Every month seems to bring a new site that you must be on according, to the fad-following social media gurus. You’ll remember them pushing the now-forgotten Google+ not long ago. Even if you’ve culled the list of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare, Google+, and their ilk down to the few that really impact your business, updating and engaging on all of them means that you won’t have any time left to do the actual work.
This article will introduce you to your new secret weapon and best friend: IFTTT. It’s pronounced like “lift” but without the “l” and stands for “if this, then that.”
What is IFTTT? Why Should I Use It?
IFTTT is a service that lets you create connections between online services like social networks, RSS feeds, Dropbox, and email.
Using IFTTT, you can automate your most monotonous social media tasks. You’ll be able to maintain a presence on multiple social sites without having to update each one manually.
Multiply your results without multiplying your effort.
How Does IFTTT Work?
IFTTT is made up of “recipes” composed of a trigger (IF This) and an action (Then That).
Here’s a simple example: IF you post a new photo to Instagram THEN create a photo post on your Tumblr blog.
What Can IFTTT Do?
Imagine the time savings if your Instagram picture was automatically uploaded to Twitter and Tumblr then backed up in Dropbox. Or if a new Tumblr link post was automatically tweeted to your followers.
If the internet really was a series of tubes, IFTTT would be the joints connecting them and routing your content where you want it to go.
Some social networks, like Instagram, can easily post their content elsewhere, but not all networks play nicely together. IFTTT fixes this problem and lets services with APIs interact with each other. That list includes most popular social networks but not Google+ or Pinterest (yet).
By connecting the services you use every day, IFTTT can:
- Syndicate content from one social network to another
- Share your blog posts automatically
- Share content directly from where you read it
- Back up any content you share or favorite
- Automate your Twitter engagement
Now we’ll look at each of these tricks in more depth.
1. Update All of Your Networks
The biggest benefit for busy bloggers, marketers, and community managers will be the ability to update multiple social networks at once.
Choose your most important network then use it to drive the rest. If Twitter is your best-performing network but some of your customers prefer Tumblr, you can keep them both happy and engaged without doubling your workload.
Best of all, unlike similar services, IFTTT allows you to customize your posts to each network. Every social site has its own quirks, so you’ll want to customize your content as much as possible.
For example, you don’t want to share an Instagram picture to Tumblr as a link. You want to share it as an image. IFTTT lets you do that.
This feature isn’t perfect, which is why you should be manually posting from the most important network for your business. If Twitter works best, post from there so you can optimize your use of mentions and hashtags. If Tumblr works best, post from there so that you can tag your posts and set click-through URLs. Then you can syndicate these posts out to other networks based on a template you create (example below).
2. Share Your Blog Posts Automatically
You’ve just put in the hard work of writing a great post. You brainstormed, you outlined, you drafted, you edited, you formatted. Now you can promote the post and respond to commenters, right? Not yet.
First you’ll have to go to every social network you use and share your new article. With the real work done, the drudgery begins.
No more. With IFTTT, you can set a new blog post to trigger actions like a tweet about that post.
IFTTT is a great way to implement a be everywhere strategy without spending all day updating your social profiles.
3. Share Content from Where You Read It
Hopefully you’re using an RSS reader or a “read later” service to make your media consumption as quick and efficient as possible.
Now you can share all the awesome posts you’re reading with your followers directly from your reader of choice.
Create IFTTT recipes to tweet posts you’ve favorited in Google Reader, on Twitter, or through a read later service like Instapaper, Readability, or Pocket. No more opening the post in a new window, copying the link, and pasting it into every social network you use.
Just click the star and IFTTT will take care of the rest.
4. Auto-Engage on Twitter
IFTTT has eleven triggers just for Twitter. One of the most powerful is “New follower.”
With this trigger you can:
- Thank new followers publicly: “@travelllll Thanks for the follow!”
- Direct message new followers with private messages or discounts: “D @travelllll Thanks for following. Save 10% off your next order with promo code COUPON.”
- Direct them to a page introducing them to your site: “@travelllll Thanks for following. You can learn more about MyBlog here: URL.”
- Ask them to sign up for your blog or newsletter: “@travelllll Thanks for following. Make sure you don’t miss anything important by signing up for the MyBlog newsletter here: URL.”
You can also trigger actions whenever someone mentions you. In this case you could:
- Add him/her to a list of “engagers.” These are the people you’ll want to reach out to when you need to do a survey or ask for help spreading the word about a new product launch. Obviously, you should vet this list and remove anyone who posted negative tweets.
- Reply with a message, especially if you aren’t active on Twitter or won’t respond: “@travelllll Thanks for reaching out, but we’re not very active on Twitter. The best way to contact us is…”
5. Back Up Your Content
Aside from your blog, all of the networks we’ve discussed so far control the content you post there. In most cases, you can’t export anything, even if you created it. Instead of meticulously saving and organizing everything, let IFTTT do the work for you.
You can use IFTTT to back up any content you share or favorite to Dropbox or Evernote.
Just set up IFTTT recipes to send any new posts from your networks of choice directly to a specific Dropbox folder or Evernote notebook. Then anything you share is saved without any more work on your part.
I find this particularly helpful for backing up Instagram photos.
Now you understand the full power of IFTTT to supercharge your social networking by managing your sharing and backing up your content.
How will you use IFTTT to make your life easier and your social networking better?
Photo by isado