Message Approval Workflows
New to Sprout Social? Learn more about our approvals workflow and social media team collaboration here.
Sprout'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 Workflows are 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 article contains the following sections:
- Submitting for approval
- Approving or editing a message
- Approval Activity View
- Approval notifications
Define who has specific publishing abilities to specific profiles, as well as assign members of your team 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.
Grant users the Approve permission to give them Read Only access during the final step of approval.
Approvers must have Read Only and the Approve or Publish permissions for a profile to be an approver.
All users with access to a profile can be an Approver on steps in the workflow that aren't the final step.
You have flexibility when it comes to building your workflows. You can build simple workflows with a single step and user, or complex workflows containing multiple steps with several users approving each step.
To create a workflow:
- Navigate to Account & settings > Settings > Approval Workflows.
- Click Create New Workflow.
- Enter a name for your workflow. For example, Marketing Workflow.
- Add a step by entering a Name, and then adding Approvers from the dropdown.
- Choose Any or All for approval sign off during the workflow step.
- (Optional) Create an additional step by clicking Add Another Step, and repeat steps 3-5. If you need to delete a step, click .
- Click the Save button once add all the steps in your workflow.
Note: If you want users with Full Publishing permission to bypass steps in an Approval Workflow, enable the toggle under Workflow settings prior to saving.
You can duplicate completed workflows by clicking and deleted by clicking . You can edit a workflow by clicking .
Submitting 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.
To submit a message for approval:
- Create your post in Compose including your targeting options, adding media and updated metadata.
- Navigate to the Publishing Workflows section in Compose.
- Select the Approval Workflow you want to use from the dropdown.
- Click Submit.
Note: You can save the message as a draft without submitting it for approval. To do this, enable the This is a Draft toggle without selecting approvers.
Team members in the Approval Workflow selected receive email and in-app notification when you submit your message.
Note: Users with the Publish permission for a profile aren't 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 are required to submit the message for approval.
Approving or Editing a Message
You can find messages awaiting approval in the Publishing section. These messages appear in the appear in the Calendar, Drafts and Needs Approval tabs.
The Needs Approval section contains all of the messages waiting on review. Toggle visibility of messages across groups, specific Approval Filters, Authors, Workflows Asset Authors or Post Types with the Filter Menu.
Hover over a message to see available options for that message. As an approver, you can delete, duplicate, review Approval Activity, preview or edit any message.
As an author, you can see any message you submitted and edit or delete it.
Editing a Submitted Message
Click to open a Compose window.
As the original author, you can edit message content and select a different Approval Workflow, update schedule dates and times and the queue priority. You can't change the profiles selected in the Profile Picker and delivery method.
Keep in mind that a message submitted as a draft has to change to a queued or scheduled message before it can receive approval.
Note: If a submitted message doesn’t get rejected or approved before the originally scheduled time, it is automatically rejected. If a scheduled post has multiple post days/times, it stays in Needs Approval until the final time selected passes.
While a message is awaiting approval, the original author and anyone with the permission to approve the message can click on a message to view Approval Activity.
Approval Activity provides an additional layer of collaboration and visibility into the Approval Workflow by displaying when changes are made to a message, as well as any internal comments added by other team members. On the right, you can see which step of the Approval Workflow the message is currently on.
You can approve, reject, duplicate or edit messages from this view. As changes are made, Approval Activity shows who made the changes. Adding internal comments from this view, notifies the post author. You can also tag other team members in these comments, and they receive an email notification.
If you choose to reject a message, you can add an optional note as to why, which is added to Approval Activity and emailed to the original author. All rejected messages move to the Rejected section in the left navigation bar. These messages can get edited and re-submitted for approval.
Filter Approval Activity using the left panel. 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 isn't visible.
To keep things running smoothly and ensure messages are approved in time, Sprout automatically notifies message approvers and message authors of approvals requiring attention. These in-app notifications include:
- A daily notification that is sent each morning to message approvers if there are posts to approve. This notification includes a count of all the posts needing review in the next 24 hours. If all posts are approved, no notification is sent.
- A just-in-time notification that is sent each hour to message approvers if they have posts to approve.
Additionally, message authors also receive a new notification alerting them to expired approvals. This notification:
- Gets sent to a message author when a post wasn't fully approved in time for publishing.