the duties of each team member involved in the social media process. You need to designate roles for content creation, modification and final approval to ensure a smooth workflow. 

  • Content creators: These people are liable for developing social media content that consists of text, photos and videos that pop up on social media

  • Content reviewers: This group assesses content for legal compliance, accuracy and adherence to branding guidelines

  • Approvers: These individuals have the final say about whether the content has been approved for publication

💡 Pro Tip: To ensure readability and alignment inside the team, it's vital to assign roles and duties for content creation, evaluation and approval. Also, you should ensure that each team member is on the same page and has a clear understanding of their specific roles.

Step 2: Establish approval guidelines

Every organization must lay down clear guidelines for what comprises approved content. You must clearly define the brand voice, messaging and any regulatory or compliance needs. Having those guidelines in place helps streamline decision-making during the approval technique. 

  • Branding guidelines: Describe the colors, fonts, voice that make up your brand's identity

  • Legal compliance: Ensure that the content complies with any copyright, trademark and sector-specific guidelines

  • Crisis management: Describe the steps to take in the event of a crisis

💡 Pro Tip: You must clearly explain what constitutes appropriate content, along with branding, tone and compliance requirements, in your brand style guide.

Step 3: Select a platform for collaboration

Choose a collaborative platform or project management tool that facilitates communication and document sharing. This platform should centralize discussions, feedback and the approval process, fostering efficient teamwork.

  • Tools like Trello or Asana can make collaboration simple

  • Consider using technologies that provide functions like integrated approval tracking, file sharing and task assignment

💡 Pro Tip: Use collaboration tools to streamline approvals and communication, regardless of team members' locations.

Step 4: Put a content calendar into action

Implement a content calendar to plan and schedule social media posts. This not only helps in maintaining a consistent posting schedule but also provides a visual overview of upcoming content, aiding in better coordination and planning.

  • Combine sponsored and owned activities on one platform for efficient campaign planning, reducing duplication and ensuring on-target messaging across all channels.

Pro Tip: Keep a social media content calendar to plan content and make sure it complies with your entire marketing strategy.

Step 5: Establish an approval process

Clearly define the steps involved in the approval process. From the creation of content to its final posting, outline how content moves through each stage, including who reviews it and when.

  • Design a simple procedure for the submission and evaluation of content

  • Establish deadlines for each stage and ensure that your content is approved on time

Pro Tip: Automate approval procedures to accelerate the process and eliminate bottlenecks.

Step 6: Track and evaluate your performance

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your approval workflow. Monitor key performance indicators, identify any bottlenecks or delays and adjust as needed to enhance efficiency and overall social media performance. Regular evaluations ensure continuous improvement in your workflow.

  • Track interaction and conversion rates using tools like marketing analytics or social media platform analytics

  • Make workflow adjustments based on data-driven insights 

Tools to streamline social media approval workflow

Below is a list of popular tools that can streamline your approval workflow.

1. Sprinklr: Enhance social media team efficiency with AI-driven conversation suggestions, integrated bots and social listening tools across 30+ channels for optimal engagement.

Pros: Sprinklr Social enables smooth customer engagement across various digital channels, ensuring a consistent brand experience across online platforms and improved customer satisfaction.

2. Trello: Trello's boards and cards can be used to facilitate social media content approval. By visualizing the approval process, Trello provides a straightforward and consistent way to manage content.

Pros: Intuitive Kanban boards for visual workflow management.

Cons: Limited advanced features compared to comprehensive project management tools.

3. Asana: Project management tools for social media approval workflows are available in Asana. Teams can use it to keep track of content-related tasks, due dates and approvals.

Pros: Robust task management with collaborative features.

Cons: Steeper learning curve for new users.

4. Later: Later focuses on the scheduling of visual content for social media. By providing a user-friendly interface and collaboration capabilities, it streamlines the approval process by assisting teams and ensuring that content meets the desired standards.

Pros: Visual content scheduling for Instagram and other platforms.

Cons: Limited features for overall project management beyond scheduling.

5. CoSchedule: CoSchedule streamlines the marketing campaign approval process by providing a shared calendar, automating approvals and tracking content updates. This ensures campaign consistency and maximizes exposure.

Pros: Comprehensive marketing calendar with social integration.

Cons: Can be pricey for small teams or individual users.

6. Zoho Social: Zoho Social is a collaborative platform that helps with content creation, evaluation and scheduling. It ensures that your content reflects your objectives and keeps your social media efforts on track.

Pros: Integrated suite for social media management and collaboration.

Cons: It may have a steep learning curve for users new to the Zoho ecosystem.

7. Wrike: Wrike is a flexible project management program. It simplifies social media approval operations by enabling teams to set up unique approval processes. Teams can seamlessly operate on social media initiatives to accomplish goals like content quality control and timely publishing.

Pros: Advanced project management capabilities with customizable workflows.

Cons: Feature-rich, potentially overwhelming for simple social media approval workflows.

8. Planable: Planable is a platform that simplifies group content approval for maintaining a consistent brand image. It streamlines content assessment and feedback, allowing teams to communicate, exchange ideas and organize social media postings more effectively. This not only saves time but also reduces errors.

Pros: Visual preview for collaborative content approval.

Cons: May lack the depth of features compared to more comprehensive project management tools.

9. Smartsheet: A work management platform that can be customized for social media approval workflows. It makes it easier to organize content calendars and goals, which improves team visibility and coordination.

Pros: Powerful spreadsheet-based collaboration for project management.

Cons: Interface may be less user-friendly compared to dedicated project management platforms.

Final thoughts

To effectively manage your brand's social media presence, establish a clear social media approval workflow. This workflow helps maintain brand consistency, minimize risks and ensure high-quality content. By choosing the right workflow for your company, you can streamline your social media marketing efforts, enhance collaboration and successfully engage with your target audience.

Sprinklr’s content marketing platform automates approval workflows and eliminates bottlenecks. With Sprinklr, each campaign component goes through the necessary steps of creation, approval and publishing before reaching customers.

Book a demo today to enhance your workflow efficiency with Sprinklr.

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