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 guide will cover how approving messages works.


Submit for Approval
Approve or Edit a Message
Approval Activity View


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.


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.


Build simple workflows with a single step and user, or complex workflows containing multiple steps with several users approving each step. 

To get started, navigate Account & Settings > Settings > Approval Workflows. Click Create New Workflow.


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


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


If you would like to create an additional step, click Add Another Step and repeat the process.

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.

Note: If you would like to allow users with Full Publishing permission to bypass steps in an Approval Workflow, enable the toggle beneath Workflow settings prior to saving.

Completed workflows can be duplicated by clicking Duplicate.png and deleted by clicking Delete.png. You can edit a workflow by selecting Edit.png.


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 Compose, 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 or scheduled post.

Note: It is also possible to save the message as a draft without submitting it for approval. To do this, enable the This is a Draft toggle without selecting approvers.

To submit the message for approval, click Approval.png at the bottom of Compose. Select the Approval Workflow you'd like to use.

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


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 for approval, they can be found in the Publishing section. Messages awaiting approval will appear in the Calendar, Drafts as well as Needs Approval.

Needs Approval

The Needs Approval section contains all of the messages waiting to be reviewed. Filters in the right panel enable you to toggle visibility of messages across groups, specific Approval Filters, Authors, Workflows or Message Types.


Hover over a message to see available options for that message. As an approver, you can delete, duplicate, review Approval Activitypreview or edit any message.

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

Editing a Submitted Message

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

As the original author, Compose allows you to edit message content and select a different Approval Workflow if necessary; however, the profiles selected in the Profile Picker and delivery method (queue vs. scheduled) cannot be changed.

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


Keep in mind that a message 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 time, 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

While a message is awaiting approval, the original author and anyone with the ability to approve the message can click Hollow_Approval_Activity.png 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. 


Messages can be approved, rejected, duplicated or edited from this view. As changes are made, Approval Activity will display who made the changes. Internal comments can be added by any team member who can access this view, which notifies the post author. You can also tag other team members in these comments, and they will be notified by email.

If you choose to reject a message, you can add an optional note as to why, which will be added to Approval Activity as well as emailed to the original author. All rejected messages move to the Rejected section in the left navigation bar, where they can be 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 will no longer be visible.

Learn more by reading Sprout's Message Approval Guide.


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