When you work with or for a large brand you need approval from higher-ups on just about everything. Whether it’s new website content, a blog post, a Twitter tweet, or a status update on Facebook, approval from marketing managers, brand advisers, and legal are required.
Many brands complain that the approval process is laborious, which has dissuaded many from taking advantage of social media marketing and content marketing.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however.
Sure there are many moving parts, but having a process in place and employees to enforce these processes can help reduce the strain on your resources and streamline the process.
Where do you start first?
At the Top
Who are the parties responsible for approving social messaging? Likely marketing managers, brand advisers, and legal departments.
Get their contact information, supervisor information, and backup personnel contacts when each person is out. Keep this information updated as responsibilities change, and ask HR to inform you of new hires (or fires) in that department as well.
In addition to knowing who to go to in each department, you should put together an internal approval flow chart and give it to each person involved, keeping it updated as changes occur. After all department personnel has suggested changes to the messaging or approved it, who does it go to?
This question should be answered by a quick glance at the flow chart. Add in deadlines or suggested timelines as applicable as well.
Sure, each department in your organization likely has a description of duties, but do each of the responsible parties involved in social messaging approval know their part in the process? It might seem like overkill, but documenting what each person is responsible for will help color in any gray areas in the process.
Additionally, it’s helpful to provide guidelines for each department. Do you have brand guidelines, mission statements, media kits, etc., available and at the ready? Providing these documents to each of the responsible parties, as well as the social media managers developing social media messaging, can streamline the process and limit future revisions. As these documents change make sure they are forwarded to the correct people involved.
As new employees are added to the process, or taken out, training will likely be needed to keep everyone up to date. At first, it might be wise to have a monthly meeting with all involved.
What’s working? What isn’t? This is the time to train, help refine your process and keep communication open.
Many people will “digitally” touch your social messaging, so find a solution to track suggested changes by each department. Excel, Google Docs, collaborative content management software, or Word Document tracking – find the method that works best for your group. An ideal system will also allow anyone at any given time to know where a particular piece is in the approval process.
Even in the most streamlined of approaches, the process of approving social media messaging can take days, weeks or even months. Get ahead of the delays by always having approved messages at the ready. Start the process today to have regular tweets, Facebook posts, etc… approved for:
- Holidays (nationally recognized and bizarre, wacky, or obscure ones)
- Company milestones (anniversaries, awards, etc.)
- Cross promotion of social profiles
- Social platform specific milestones (100,000 followers, 100,000 fans, etc…)
- Department specific promotions
- Blog/Newsletter/Email signup promotions
Refine, Refine, Refine
As messaging is approved, ask yourself – what could have made this process go faster? You may notice that certain types of messaging continuously receive negative feedback and one department holds up the process more than others. Dive deeper into these issues and refine your process accordingly.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your feedback on putting together these types of processes. What struggles have you run into that you can share with our readers? How have you refined our own internal process and what have you learned?