We faced one of the best problems when building a discipline: the team outgrew the process. Our social team increased nearly tenfold—which came with some growing pains. So we looked to our counterparts on the digital side of the agency. Taking a page from our developer friends' playbooks, we adopted Agile and Scrum methodologies for managing social.
The Success We’ve Seen
Let’s talk first about the improvements we’ve seen since we implemented these methodologies into our process. For one client, we went from making an average of 22 posts per month to creating 37 posts per month, while significantly decreasing cost-per-post for our clients.
Agile and Scrum also made our content creation process work better for us. Before, our creatives had two to three days to make and review content. This timeline didn’t allow space for timely posts or much flexibility. By reworking our system, we were able to expand those processes out, so content creation, internal reviews, and client reviews each have an entire dedicated week. This gives our team more breathing room and gives our clients more time to give feedback.
With more efficient workflows opening up more flexibility in our content schedule, we were even able to schedule and execute a photoshoot for one of our largest clients. During the photoshoot, we captured custom content that we’ve been incorporating into many social posts since.
Now, let’s get into the changes we made.
How We’ve Adapted Agile + Scrum for the Social Space
“Imagine a world where stress was (mostly) removed and projects were fun, feasible, and collaborative in a trusting environment where you can just DO the work instead of worrying about HOW you’ll do the job.” — Carrie Pickering, Scrum Master
We heard this promise and knew this was how we were aiming to set our team up for success and give them the freedom to work in the best way for them.
Agile and scrum are strategies for project management that emphasize collaboration and iterative progress toward a defined goal. The overarching goal is divided into smaller tasks and work phases called sprints. These cyclical phases allow the team to reflect and improve their approach regularly. This provided the appropriate check-ins needed between all the stakeholders and team members, not to mention the ability to anticipate when kickoffs, work drops, and review cycles would happen internally and with clients.
How We Structure Social Sprints
Sprints are one to four-week timeframes where the team focuses on completing a prioritized task list. We decided two-week sprints would work best for our team. Especially with how rapidly social media moves, shorter sprints give us flexibility in our strategy and the ability to create timely content.
At the beginning of a sprint, everyone on the team gives input on how long a task—from copywriting to designing graphics to reviewing content—should take and how difficult it will be. Once a collective decision is reached on the timeline and task list, the team can get going. We also have our clients sign off that the sprints include their content priorities for that timeframe.
With these two weeks of assignments, meetings, and priorities set, we’ve seen improved communication and collaboration. The client loves the clear and consistent expectations, not to mention time protection for our creatives to be…well…creative with the content.
Our Agile Social Process
Since implementing Agile, our social media content production process has radically transformed. Gone are the days of chaotic timelines and overwhelming moving parts. With sprints, there is a distinct order to every step of the process, providing everyone involved with a sense of structure and breathing room. Here’s a look at how our process goes:
1. Sprint planning
This is where the general housekeeping happens before getting into the nitty-gritty details of the assignment. Items are converted into tasks and estimated. Ideally, team members have an opportunity to confirm that the timeframes and estimated workload are possible. It helps provide predictability and creates a collaborative environment to arrive at the goal for each sprint.
We put all of our scoped delivery items in our backlog for things that needed to happen within the quarter. This allows us to pre-plan the quarter as best as possible to meet client deadlines and still provides flexibility for timely requests. Pulling items from the backlog into the two-week sprint planning and committing to completing that work in the timeframe made a difference in the pacing of the work.
Once we’re aligned on our direction forward, we consult our client for final sign-off and agreement on priorities.
2. Kickoff and Creation
Creativity takes time, and the consistent Always Be Creating (ABC) nature of social media means that we must protect our team's time for space to do just that. Typically in kickoffs, the full admin and creative team reviews all the final timelines, responsibilities, and new requests that have popped up. The strategy team gives the creative team background into the whys and hows of each subject and post intents they’re assigned to that week. Answering questions upfront about CTA’s, logic, the reason behind the post, and any inspiration that led to it making its way into the final calendar is helpful context to set the team up for success.
After all the questions have been answered, the fun part of social media starts—content creation. We leave the creatives with the posts for five days to work their magic.
3. Creative + Internal Review
While the creatives make new content for five days, we start the review process for the prior week’s work. This way, we’re both making and delivering content continuously.
Typically there are 2-3 days provided for creative leadership to work with the team on fine-tuning things from their end before the strategy and admin teams see things. Once we get sign-offs, the other team members will provide feedback based on best practices and client perspectives. We do our best to put on our client hats to anticipate glaring things that might stand out based on our collective knowledge.
After a quick round of proofing, everything is off to the client to distribute to their team.
4. Client review periods
Gaining clients' input is one of the most crucial parts of the process—it helps us enhance the content further and align it with their brand messaging and goals. We maintain open lines of communication during the client review period, actively addressing any questions or concerns they may have.
5. Revisions and Delivery
As soon as we receive clients’ feedback, we get started on revisions. This step is where we fine-tune the content and ensure it perfectly captures the clients’ brand essence. Once the revisions are complete, we move to final delivery of the content. This includes sending back final files for uploading to DAM platforms, scheduling social media posts, finalizing giveaways, and more.
All of this typically happens over about four weeks, or two sprints, with content drops delivered to the client each Friday and feedback received each Monday. When one round of content is in creation, another is in review internally or from the client or being scheduled. This process allows our team to create while actively keeping the lines of communication open.
Adopting Agile Sprint Methodology has been a game-changer for our content production process. It has empowered our team to work collaboratively, adapt quickly to client needs, and deliver high-quality results. By embracing Agile and Scrum, we’ve boosted our efficiency, creativity, and client satisfaction in our social media strategy.