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How to Optimize Your Social Media Workflow


There’s nothing better than the “aha!” moment when you realize there’s a better way to manage your brand accounts. Even the smallest tweaks to your social media workflow can significantly reduce the time it takes to follow through on a strategy.

That’s because social media management requires agility. Opportunities can come in the blink of an eye, but it isn’t easy to capitalize on them without the right tools and processes in place. Striking gold on social requires a little bit of luck and a whole lot of preparation.

Sprout offers sophisticated, intuitive fixes that result in more free time for ideation and execution. Let’s take a look at what’s possible when you streamline your social media management workflow with Sprout.

What is a social media workflow?

A social media workflow is a repeatable, systematic process by which a business manages their social media presence and interactions. A standard workflow accounts for planning, creating, publishing, monitoring and analyzing social media content, as well as responding to questions and feedback across networks.

These processes are more than just checklists. Social media is a fluid space where the only constant is change. Valuable workflows center around adaptability to ensure the consistent and effective execution of a social media marketing strategy.

Why you need a social media management workflow

The right workflow can transform your online presence from the inside out. Here are the top three ways businesses benefit from adopting a scalable social media workflow:

More time for creativity

Switching between profiles and interfaces for native content creation and scheduling can take up the bulk of a workday. Add meetings to the mix and one day’s to-do list can quickly span many. That’s valuable time lost on repetitive tasks and inconsistent processes.

A workflow that incorporates both centralized profile management and automation frees up time and resources for more creative, high impact work. These are the efforts that allow your team to harness the full potential of social.

More quality control checkpoints

A few months ago, we asked our LinkedIn followers about what keeps them up at night.

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post from Sprout Social. The post says

The most common answers were typos, post performance and wondering whether or not a scheduled post ever made it to publish.

A consistent social media workflow backed by powerful, AI-driven technology puts these worries to rest by creating multiple quality assurance checkpoints. These security measures do more than just mitigate errors—they also play a crucial role in risk prevention and social media governance.

More opportunities for collaboration

Without the right tools and documentation, the average social media manager task list reads more like a novel. On top of that, it’s only a matter of time before a network change makes all that documentation null and void.

These inconsistent, complex processes can make it hard to train and scale a team. Eventually, the burden will fall to one or two team members with the historical process knowledge needed to run social. It’s a one-way ticket to social media burnout.

A well-crafted workflow can simplify processes and reduce reliance on any single individual. This cross-functional visibility is critical for future-proofing your team.

How to streamline your social media workflow with Sprout

At Sprout, our customers are our north star. That’s led to some pretty cool features designed to integrate social across a business. Here are a few fan-favorite workflow upgrades that our customers use every day:

Your scheduling and publishing workflow

The old way: Manually logging in and out of native platforms to publish social posts, minimizing visibility across teams.

The Sprout way: Scheduling content across multiple channels at once using a shared content calendar designed to boost collaboration.

A screenshot of the Sprout Social Compose window. The Compose window offers a series of customizations to tailor a post to specific networks in the same workflow.

The Sprout Social Content Calendar is feature-rich, intuitive and flexible. It centralizes once disjointed publishing workflows into a single location, equipped with smart tools that provide real-time insights into optimization opportunities.

Simply put, it supports smarter marketing decisions while still being easy to use.

There’s a ton you can do in Sprout’s Publishing section, but here are a few of our favorite social media workflow enhancements:

  • Losing sleep wondering if a scheduled post actually went live? Set up tailored Post Notifications on the Sprout Social mobile app for real-time updates on the status of outgoing messages.
  • Always on the hunt for third-party content to build out your social calendar? The Sprout Social Google Chrome Extension takes the Compose window with you as you browse for relevant articles to share. This is especially useful for brands that rely on industry-specific news to boost thought leadership.
  • Waiting for details on an upcoming promotion before drafting and scheduling a post? Use Calendar Notes to let your team know you have the task on your radar and that you’re waiting for next steps.

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Your content approval workflow

The old way: Tagging stakeholders in a shared document or spreadsheet for content reviews and moving things over to email if they require further discussion.

The Sprout way: An in-app content approval process that can be tailored by need, department or client—depending on your business structure.

A screenshot of a content approval workflow in Sprout Social. In the screenshot, a scheduled Twitter post is marked as “Needs Approval”. There’s an internal comment requesting a revision and a response confirming the revision has been made.

An ironed out social media approval process prevents needless mistakes while giving time back to marketers. It’s critical to a successful social media strategy. It’s also incredibly time-consuming.

I’d estimate that Sprout’s Message Approval Workflow is single-handedly responsible for preventing millions of lengthy email threads and shared document requests. This tool creates a shared space for feedback by allowing teams to create multi-step, multi-user workflows that meet the needs of their specific organization.

Here’s what it looks like in action, depending on your role:

  • Director of Social Media: Tailored notification settings help you review content in a way that works with your schedule. Choose between hourly or daily approval request notifications to keep your day running smoothly.
  • Legal Compliance Specialist: Let your social team set you up with External Approver access so you can review sensitive content for legal risk.

Your reporting workflow

The old way: Hours spent pulling metrics from native analytics solutions, making sense of them in a spreadsheet and creating data visualizations to explain your team’s impact across the business.

The Sprout way: Automated, presentation-ready reports that directly tie social activity to business objectives.

Sprout’s social media automation tools make quick work out of cumbersome reporting tasks. Our sophisticated yet intuitive solution combines templated reports with user-friendly customization options.

A screenshot of a data visualization graph from the Tag Performance Report in Sprout Social. The graph is comparing impressions between posts tagged “Fall Campaign”, “Summer Sales” and “#LatteArt”.

Of all our reporting features, Tagging has the most potential to revolutionize your workflows. Tags allow our customers to group inbound and outbound messages for more flexible reporting on content, creative and campaigns. Use Tags to automate data collection processes and say goodbye to cherry-picking specific post-level metrics for strategic insights.

Tagging is available to all Sprout customers, but for Advanced Plan users, it’s one of many automated reporting tools. Those include:

  • Automated Rules: Automatically Tag inbound and outbound messages that include specific keywords or hashtags to ensure every post is recorded and reported on.
  • Scheduled Reports: Schedule weekly or monthly PDF reports to keep stakeholders informed on campaign progress.
  • Report Builder: Create custom reports with metrics that matter most to your executives, with text widgets that provide the context needed to capture social’s impact.*
  • Link Sharing: Share real-time, interactive report links that provide all the necessary context and data visualizations needed to increase transparency with external stakeholders.*

*These features are available with the Sprout Social Premium Analytics add-on.

Your engagement workflow

The old way: Checking all your social inboxes first thing in the morning and at the top of every work hour to respond to messages in a timely manner.

The Sprout way: Centralizing inbound messages in a single stream, while automating the process of message prioritization, off-hours support and FAQs assistance.

A screenshot of the Smart Inbox in Sprout Social. The filters are set to display inbound messages from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Collision detection settings are on, so you can see that two colleagues are in the process of responding to a message.

The Smart Inbox is the key to unlocking relationship-building experiences on social. This tool tightens your social media workflow by unifying all your brand accounts across social networks to monitor incoming messages in one manageable location.

From there, you can triage response needs, assign tasks and work with your team to create a more customer-centric social media presence.

Brands managing a high volume of inbound messages can also benefit from the following Sprout tools:

  • Bot Builder (Advanced Plan): Use social chatbots designed on rule-based logic to assure customers seeking support on nights and weekends that you’ll be back online and ready to help shortly.
  • Integrations: Sprout offers social media management integrations with leading CRMs like Salesforce, Marketo and more. Use these connections to provide more tailored support to key accounts and prospects.
  • Social Listening: Countless potential conversations are happening around your brand and industry every day. Use the Sprout Social Listening add-on to keep tabs on the market insights that can drive your business forward.

Tips for auditing your social media manager task list

The average social media manager schedule is jam-packed. Between content creation, campaign meetings and engagement opportunities, there’s always something to do.

A text-based graphic listing a social media manager’s daily task checklist. The image says: A social media manager’s daily task checklist. Review your schedule for the day. Check direct message (DMs), mentions and email. Check in on paid social performance and pacing. Review recently published and upcoming content. Monitor brand mentions across networks. Engage with fans and key accounts.

According to a Q1 2023 Sprout Social Pulse Survey, 81% of marketers say that a regular posting cadence on social positively impacts their business goals. To reap those benefits, you’ve got to know what to prioritize, what to delegate and what to automate.

The best time to audit your to-do list is now. Review your daily work routine using the following criteria to figure out where you can win back more time.

A text-based graphic advising social media managers on how to audit their task list: Auditing your social media task list .Prioritize: Proving ROI and business impact, creative strategy development, cross-functional collaboration. Delegate: Content creation and scheduling, proactive engagement. Automate: Publishing, tier one social customer care requests, crisis monitoring, data reporting.

Automate your social media management workflow with Sprout

Social media is fast paced and always on. It’s where brand-making conversations take place and consumer sentiments are forged. If you want to keep up, you need the right toolkit.

Sprout’s unified social management platform provides powerful data, flexible tools and an intuitive user-experience that helps you harness the full power of social data. Simplify your approach to social and try Sprout for free today.

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