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How to effectively manage a social media workflow

Sophie Thompson
5th January 2021

It’s by no means pioneering to say that having a social media workflow is essential to keeping organized and on top of your digital marketing game.

Having a successful social media workflow allows you to post efficiently, error-free and quickly, and is easily replicable every time it comes down to creating more social media content.

It also means that your team are totally aligned on responsibilities and deadines when it comes to social media planning, and you’ll quickly be working in sync.

So, what does a social media workflow look like?

Traditionally, your social media workflow will be made up of 10 key stages.

  1. Ideation: Creating ideas, brainstorming or mapping out what it is you’re going to do in your content plan.
  2. Creation: Time to bring your ideas to life. Create all of the basic assets you need, including photos, videos and gifs.
  3. Copywriting: If there’s any text additions to your content, or captions for posting on social media, now’s the time to do them.
  4. Proofing: No one wants to see any awkward spelling mistakes when it’s too late, so take the time to check over your work.
  5. Approval: Get your content signed off by the appropriate person.
  6. Amendments: Of course, if there’s any amendments, make them.
  7. Scheduling: Add the final versions of your posts to your social media calendar.
  8. Promoting: Sharing your content on social media, using paid media for wider distribution, and bringing as many eyes to your content as possible.
  9. Engaging: Engage with your audience on your content! People will be commenting, and it’s always nice to respond and build relationships with them.
  10. Analyzing: How did your content perform? Look at your data so you can learn for next time and spot patterns.

There are also a number of teams involved in social media planning outside of marketing usually. When looking at your social media workflow, here are some other people to consider:

  • Legal teams: To ensure there’s nothing that could land you in trouble
  • Product teams: To check the accuracy of any product-based information
  • HR: To ensure your messaging is in line with company policy

social media workflow

How far in advance should I plan my social media workflow?

Of course, everyone works differently. Some companies have three months of content planned in advance, whereas others work week-to-week - so it really depends on what you’re used to. As a recommendation, we’d say a month in advance for evergreen content (of course, new content may come up that you can post ad-hoc), as it gives you a good length of time for sense-checking, and there’s no last-minute scramble to find something to post.

Having a baseline plan for how your workflow is going to run then allows you to see where areas of improvement are needed. This could include extra support, earlier deadlines, or extra time.

Knowing where changes are needed not only impacts the efficiency of your team, but of your overall business. Inefficiencies cost on average 20-30% of a businesses’ yearly revenue.

Know your platforms

To avoid discrepancies in your social media workflow, you’ll want to make sure the content you’re putting out is worth people’s while. Otherwise, you could quickly be back to square one trying to adapt your plan whilst figuring out where you’re going wrong or not seeing results.

Definitely make sure you do some research into both your current audience and target audience (age, location, occupation, or more if you can) - but also look into who uses each type of social media platform and what formats they like to see on their feeds.

For example, YouTube is found to be the ultimate place for DIY lovers, beginners and anyone wanting to learn something new in almost any subject. This could be a great opportunity to create a video plan of product tutorials, or even factor influencer marketing into your plan, by paying for review opportunities.

How ContentCal is helping businesses effectively manage their social media workflow

Many elements of your social media workflow can be implemented using ContentCal, and guaranteed you’re already using some of them without realizing.

First up, there’s approval flows. If you’re a ContentCal user, all of your content already goes through your usual in-house sign off process, which is essential when it comes to keeping up high quality standards. It also means everyone has a visual overview of what content is going out in your calendar, so there’s transparency between all team members.

If you don’t have them already, creating a set of publishing guidelines that are visual to all in your company are also a great reference point for things such as tone of voice, especially if you regularly use freelancers to create content.

ContentCal’s new Articles feature (currently available for Company Plan users and above), is the perfect place for storing this document, as you can set permission levels for each individual in your team (read-only, commentor or editor), and it’s just a click away when anyone needs it for reference. It’s a new year, and our resolution is to give up having 50 tabs open, too.

Highlighting a campaign in contentcal

You can also clearly see any upcoming deadlines or upcoming campaigns from within ContentCal. In your calendar, the top banner acts as a ‘campaigns’ section, which shows current campaigns or activity happening across your channels. For example, a brand partnership.


The key to any successful social media workflow is preparation. It not only keeps your entire team on the same page, but it also makes managing the workflow a lot easier, and you can expect far less hiccups.

Try to plan as far in advance as is convenient, and remember that your plan isn’t set in stone - you can absolutely tweak it if you need to.

As far as staying on top of managing your workflow goes, transparency is the most important factor of keeping things running smoothly. Your entire team should be aligned on processes, deadlines, and guidelines - and you’ll be creating some seriously great content, without the hassle.

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