If This Then That…
Serious Social Media Automation
Everytime some new content is published here at Digital Marketing HQ, I share it across several social media accounts.
I post updates on Twitter, personal and business account, my Facebook wall and business page, and the same with Google+. The images get pinned to Pinterest and the URL of the content is bookmarked on StumbleUpon, Delicious and Digg.
That process is really the bare minimum that you should be doing to spread the word about your new content and build social signals for your website, but it is certainly a pain in the arse to bounce around the different social media platforms to post updates and make bookmarks.
Some social media sites can be set up to be linked such as Facebook and Twitter but this still requires the actual posting of an update or tweet by hand and the set up is not exactly simple.
What if there was a way to connect your Twitter and Facebook page to the RSS feed of your blog so that as soon as you hit publish, your social media accounts automatically fired out the title of the post and a link back to it?
What if we could go further and connect a bunch of other accounts? Auto-Post to Tumblr for example, or perhaps automatically create a bookmark on Delicious?
That would be some seriously cool social media automation.
I was recently introduced to a new web based tool by some guys in a group I’m a part of (thanks Danny and Mark). This new tool is called IFTTT, it’s pronounced like ‘gift’ without the g and the name also stands for ‘If This Then That’. It’s an easy to use service that can take care of the more mundane parts of your social media marketing strategy.
Using IFTTT To Auto-Post
With IFTTT you can create what they call a recipe, this is basically a connection between two different accounts and an action. It’s a lot less complex than it sounds, I will go through some steps below to show you a recipe I use for auto-posting to Twitter every time I hit publish on a new post.
There are a lot of platforms that can be used with IFTTT, some are still not available(such as Google+) but with some imagination you could build some very handy, time saving, link building recipes!
Let’s get to it:
Head over to IFTTT.com and register (it’s free), when you are logged in the first thing you need to do is set up your channels (social media accounts etc) this is quite a painless process and only needs to be done once.
Just click on the icon of the service you want to connect, allow IFTTT permission to access it by confirming in the pop up boxes. Then you will be able to use these services in a recipe.
For this example I’m going to create a recipe to connect the RSS feed of this blog to my personal Twitter account.
Click on ‘My Recipes’ and then ‘Create a Recipe.
Next you need to create a trigger, so click on ‘this’.
Select your trigger, in this case it’s the RSS feed channel. So click on the feed icon and on the next page we will configure it.
Select ‘New feed item’. Then just enter your feed URL into the box.
For WordPress users, your RSS feed URL is usually your domain URL followed by/feed, or /RSS .
Hit ‘Create Trigger’ and you will then need to select your ‘that’ (in this case Twitter)
Click on ‘that’ and then you can set up Twitter.
Click on ‘Post a tweet’, you will have some options to customise the Tweet a little on the next page but the default is to Tweet the post title and URL. You can add some pre text or post text if you like, I have added the phrase ‘New post’ before the title.
To add extra short-cuts (called ingredients), click the plus icon and a drop down menu has some extra options for you such as add the date, author and some of the content.
Almost done, all that is left is for you to name and tag your recipe so that you know what it does later on.
From now on, whenever I publish a new post on this blog, Twitter will pick up an update from the RSS feed and publish the details as a Tweet. Cool right? That is just one way you can use IFTTT for social media automation, there are many more combinations to be made if you want to go deeper.