5 Ways To Create A Streamlined Social Media Approval Workflow

February 25, 2022
Kyra Goodman

How to go from create to thumbs up without any headaches

As a social media manager, you know one of the most important parts of your job is developing a clear approval workflow with your clients. Scoring content approval is what will ensure you’re posting to their social media channels on time and consistently. 

But getting the right systems and frameworks in place is key to getting this approval workflow off the ground. Because without client approval, you won’t be able to perform your job to the best of your ability. 

To help you save time and deliver a seamless client experience, we’ve rounded up a stack of practical strategies you can use to make your client’s social media content approval easy and efficient.

What is social media approval process?

Let’s start with the basics. A social media content approval process is a set of steps that ensures your client signs off social media posts before they are scheduled and published. 

Creating, distributing and optimizing social media content is a collaborative process. From landing post topics to managing a monthly social media content calendar to scheduling individual pieces of content, you and your client need to be working together to bring their social media strategy to life. 

While every approval workflow will look different depending on your client’s needs, here are the core components of a content approval process:

  • Brainstorming social media post topics for the month ahead and taking into account any social media marketing campaigns or promotions your client might be running. 
  • Give your content creators and copywriting experts the information and time they need to develop each post and get this content creation sorted. 
  • Sharing the complete social media calendar with your client and giving them a deadline to share feedback and changes with your time. 
  • Your team will then act on and respond to this client feedback and share the amended pieces of content for final sign off. 
  • Once approved, your social media team will then use a social media scheduling tool to schedule this content in advance. 

Essential, this approval process is all about ensuring your client is happy with the messages and assets being published to their social media channels. Plus, it allows you to learn more about what your clients do and don’t like to streamline their content creation process moving forward. 

Why you need to create a clear approval workflow for your clients 

Creating a content approval process is all about reducing the time, effort and energy involved in getting your client’s social media content approved. 

While some clients are quick at approving posts, others may need a number of prompts to get all pieces of content approved. This can easily show down your team, blow out your budgets and increase the chance of posts going out late (or never being published at all). 

So, here are three key benefits to developing a social media approval workflow.

Ensures you’re sticking to a consistent posting schedule 

First up, one of the key benefits of an approval process is its ability to keep everyone on time and on track. 

Even with the best marketing strategy and content calendar in place, it can still be tough to stick to a consistent posting schedule as a marketing agency. That’s why it’s worth setting clear expectations and timelines from the beginning when it comes to content review and approvals. 

With strict deadlines, social media approval tools and easy ways to communicate and share feedback, your clients will know exactly what’s expected of them. Plus, it helps your marketing team deliver the best results for your clients as all content is going live at the right times. 

Makes team collaboration easy between you and your clients 

As a marketing agency, you need to develop collaborative relationships with your clients. Being able to understand their goals, objectives and desired outcomes will help you to develop content that drives meaningful results for their business. 

But slow response times, lots of back and forth emails and poor communication can damage your working relationship with your clients. 

Instead, having a content approval process means everyone understands who is responsible for what (and when they need to pull their weight). Plus, by getting the key stakeholders involved in the approval process you know everyone is having their say at every point in the content creation journey. 

Reduces the number of notifications and messages you receive

Speaking of communication, one of the biggest benefits of a social media approval workflow is its ability to reduce the number of notifications you have to respond to. 

Rather than swapping between multiple messages or emails, a clear approval process will use one single platform to manage everything to do with your client’s social media content. 

Plus, by ensuring your clients review all their content in one batch and share all feedback at once, you’ll consolidate the time it takes to amend their social media posts. 

This is particularly important as your business grows and you take on more social media management clients. You could easily have hundreds of messages, calls and notifications to respond to if you didn’t have the right workflow in place.

However, by proactively designing an approval process that suits your content creation workflow, you can deliver better results for your clients (and save time as a content creator).

5 steps to bring your social media content approval process to life

Ready to design your social media content approval process? Here are five practical steps you can take to create an approval process that will make your life easier as a social media manager. 

1. Decide which stakeholders need to be included in your content approval process

First up, you need to figure out what needs to be involved in the decision-making process. While there are plenty of people in your client’s team that may want to be involved, you need to be sure to only assign roles to the most essential people in the content approval process. 

Here are some of the key roles you need to assign in your content approval workflows:

  • Content creators: from graphic designers (who will design social templates and graphics) to copywriters, you need to have a clear understanding of who will be bringing each post to life.
  • Content strategists: these are the big picture thinkers who will be ensuring your client’s posts are aligned with the broader goals and objectives set out in their social media strategy.
  • Client decision-makers: it’s best to choose one or two key contacts (such as their internal marketing manager) to provide consolidated feedback to your creative team.
  • Social media assistants: these will be the members of your team responsible for scheduling content and publishing approved content using social media scheduling tools.
  • Community managers: finally, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got someone regularly reviewing your client’s social media accounts, responding to engagement and fostering connections with potential customers. 

By setting clear roles and responsibilities from the beginning, you’ll be able to avoid overlapping tasks and make the best use of everyone’s time. 

2. Understand where client approval fits into your social media workflow 

Now, it’s time to make sure your approval process has a clearly defined place in your overall social media workflow. 

As you’d expect, content approval tends to be one of the last steps in the content creation process. In general terms, here’s what this journey looks like:

  • Ideation: coming up with post topics, content marketing campaigns and broad messages. 
  • Content calendar creation: mapping out these topics in a phased order, depending on how many social media platforms and posts the client wants you to manage per month. 
  • Graphic design and imagery creation: producing the assets that will accompany these social media posts.
  • Copywriting: giving your copywriter the information they need to write social media captions, select hashtags and craft copy for social networks like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and beyond. 
  • Share content for client review and approval: at this point, you’d share the entire batch of social content with your client to review and sign off. 

It’s important to map out how long it is going to take your team to get to the final approval process. That way, you can give clear timings and deadlines to your client to keep their content going out on time. 

Plus, it ensures you know how many clients your social media agency can take on (since each client can take a lot of time to manage) and when it’s time to hire a new team member, too. 

3. Set timings and deadlines for client content approval 

As we’ve mentioned, deadlines are key to keeping your client’s social media content calendar on track. 

The best social media workflows set milestones throughout the content creation process to ensure your clients know when they need to weigh in and share their feedback. 

For example, you might give your clients 48 hours to approve or share feedback on posts once they’ve been sent for approval. If a client fails to respond on time, it’s important to let them know how this will impact the publishing process and what flow-on effect this could have on their social media content performance. 

4. Use a social media approval tool 

Clearly, there are lots of moving parts when it comes to a social media content approval workflow. With so many team members and stakeholders involved, it can easily become tricky to stay up to date with the status of each post and any changes that are required. 

That’s why it’s important to invest in one of the best social media management tools to manage the entire process from one real-time centralised dashboard. 

Sked Social gives social media agencies and marketers everything they need to create, approve and schedule Instagram content for their clients with ease. 

Here are some of the key features and functionality that agencies love about Sked Social:

  • Collaborate with unlimited free users and ensure everyone has the right permission to access content. Give as many internal and external users access to a client’s social content as you need and keep everyone in the loop (without being hit with sky-high costs). 
  • Send a unique link to your client to get them to approve or amend planned posts and easily keep track of every post. 
  • Manage multiple accounts and clients from one platform to reduce the chance of missing a chance or post-approval.

Rather than creating manual spreadsheets, sending endless emails and fielding tonnes of conflicting notifications, an all-in-one social media approval tool takes the guesswork out of getting your client’s content approved and published. 

5. Review and refine your client approval workflows 

Plus, it’s important to make sure your content workflows are evolving and staying in touch with the needs of your clients. 

As your client’s businesses grow and new stakeholders enter the picture, you need to make sure your processes are easy, efficient and seamless for all involved. That might mean adding new roles into the workflow, giving longer deadlines for approvals or changing the frequency of your content creation to match your client’s internal needs. 

The best social media marketers are flexible, agile and willing to adapt to the changing needs of their clients. It’s a good idea to touch base with your clients during your regular meetings every quarter or so to see if the workflow is still working for them.

If not, ask what points of friction they’d like to rework and what changes would make their working relationship with you easier. This is key to retaining clients for the long term and becoming their trusted social media agency of choice. 
And that’s a wrap! The key to developing an efficient social media approval workflow is to develop clear roles, responsibilities and deadlines for everyone involved. By using a social media approval tool, you can make it easy for your clients to review and approve posts and ensure every piece of content makes it out into the wild.

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