Marketing departments battle with chaotic workflows, the ever-evolving marketing landscape, and heated cross-functional discussions.
Since marketing activities have many moving parts, it's easy to forget things. Moreover, it is impossible to repeat the guidelines of your marketing processes every time you add new employees and freelancers to the mix. This results in issues like social media posts not going up on time, poorly color-synchronized graphics, and more.
To save yourself from the headache, you can create social media SOPs. Documenting your procedures will help you onboard new team members more efficiently and maintain consistency in your marketing efforts. So, learn how to create an SOP to stay organized even while growing your marketing team.
What are social media SOPs?
A standard operating procedure or SOP is a document containing step-by-step instructions on how to perform operations within an organization. Likewise, a social media SOP outlines instructions on how to carry out a marketing process in line with the company’s guidelines.
For a better understanding, think of SOPs as recipes. They tell you what you need to do and in which sequence. They are also easy to read and follow.
SOPs help organizations and teams maintain uniformity and efficiency. For example, you can create an SOP that states the process of creating social media posts.
What are the advantages of using social media SOPs?
Marketing management process includes a wide range of activities—from creating email newsletters to developing ad campaigns. With so many activities that need execution, you need to document your procedures for effective execution.
Let's understand the benefits of social media SOPs in more detail.
Ensures brand consistency across social media platforms
Brand consistency means consistent messaging across a brand’s social media profiles. Companies that maintained brand consistency increased their revenue by 33 percent.
Brands have one brand voice but many team members working on campaigns. So, document your processes to avoid ending up with a mismatch in your messaging. Develop an SOP that outlines what to say and how to say it on your social profiles.
Also, ensure that other teams such as graphic design and customer success can also access it.
Helps onboard new marketing hires
Research has found that 59 percent of businesses believe that a new hire can take up to six months to be productive.
Social media SOPs can reduce the time taken to be productive. They help new marketing hires quickly get acquainted with new tools and business processes.
This reduces the time you spend training new employees.
Maintain organizational knowledge
When senior employees leave a company, they have to share their knowledge with juniors and colleagues. This assures the preservation of valuable knowledge and the seamless operation of business processes.
Yet, senior employees may forget something leading to a loss of knowledge. SOPs play a major role in preventing such catastrophic circumstances.
How to write effective SOPs for social media teams?
Step 1: Define the purpose
Before writing an SOP, you should know why you are writing one in the first place.
To identify the purpose, find the problems faced by your marketing team. For example, your team may be inconsistent with content creation on LinkedIn. To solve it, you can create an SOP for content creation, which outlines the frequency of content, themes, time of publishing, etc.
When writing the purpose, avoid vagueness and be as specific as possible. Below are some questions you can ask to achieve clarity:
- What is the problem? Example, inconsistent content creation.
- Why is it important to solve this problem? Example, it has caused a reduction in leads and affected brand consistency.
- Why do we need an SOP to solve this problem? Example, it will define who'll create content, where, and how.
For the above example, the purpose will be:
To help social media teams become consistent with LinkedIn content creation.
Step 2: Select a Format
While you can choose the format of your marketing SOP based on your preferences, below are some standard SOP formats.
- Step-by-step format: It lays down the procedure in the form of instructions written from start to finish. It is one of the best format types because it is simple to create and easy to follow.
- Flowchart format: It comprises the use of flowcharts to showcase the procedure. Use this format if the process is complex and has numerous outcomes or touchpoints.
- Checklists: These include numbered or bulleted lists. For example, a content publishing checklist for your social media team. Use this format for processes that are not complicated.
Select an SOP format based on which format will be most suitable for the end user. It also depends on the complexity of the procedure you wish to document.
Step 3: Write the procedure
The procedure will form the bulk of your document. So, it's essential to write clear instructions.
While writing the steps of the process, keep the end-user in mind, which is your social media team. You should be aware of their level of knowledge so that you don't miss out on important information.
Also, clarify terms and acronyms to avoid misunderstanding later. You can also add screenshots and loom videos to aid the reader's understanding.
Writing SOPs is a challenging and time-consuming process. Scribe is a free process documentation tool that can help you save time while improving your workflow. Here's how to use it to speed up the process:
- Download Scribe's free browser extension.
- Start recording and performing the process that you want to document. You can pause or stop the recording and edit the steps. Scribe will automatically generate an SOP/step-by-step guide complete with text and screenshots.
- You can easily customize the document by adding or deleting steps and copying steps from one Scribe to another. Pro users can also edit and annotate the screenshots.
Step 4: Add inputs from SMEs
Once you've finished writing the SOP, ask internal marketing executives and heads to review the document. They can provide insights about document issues.
While they will review the document for accuracy, ask end-users to review it for comprehensiveness. This will ensure that the SOP creation becomes a collaborative process and the document is both accurate and easy to understand.
Step 5: Use Scribe to share the SOP with end-user
Scribe makes sharing of SOPs quick and effortless. Here’s how you can do it:
- Copy the link via the share button and send it via Slack or email. You can also hyperlink it to your knowledge base.
- Another option is to add emails of your teammates through the 'Sharing Settings'. You can decide whether they can edit the document or only view it.
- You can also embed the document in your CMS or knowledge base. Or you can export it as PDF, HTML, Markdown, or export to Confluence.
Step 6: Regularly update the SOP
Did you know that only four percent of organizations kept a check on their procedures? An unchecked and unmonitored business process is a perfect recipe for failure.
An SOP is a living and evolving document. It will change as your marketing grows and you add new processes or tools. So, keep SOPs up to date to ensure that it remains relevant.
You can choose how often or when you’ll update it. Ideally, you should update it every six months to one year. So here’s how you can update them:
- Every six months to one year, send the document for review to team members and executives. Ask them to share errors.
- Test the document by performing the procedure yourself and ask other team members to do the same. Ensure that the document is easy-to-follow and you can successfully complete the process.
- Update the document if there have been changes in your process. For example, the addition of new tools, deleting steps that have become redundant, etc.
Step 7: Organize your SOPs in one place using pages
You should organize all your marketing SOPs in one place so everyone can easily access them. Pages is a Scribe feature that lets you add several Scribes or SOPs in a single document.
You can use Pages to organize your SOPs based on the process, tool, or department. For example, you can devote a Scribe Page to Instagram marketing and add all the related SOPs to that Page.
Social media SOP best practices
There is a difference between knowing you need SOPs for your marketing team and executing them. While the previous section discussed how to write an SOP, this section covers the best practices.
- Avoid entrusting the entire process of SOP creation to one person. Make it a collaborative approach by including end-users.
- Know what procedures need an SOP and which don't. A process that is never repeated doesn't need to be documented.
- Use tools SOP creation tools like Scribe. It creates documents in seconds—you need to turn on the Scribe recorder and complete the process.
- Name the document correctly to avoid confusion in the future.
- Make sure the language is clear and easy to follow. Remove any vagueness and explain the terms to avoid any miscommunication.
- Since the marketing field is constantly evolving, update your SOPs regularly to stay on track.
Start Building Your Social Media SOPs
Growing your marketing department is fun until you have to explain your procedures to the new team member. Here's when marketing SOPs come in handy.
Besides onboarding new hires, they also help maintain consistency across social media platforms and preserve organizational knowledge. Moreover, tools like Scribe and Pages have made SOP creation, sharing, and management a breeze.
So, start creating your SOPs right away and remember to update them.