If you’re in a highly regulated sector, like financial services or pharmaceuticals, you’ve likely dealt with the headache of ensuring all your outbound social content complies with internal guidelines and external regulations. And if you’re a large company with globally distributed teams, you’ve probably dealt with the never-ending email chains social campaigns require to get content edited, approved, and out the door. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, you’ll be pretty excited about a new feature Adobe Social is unveiling.

Social Multi-level Approval WorkflowAs of our latest release this month, we now support multi-level content approval workflows that will help you ensure review and signoff from managers and stakeholders during the content planning process, before social posts go live. By bringing multiple collaborators together to review, edit, and approve content directly in the tool, your organization can save time and bypass redundant systems like that massive email chain.

Use cases
This level of control is especially important for institutions subject to external regulations like FINRA who need legal review and compliance on every outbound communication. It can also prove helpful for companies that have strict internal processes for sensitive events like movie premiers and video game releases, enterprises who have multi-national teams trying to maintain brand consistency in global product launches, and large businesses with well-defined content creation processes involving internal teams and external agencies.

The flexible system is designed to support a wide variety of use cases and includes three approval workflow models that can be applied at the social property level (where A, B, and C can be a user or a team):

  • Horizontal model
    A and B and C must approve the post, in any order
  • Vertical model
    A then B then C must approve the post, in that specific order
  • Hybrid model
    Any combination of the above

You’ll also benefit from new, related features like email notifications for content awaiting your approval and content you drafted that was rejected by an approver, Content Calendar filters for approval status, and audit trails for approval actions and comments for each post.

We’ve documented how to set up a new approval workflow in Online Help within Adobe Social, but before you even think about doing that, review the four steps below to help get you thinking about how to approach implementing this new capability:

1. Review your social media policy
Do you even need the extra layers of review? This should be your first question before going crazy implementing complex approval hierarchies that might inundate your small social team with unnecessary work and obstacles and drive them crazy.

If you do find an appropriate use case, or you’re in a highly regulated sector with pre-approval requirements, review your company’s social media policy and ensure you’ve identified all the stakeholders and departments who should be reviewing and pre-approving outbound content.

2. Set up approval workflows
Only admin users have permission to define and assign approval workflows within Adobe Social. Take some time to properly map out horizontal, vertical, or hybrid workflows for each of your social properties on paper; it’ll make it easier to visualize and set them up within the platform. Don’t forget to select a user or team who can bypass the system in case of urgent situations.

3. Test different scenarios
Brainstorm a handful of outbound content scenarios and put the system to use. You may find that you forgot a stakeholder somewhere in the process or that you just need one person’s approval from a team rather than the entire team’s response. You want to find that balance of complying with the rules and filling in the gaps while minimizing extra cycles and reducing time to publish. One reject will reset the entire approval workflow so keep that in mind.

4. Train all users
Schedule training for all stakeholders in the approval process to get them on board with how the system works, why its in place, and why they’re part of it. Start with a recap of your social media policy, share what you’re trying to achieve in terms of collaboration, quality control, brand consistency, and/or risk mitigation, and then move into how the platform has been set up to mirror the defined processes and save everyone time and effort in the process.

Need extra help?
Establishing social org hierarchies can be complex. If you need help with setup and implementation, ask your Social Account Manager about our User Permissions and Workflow Enablement service package. We’ve got a lot of experience doing this for brands with complex org structures. You’re not alone.