In the last 15 years alone, social media went from that thing that Interned old-timers sneered at to that thing that multinational corporations pour millions of dollars into. What I’m trying to say is that it grew fast. Really fast. And it’s here to stay.
However, us marketers know that posting one cat pic on Instagram is one thing. But building a coherent social media plan for clients or stakeholders, who may or may not have certain demands, is another. So, we want to share a few tips on how to do that while keeping your sanity and your weekends. No cats were neglected while this article was being written though.
Why Collaboration is Important
Ask any modern professional, and they’ll tell you that collaboration is one of the biggest daily challenges.
Unfortunately, our industry is no exception. Gone are the days of the bored social media specialist who could just plug his band on the shoe store’s Facebook page they manage without anyone asking questions.
Nowadays, an agency could have up to 10 marketers juggling with dozens of social media accounts and just as many demands from clients. So, it goes without saying that collaboration and communication are key in establishing a consistent social media presence.
Then there’s the issue of showcasing your work…
Say you’ve become fully familiarized with your client’s needs in terms of social media presence and everything that this entails. You understand their target audience and came up with some great content ideas.
Congratulations! You can now go to sleep knowing that you’ve done your job. But don’t smooth out those comfy bed sheets just yet – your clients and stakeholders are waiting to see, review, and approve your work. Since long conference room meetings aren’t really a thing anymore, you need technology.
Showing social media content to stakeholders isn’t only about sending an email. The way you showcase that work will inevitably impact the feedback it receives. Its relevance, its speed, its positivity. So, here are a few tips that will help you choose the right environment to showcase your work to approvers.
Five things to consider
- Both the team and the stakeholders involved must have a clear, pixel-perfect view of how the content will look like once posted.
- The solution should allow your posts to be adapted according to the channel
- The client should be able to visualize the content by week or month at a glance
- Your content should be spiced up with hashtags, emojis, and gifs.
- Plan ahead. Whatever you choose, it needs to make collaboration easy for marketing and clients. For example, your solution should make it possible for collaborators to leave feedback right next to the posts and resolve it on the spot, attach files to comments, and collaborate in real-time.
How you can do it with tech
The first obvious solution for visibly showing creative work might be Powerpoint. We get it. It’s free. It’s what you’re used to. Your presentation can be easily structured by social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and format (video, carousel, gif, image, and so on). However, this involves creating dozens of mockups which can make building the presentation harder than creating the actual content. On top of that, your clients will get an incomplete picture because they can’t see what actually happens when you click on something. So, how does a carousel post work?
The spreadsheet is the modern office workers’ most trusty tool. While showcasing your social media work via spreadsheets is technically possible, I’m going to give you a few reasons why you shouldn’t:
- Your client can’t visualize how your posts are going to look. You know that old saying – the emoji is mightier than the row. Or something like that.
- Spreadsheets are a logistical nightmare that nobody working in a creative field should have to deal with. Folders with images, endless email chains with Google Drive links, video attachments, back and forths on Slack, oh god, I forgot to set the privacy settings to “everyone with the link” and now everybody hates ––
- Spreadsheets impede collaboration, making giving, receiving and implementing feedback difficult.
Ok ok, I'll admit my bias upfront. I'm part of the team. But before you roll your eyes, take a glance at how it can help you.
Planable is a content collaboration tool that allows users to create, collaborate, showcase, and approve social media content, all in one place. This solution makes it possible to preview Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram posts as they would appear in the feed. Oh, and you can also schedule or publish your posts right from there. How awesome is that?
Here are just a few things examples of what you can do with Planable (I swear they’re topical):
- Spice up your posts with emojis, active hashtags, page tags, and all that good stuff. We also have Giphy integration.
- The ability to create content for multiple pages at once and adapt it on a case by case basis.
- Give, receive, and implement feedback in real-time.
- Label your content by topic, campaign, brand, and so on and so forth.
- Store your files in our sleek Media Library and track where they’ve been used before.
- Add posts in a predefined time slot. Don’t like that slot? Moving your posts around our content calendar is as simple as dragging and dropping them.
Why you should never skip it
Despite the negative connotation, approval processes are not about control and incessant micromanagement. Approval processes are necessary because more brains lead to better results than one. It’s as simple as that.
However, the lack of a coherent approval process can turn social media management into a kerfuffle of conflicting opinions and half-baked work. Bottom line, the quality of your content will take a dip and your clients will be disappointed as a result. Then there’s the fact that, with no review and approval processes, there’s nobody to keep an eye on the messaging and whether or not the content is offensive or sensitive.
What should the ideal approval process look like?
I bet your first question is who you should involve in your approval process.
Short answer: anybody who you think could add value to your content. I know, pretty generic. But it doesn’t make it less true.
But wait, don’t text that graphic designer friend who helped you with a meme just yet. You still need structure.
The best way to do this is by splitting your approval process into these two broad categories:
- Directly involved. Pretty self-explanatory. It includes the people who are directly supervising the content creation process, be it Team, Brand, or Account managers. These categories usually see the content after it’s been created and proof-read.
- Second line of approval. This category should (ideally) see the content only once it’s been polished and triple-checked. That’s because their feedback is relevant only when the content is 100% done. The people who are usually involved in the second line of approval are internal stakeholders, upper management, product managers and, you guessed it, clients. And as any person working in a creative field can attest to, you really don’t want to ask for your client’s input too early. Lest you want to regret not choosing another line of work like, I don’t know, welding.
Where to start when building your social media approval process
Now that you have your approval processes and all that jazz worked out, it’s time to focus our attention on another kind of process. This one’s even less sexy, but trust me, it’s just as important.
Think about your social media process as if it’s a journey your content takes before going live: creation –> review –> approval –> publishing.
Your social media approval process should look something like this:
- Steps. Start by establishing the steps each piece of content has to go through before being posted. This can vary from case to case, but in general, it starts with ideation, followed by copywriting, design, review, approval, and finally, publishing.
- People. Grab the people you’ve decided to involve and assign them to the steps relevant to their skills.
- Go-signs. All you have to do now is make sure everybody’s clear on how the content travels from one step to the next, or rather, when it’s ready to do so. You don’t want your content to get stuck in approval limbo.
Can I also do it in Planable?
Of course you can, you silly goose.
If there’s one thing we’re great at, that’d be social media collaboration processes. It doesn’t make for a great party trick, but guess who’ll go to parties because they’re not stuck at work handling a PR crisis?
Planable was built with safety in mind. Here’s how our solution can save you from accidental self-sabotage:
- Locking content. For the perfectionist who wants to fiddle with their content after it’s been published. We’ve all been there. After a piece of content has been green-lit and posted, it only makes sense to lock it in its current form.
- Permissions. Great way to avoid any accidental publishing and edits. You can grant different levels of permissions and access to team members with just a few clicks.
- Version control. Planable saves each and every version of your post. On top of that, each piece of content created in our solution is shown in logs, so team members can see who-did-what at a glance.
Oh, we have a Black Friday deal this weekend only
Wait, don’t go yet. Until Monday, November 30th, you can get access to Planable for an entire year for only $199 instead of $396.
Why do this deal now? Well, we want you to plan your holiday content 6X faster. Those seasonal memes ain’t gonna post themselves. And for $199, you can literally make them do that. Because we have content scheduling.
Ok, now you can go.