Message Approval Workflows

Sprout Social's Message Approval Workflows help teams collaborate effectively by creating multiple step and multiple user workflows that enable submitting, reviewing and approving or rejecting outgoing messages.

Note: Message Approval is available on Professional and Advanced plans.

Whether you want to mitigate errant social posts, avoid grammatical errors or bolster an agency-to-client relationship, approving messages provides a great collaborative opportunity within the platform. This guide will cover how approving messages works.

Topics

Permissions
Settings
Submit for Approval
Approve or Edit a Message
Approval Activity View

Permissions

Define who has specific publishing abilities to specific profiles, as well as assign members of your team with the ability to approve messages for publication. You can manage these permissions as you invite each team member, or by selecting a team member in Users & Social Profiles.

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The Approve permission designates a Read Only user with the ability to approve messages on the final step. An Approver must have the Read Only and the Approve or Publish permissions for a profile to be an approver on the final step. All users with access to the profile can be an approver on steps that are not the final step.

Settings

You can create step-by-step approval processes within Sprout. Build simple workflows with a single step and user, or complex workflows containing multiple steps with several users approving each step. 

Set up approval workflows by selecting Settings_Gear.png on the top right corner of the screen. Next, select Workflow Approvals under Global Features in the left navigation bar. Click the Create New Workflow button to get started.

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Begin by naming your workflow. You need to add at least one step. Name your first step and then select the corresponding approver or approvers.

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Make sure to select if Any or All approvers need to sign off during this step.

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If you would like to set up an additional step, click Add Another Step and repeat the process for creating a step.

You can click Delete_step_icon.png to delete any steps in the workflow. Click the Save button once you’ve finished all of the steps in your flow.

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Completed workflows can be duplicated by clicking Duplicate_icon.png and deleted by clicking Delete_workflow_icon.png. You can edit a workflow by selecting Edit_Workflow_Pencil.png.

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Watch the video below to learn more about Approval Workflow Settings.

Submit for Approval

Collaborate more effectively with your team on tone and content. Submit messages for approval if you need more eyes on your copy. Work effectively with clients and get the sign-off on important messages.

In the Compose Window, create your message as usual. Select targeting options, upload a photo, edit metadata on a link post—all these settings will be applied to the message if/when submitted for approval. You have the option to submit the message as a draft, queued message or scheduled post.

Note: It is also possible to save the message as a draft without submitting it for approval. To do this, select the Save as Draft option without selecting any approvers.

To submit the message for approval, click the stamp icon in the lower left corner of the window. Clicking this will open the Approval Workflows menu, where you can select a workflow.

Team members in the workflow you selected will receive email and in-app notifications when the message is submitted. 

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Note: Users with the Publish permission for a profile are not required to submit the message for approval, but they can if they'd like to have it reviewed by someone. Users with the Needs Approval or Can Reply permission will be required to submit the message for approval.

Watch this video to better understand using Approval Workflows.

Approve or Edit a Message

After messages are submitted, approvers will find an easy-to-use interface for approving or rejecting them from within the Publishing tab. Messages awaiting approval will appear in the Calendar, as well as the Needs Approval view.

Needs Approval

The Needs Approval section contains all of the messages waiting to be reviewed. Using the sidebar, you can toggle visibility of Scheduled, Queued, or Drafted messages.

If you would like to view only the messages that are specifically submitted for your approval, use the Messages I can approve filter. You can use the Messages I am mentioned in or Messages I have commented on to further focus what is visible. It's also possible to filter by specific authors.

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Hover over a message to see available options for that message. As an approver, you can deleteapprove or edit any message in the list.

As an author, you can see any message you submitted and edit or delete them.

Editing a Submitted Message

Click Approval_Pencil_Icon.png to open a Compose window that looks different depending on who is editing the post.

As the original submitter, the Compose window allows you to edit the content of the message. The current approval workflow can be removed and a new one added. However, the profiles in the picker or the delivery method (queue vs. scheduled) cannot be changed.

Scheduled dates and times as well as the queue priority (next vs. last) can be changed.

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Keep in mind that a message that was submitted as a draft must be changed to a queued or scheduled message before it can be approved.

Note: If a submitted message doesn’t get rejected or approved before the originally scheduled times, it will automatically be rejected. If a scheduled post has multiple post days/times, it will stay in Needs Approval until the final time selected passes.  

Approval Activity View

While a message is awaiting approval, the original author and anyone with the ability to approve the message can click Approval_Activity_icon.png on a message to go to the Approval Activity view.

This view provides an additional layer of collaboration and visibility into the entire approval workflow by showing a stream that displays when changes are made to a message, as well as any comments added by other team members. On the right, you can see which step the approval process is in currently. 

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Messages can be approved, rejected, or edited from this view. As changes are made, the activity stream will display who made the changes. Comments can be added by any team member who can access this view, which notifies the posts author, and if a message is rejected, the rejection note is included in the stream.

You can reject a message by clicking Reject Message on the right.

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Rejecting a message will prompt you to add an optional note that will be included in an email notification to the author. All rejected messages move to the Rejected tab, where they can be edited and re-submitted for approval.

It is possible to filter the stream using the left bar. Choose to see all Approval Activity, only Message Updates, or only Internal Comments.

Note: This screen is only accessible up until the point when a message is finally approved. Once a message is approved and scheduled or queued, the Approval Activity view will no longer be visible.

Learn more by reading Sprout's Message Approval Guide.

 

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