Even though your social media messages may seem fleeting, their initial impact can be long lasting. What’s more, even when you have an edit or delete feature available, any posts to social networks can be captured and preserved forever. That’s why it’s extremely important that you don’t have any mistakes—either typos or inconsistent messaging—when you post.
Considering the stickiness of the impression each message can have, it’s not uncommon to ask a colleague to review your posts before sending. Getting more eyes on an update will not only catch any sneaky typos, but it can ensure that you’ve perfectly captured your brand voice and appealed to your followers.
Enter Sprout Social’s Drafts. This facet of our social media management platform lets you compose and store messages before hitting publish—making it easy for you and your teammates to make edits or wait for final approval. With a better understanding of this feature of Sprout Social, your whole team can be on the same page with your brand’s messaging and publishing strategy.
1. Prepare: Review Your Voice and Messaging
To position your content for maximum impact, clearly define your social media voice and how you’ll convey it in your messaging. Social content should be an extension of your brand as a whole. As your customers likely interact with you across multiple channels, your brand voice should be consistent across all forms of digital communication.
Take this opportunity to reevaluate your goals. Does your brand’s voice work to accomplish what you want to get out of your social media efforts? Is that voice consistent across your past messages? Which messages were weak, and why? Since this voice ties in so closely with the rest of your brand’s communications, gather your marketing or executive team and determine how your messaging can help you achieve your social media objectives.
Sprout Social can help streamline your analysis. Look at the Sent Messages reports for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to see if your voice or messaging changes by network. Ideally, your brand voice should stay consistent with your brand identity, while your messaging may shift slightly in so far as the demographic you want to reach on each network could differ. Keep a log of when and how your voice changes, then consider how you could better address those cases in the future for more consistency.
2. Explore: Learn to Use Drafts
Once you have identified your social voice and goals, it’s time to put together Drafts. This is one of Sprout Social’s central publishing features. Rather than write a message that’s intended for immediate publish, you can save a version to review at a later time.
- From the Dashboard, click on Compose in the upper right corner.
- Click the paper icon to compose your message as a draft.
- Write your message in the text field.
- Click Save.
When you click the Draft icon in Compose, you’ll notice the Send button becomes the Save button. By switching to Draft mode before typing your message, you won’t be able to accidentally send the message out. Of course, the Compose window for users with Draft Only access will automatically default to Save rather than Send.
Keep your drafts updated so that any user with publishing permissions can send an approved and branded message at any time.
3. Execute: Implement Drafts In Your Social Workflow
Once you’re familiar with the Drafts feature, it’s time to focus on implementation. First, detail an order of operations. Who will write the Drafts? Who will review each message? Who makes any necessary changes? Who hits publish or puts the message in the Sprout Queue? Setting specific Read Only, Draft or Publish permissions on the user and profile level helps define how your team can interact with the application. It’s important that you answer these questions and develop a plan before your team starts using Sprout’s publishing features to execute your content strategy.
Second, plan how you’ll ensure that your voice is heard clearly and consistently in each message. Using Drafts can help create consistency across all of the team members who are responsible for creating content or engaging with your audience. Keeping a close eye on messaging and brand voice will ensure that not only are your social needs being met, but you continue to build a strong social reputation—especially when so many different divisions of your company might be participating in social conversations.
- Are you solving a customer service problem, but aren’t sure if you’ve provided the correct answer? You can save a draft and ask one of your developers or customer support reps to review it.
- Are you focused on marketing? Consider creating your branded message or campaign and saving the drafts for approval by management or the executive team.
- Are you working on a product release? This is a way to get the whole team involved with how you’ll present your latest and greatest work to your social fans. You may be surprised how often collaboration will yield the best brainstorms.
- Are you thinking ahead? Plan for crises that could potentially occur so you’re never caught off-guard. Have content readily available by creating drafts to address any potential issues; simply adjust and publish at a moment’s notice.
4. Look Ahead: Bring Your Team Up to Speed
Finally, continue to train your team on when and how to use Drafts. Be clear in assigning responsibilities and adjust the workflow as necessary to keep everything running smoothly. Everyone should know who can approve posts and who can publish. Ensure the whole team knows the “why” behind taking this approach.
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Patrick Cuttica: Prior to joining Team Sprout as Product Marketing Manager, Patrick was an avid Sprout user while managing several brand accounts for a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. When he's not obsessing over all things social media, Patrick can be found playing with his dogs or stand-up paddleboarding—or both!