How to Create Efficient Social Media Workflows for Every Network

So, social media is a lot of work.

Duh.

You know this already. You wouldn’t be searching for a better workflow process if you didn’t think so.

Before we start, see if your team checks off any of the following:

  1. Your social media workflow doesn’t formally exist
  2. Your team is stuck in silos, making cross team collaboration impossible
  3. Your current social media workflow is long and cumbersome
  4. You need a way to approve content faster
  5. Your team isn’t creating content fast enough to keep up with project demands

If you looked at this list and thought “well, that describes my problem” you should probably keep reading. In this post, we’ll show you:

  • How to plan out workflows for every major social network
  • How to turn those workflows into reusable checklists (called Task Templates) in CoSchedule.

We’ve also included a free Social Media Workflow Process Template to help you document your workflow from start to finish. Download it now, and then we’ll move on.

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In Case You Don’t Have Time To Read

Because who does?

You could stop right now and sign up for CoSchedule, where we’ll do everything for you.

A minion

 

Yup. We’ll automate everything for you.

From task lists to team reports, we’ll take away your ever changing spreadsheets, endless email chains and stress over what has been approved and what hasn’t been.

No, you’re not dreaming, I promise.

So, stop reading and sign up your team for a demo.

Unless you really wanna keep reading.

I am pretty hilarious after all.

Still reading?

Ok, let’s go over the basics then.

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Training Your Team Members On Expectations For Content

It’s vitally important that you train in new team members.

You know this already.

But how you train in your social media team members could help you save valuable time when it comes to approving your social content.

How?

Let your new (and old) team members know what your expectations for content are.

If you can answer these and more questions (I’ll give you a starting list in a second), you’ll be able to cut your approval time in half because you trust your team to keep the standard of content you expect.

So what questions should you be answering so you undoubtedly trust your team?

Here’s list of things I asked when I would start working on social media for a corporation.

  1. What is the tone of this brand’s voice?
  2. What do our social posts sound like?
  3. Do we have specific hashtags that we use in every post?
  4. What is the standard for graphics and images we post to our pages?
  5. How about videos?
  6. Can we use emojis or gifs?
  7. How often to we post to our channels each day?
  8. How do we create our content?
  9. If I need an in house video or graphic, who do I talk to?
  10. How does my manager want to be notified when content is ready for approval?
  11. What is the overall process of approval?
  12. How many eyes need to see my content before it gets published?

Remember this list is a short one. The list of questions you need to answer in order to accurately train your team members may be different.

Once you have your question list pull up a blank document or download the template from our approval process kit.

Type in each question and answer it for your team.

Now as you get to the last few questions on this list you may have stumbled.

Maybe you don’t really have an approval process worked out for your social media content yet.

And now you might be staring at your screen wondering, “How do I create a social media approval workflow?”

What if I did it for you?

:) Keep reading to find them.

How To Create Internal Checklists For Your Social Media Workflows

These next few lists are going to help you break down your current approval process and cut down on unnecessary tasks to help streamline your team.

How To Create A General Social Media Workflow Checklist

So if you were to write down your content approval checklist, it might look something like this.

I’m not gonna lie, this list makes me have a mini panic attack.

It’s a lot of work.

Now what if you could cut that list in half so it looks more like this.

That list was cut in half. IN HALF.

Social Media Content Workflow Process

Are you flabbergasted?

It’s easy to cut out tasks once you figure out why they are there.

There are usually three reasons you have a task listed in your approval process.

  1. To act as a reminder
  2. To keep a team on track
  3. To make sure that content is being completed the correct way

While these are three valid reasons to put your tasks into a list, eventually once your team is trained in, they become unnecessary because they knows what needs to be done.

With that in mind, let me explain what was cut, combined together and why that happened.

1. We Cut Step 1 And Combine Steps 2 Through 4.

Quick recap of steps 1 through 4:

1. Gather essential team members (45 days before publish) (social media manager)

2. Brainstorm content ideas (45 days before publish) (social media manager)

3. Choose your 10x ideas (45 days before publish) (social media manager)

4. Prioritize your top ideas (45 days before publish) (social media manager)

Why did we cut step one?

It’s pointless.

You know you need your team together to brainstorm together. It creates an unnecessary step that doesn’t need to be listed because you already do it.

We combine steps 2 through 4 because they naturally flow together.

Your team should have one session where you brainstorm and prioritize your 10x ideas. Anything that doesn’t fit into a 10x isn’t worth your team’s focus and is a waste of your valuable time.

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2. Cut Step 5

Recap of step 5: For each idea determine your full to do list (31 days before publish) (social media manager)

Cutting the full to do list for each campaign should be an easy task to eliminate from your line up? Why? Because when you post social content, you should be following a pattern. While the exact content may differ, your to do list shouldn’t.

This brings me back to my earlier point on properly training in your team.

By having a set project to do list, you’re able to train your employees to learn the standards that are being set for your social content.

If your team knows the standards, they know what it takes to get the content there.

Easy right?

3. Cut Steps 9 Through 17. (Yes, Seriously)

Recap of steps:

It may seem like I just hacked half the approval workflow away.

That’s because I did.

This jumps back into my earlier point about the importance of training your team members to uphold the brand’s standards for content.

If you team knows the expectations, they know what is unacceptable.

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If they know what’s unacceptable, they know what needs to be done to meet the standards. Your team no longer needs 17 sets of eyes to check to make sure your content needs to me the standards.

It boils down to trust. By giving your team the information they need, you can trust that they’ll follow through.

Which eliminates half your to do list.

How To Break Down Your Checklist Down By Channel

Now let’s break this down by social channel.

Each channel, algorithm, and audience is different, thus you need slightly different checklists for each channels.

Facebook Workflow Checklist

If you were to create a checklist right off the bat, it would probably look something like this.

Yikes.

Not quite as long as our last list.

But it’s still a doozy.

So if we go back and apply the same theories as above, let’s see what that list would look like now.

And just like that 8 steps are gone.

Facebook Workflow Process

So what did I cut and why?

1. Cut Out Steps 2 Through 4

Recap of steps:

Why were these steps cut out?

They were cut out because these steps are so routine that your team shouldn’t even have to think about them anymore.

Once your campaign theme has been determined, your team should easily be able to decide if Facebook fits the bill for a usable social channel and if your team has worked with the channel before they should know the best times to post.

Finally, if your team is trained in correctly, making sure that content is appropriate and usable should be a no brainer, as they know the expectations that lie ahead of them.

2. Cut Out Unnecessary Steps For Your Visual Teams

If your multi-media team knows exactly what you need to create successful visuals and videos for social posts, you shouldn’t need multiple sets of eyes to approve a photo or video.

3.Cut Out The Peer Editing Process

I know I sound like a broken record.

But, the more your team understands your expectations, the less eyes that will have to be on your content.

4.Cut Out The Need For Approval From Your Higher Ups

Work with your managers to cut out the need to send content to be approved from higher ups in the company.

If you know what they want to see, you can set the necessary standards to meet their expectations.

If they know what to expect, they don’t need to constantly approve content.

5.Combine The Last Few Tasks Into One Publishing Task

Recap of steps:

You may have broken out your publishing task into smaller, more manageable tasks before.

The tasks were put there to help make sure you didn’t miss anything.

That’s completely understandable, however, think about this.

How long have you seen that list? You could recite the thing in your sleep by now?

So why clutter your to-do list with tasks you inherently need to do?

I mean, I know it feels good checking things off your to-do list, but do yourself a favor and just combine your publishing tasks into one.

Twitter Workflow Checklist

Now we move onto Twitter.

You might be thinking, “Breonna can’t I just use the same task list for Twitter?”

Not exactly.

Because each social channel has a slightly different algorithm and preferred posting method, your strategy and checklist for each one will change.

So what does an initial Twitter checklist look like:

While this list is incredibly similar to the Facebook list from above, we have to consider the fact that Twitter content is usually higher in frequency and will therefore need a few more steps to make sure it’s ready for publish.

So let’s hack that list apart, shall we?

  1. Determine campaign theme (21 days before publish) (social media manager)
  2. Research hashtags to use for campaign (18 days before publish) (social media manager)
  3. Write Twitter content (17 days before publish) (social media manager)
  4. Double check that tagged accounts are correct (17 days before publish) (social media specialist)
  5. Choose multiple posting times (17 days before publish) (social media specialist)
  6. If graphics are needed:
    1. Work with designers to develop image concept (17 days before publish) (graphic designer, social media specialist)
    2. Edit (13 days before publish) (graphic designer)
    3. Send to manager for final approval (10 days before publish) (graphic design manager)
  7. If working with video
    1. Film (20 days before publish) (video production specialist)
    2. Edit (15 days before publish) (video production specialist)
    3. Send to manager for final approval (10 days before publish) (video production manager)
  8. Combine text with visuals (9 days before publish) (social media specialist)
  9. Send to manager for final approval (9 days before publish) (social media manager)
  10. Publish content (0 days before publish) (social media specialist)

This list follows the same guidelines that we cut apart our previous Facebook list apart with.

But our Twitter list is a bit different from our Facebook list.

Twitter Workflow Process

1. The Twitter List Accounts For Time Approving Each Of The Images/Videos That Will Be Going Out With Your Twitter Campaign.

Because you need to post much more frequently to Twitter then to any other social channel, your multi-media team will need to create extra content to supplement those posts with, hence more time for managers do to their final QA.

2. You Will Need To Determine Multiple Posting Times To Send Your Tweets Out

Let’s be honest here.

The lifespan of one tweet is about 30 minutes maximum.

To put that into context, the lifespan of a Facebook post is about 6 hours. Which means in order to make an impact, you need to be sending a lot more content.

About 15 messages a day.

That’s a lot of tweets.

In order to maximize that lifespan, tweets need to be sent at optimum times, which means you have your work cut out for you.

You could figure that out by going through your Twitter analytics, seeing where your top 15 traffic spikes are and send your tweets then.

Or you could check out this awesome graphic that tells you exactly when to post.

Twitter Posting Frequency

Now let’s move on to what we cut and combine.

1. Combine Steps 2 Through 4

Quick Recap of the Steps:

Cutting out those above steps can help simplify the starting process of your social campaigns, thus saving your team time.

2. Cut Out The Peer Editing Process

Cutting out the peer editing process saves your team tons of time.

Not only are you eliminating steps in the approval process but you’re also indicating to your team that you trust their judgement.

3. Cut Out The Need For Higher Up’s Approval

Just as you set expectations for content for your team, so can your higher ups. If you work out  those expectations beforehand you’re able to eliminate the need for content to go through that final approval process.

4. Combine Tasks 18 Through 20 Into One Publishing Task

Reminder of what those tasks are:

18. Decide optimal posting times (14 days before publish) (social media specialist)
19. Load into publishing platform (14 days before publish) (social media specialist)
20. Respond to comments, questions and more on post (5 days after publish) (social media specialist)

These tasks act as reminders to keep your content on track.

Instead of taking up room in you to-do list, combine them into one publishing task, and the communicate to your team what

Pinterest Workflow Checklist

Pinterest is an interesting social channel to say the least.

To some there seems to be no strategy involved in Pinterest, it’s a collection or random boards.

In reality, if you’re smart with the types of content you upload, you can make a dramatic impact on the traffic you drive to your website.

So let’s look at an initial Pinterest approval checklist.

This list is going to look pretty different from our Facebook and Twitter lists.

Mostly because unlike other platforms, video isn’t necessary for Pinterest. You could link to YouTube videos but they’re not nearly as compelling as images or infographics.

So once again, applying our knowledge from above, we can cut our list down to look something like this.

And suddenly the list becomes more concise and timely.

1. Cut Out Determining If Pinterest Is The Right Channel To Use

You know this instinctively already.

Don’t take up valuable space in your to-do list.

2. Cut Out The Peer Editing For Your Content Writers And Your Multi-Media Team

Just like with Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest content will be approved much faster if you trust that your team will meet the content expectations you’ve clearly laid out for them.

The less eyes you have on it, the less time it takes.

3. Combine Tasks 12 Through 14 Into One Publishing Task

Recap of steps:

Like our past couple of examples, the last few tasks in your list can be combined into one publishing tasks.

You know you have to determine which boards to post to.

You know that you have to load your content into your publishing platform.

Don’t make more work for yourself.

Instagram Workflow Checklist

Instagram much like Pinterest is driven mainly by visually images.

Like Facebook, however posting more than once or twice day will drive your audience insane.

So in order to maximize that visual content, let’s see what your initial Instagram checklist may look like.

You may have noticed that we left the video in for this checklist.

Instagram does have video capabilities, and while you don’t see video as often on Instagram it is becoming a major feature in the platform, which you should be prepping your team to utilize.

Let’s cut down that list. Afterwards it should look like this.

Instagram Workflow Process

What got the axe?

Let’s review.

1. Cut Step 2: Determine If Instagram Is The Best Channel For Your Campaign

As with every social campaign checklist, you should know what channels your campaign should be running on.

It becomes a meaningless task that like a few others we have cut from previous lists, just takes up needed room.

2. Cut Step 4: Determine Optimal Posting Times

Optimal posting times, like determining if Instagram is the best channel, is something that should come automatically.

Your team should know what the best times are without going back and analyzing data every time.

3. Cut Steps 9 Through 11

Recap of steps:

I know, I know.

You said that already.

You can’t say I’m not thorough.

But seriously, you can shave off so much time by cutting out the peer editing process.

These are filler steps that aren’t necessary for your check list. They become reminder steps, and while they may have been needed when you first started, your team knows what to do.

Summary: Get rid of them.

5. Combine Steps 15 and 16

Recap of steps:

These last two steps can be combined into one publishing step that your team completes.

LinkedIn Workflow Checklist

LinkedIn is the place for professionals to connect to one another, look for jobs and keep up with the trends in the industry.

So how would you begin to post to this network?

Let’s break down your initial checklist.

Again, this turns posting to LinkedIn into over a month long process. It shouldn’t take that long.

So let’s cut down the list.

This list suddenly becomes much more manageable.

LinkedIn Workflow Process

So once again, what did why cut and why?

1. Cut Steps 2 Through 4

Recap of steps:

Like our other checklists, these steps can be pre-decided by your team the moment you begin to plan your campaign.

2. Cut Out The Peer Editing Process

Cutting out your peer editing process eliminates at least 3 steps in your main list and half of the lists your multimedia team would need to complete.

3. Eliminate The Need For Your Higher Up’s Approval

Like our other lists, you can cut down on unnecessary tasks by getting rid of the need to have higher ups in your company review content.

Save yourself the time.

4. Combine The Last 3 Tasks Into One Publishing Task

Recap of steps:

The last three tasks in your list can be combined into one publishing task.

Your team knows all the steps it takes to publish your social content.

Again, save your time and yourself a headache later.

Google+ Workflow Checklist

Now we’ll move on to our last social media channel.

Let’s keep this one short shall we.

Your initial approval checklist may look something like this.

Again we end up with a list that is far too long.

So if we cut this down, it would look something like this.

So for our final list, what did we cut out.

Google+ Workflow Process

1. Cut Out Steps 2 Through 4

Recap of steps:

As I have mentioned before, cutting out these steps is an easy fix to help shorten up your team’s to do list.

The shorter your list, the faster you can publish your content.

2. Cut Out Unnecessary Peer Editing

The same goes for the task that cuts out the need to send content to your higher ups for approval.

If you and your team know the expectations for you content, you know what needs to be done in order to meet those standards.

Get your content out there faster.

3. Combine Your Last 3 Steps In To One Publishing Step

Recap of steps:

Simplify your last publishing task and combine the tasks above into one publishing task.

That’s All Of It

Phew, we’re done.

You have all those lists to help get your team organized.

But that’s still a lot of work. And your team still has a ton of other work to do.

Could you make this process even faster?

Yes, you can!

CoSchedule can automate everything for you and help you make sure your team is on track. With tasks lists you can…

  1. Upload all the task lists we covered for you in this blog
  2. Easily assign those tasks and their due dates to your team members
  3. Move posts around and have tasks dates move automatically with them

…not to mention with team reports you can…

  1. Check when your team members are on track
  2. If a project is off track you can see what’s blocked and figure out how to help

…and that’s just the beginning of all the features that CoSchedule offers.

Contact one of our sales team members to schedule your demo today.

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This post was originally written by Devin Joubert and published on July 13th, 2016. It was updated by Breonna Bergstrom and republished on May 25th, 2017.