Social Media Managers: Save Time With Ifttt

If you’re a social media manager, chances are, you spend a lot of time syndicating content across different feeds. You’re probably also understaffed.

It’s a lot of work maintaining multiple social feeds. Say you’ve published a new blog post. Well, no one’s going to see it unless you share it on Twitter. And Facebook. And Tumblr. So there you go again, repeating yourself again across the internet. Don’t you ever wonder — couldn’t a robot do this for me?

Yes it can. Meet Ifttt, the smartest little tool I’ve come across in a long time (I first read about it on Slate).

The website’s premise is based on a simple programming principle: “If This, Then That.” It means: if one action happens, then do this other action.

What makes Ifttt different from other websites of its kind is its customizations — you can tell it to cut through the clutter and do exactly what you need. First, you can specify which channel you’d like to listen to, or post to: Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, SMS, you name it. Second, when you set a trigger, you can specify what you want it to listen for, and what you want it to return.

I’ve been using Ifttt for nearly 6 months now, and it’s indispensable to our social media outreach. Here are some examples of what I use it for at the Test Kitchen.

Automatically Syndicate Our Daily Photo to Tumblr and Facebook

Our staff photographer, Steve Klise, posts a behind-the-scenes photograph of the Test Kitchen every day to our blog, The Feed. I know that our audiences on Tumblr and Facebook love these photographs, but downloading and re-uploading these photographs to post to Facebook and Tumblr is tedious and boring. And why do something that a robot can do?

So, I hand over the RSS feed to Ifttt and tell it to take the photograph from the RSS and share it on Facebook and Tumblr.

On Facebook, it uploads the new daily photograph to an album titled “Test Kitchen Snapshots” on our official Facebook page, and posts it straight to our Timeline. On Tumblr, it creates a new post and uploads it with the tag, TestKitchenSnapshot.

The result: Hundreds extra of likes, shares, reblogs and comments without needing me to manually push the post to different feeds.

Automatically Convert a Tweet to a Facebook-friendly Post (without making it obvious)

We spend a lot of time every week condensing Test Kitchen approved cooking tips into a 140 character #QuickTip for Twitter. Writing these involves research, verification, and editing. That’s a lot of work for a single tweet that most of our Twitter followers will never see. Using Ifttt, we automatically push any #QuickTip tweet to post as a Facebook Page status update. The best part? Ifttt can convert the tweet to a Facebook post without making it obvious that it began its life as a tweet. It strips the hashtag, and allows us to add a label and lengthen the post to more than 140 characters.

Where it starts:

How Ifttt automatically syndicates it:

How do we do this? First, we tell Ifttt to listen to any tweet @TestKitchen sends out with the hashtag #QuickTip. Then, once it grabs the tweet, we tell it to strip the hashtag. We also append an additional label (“Quick Tip of The Day”) in front of the content, something we couldn’t do on Twitter because of the character limit.

The result: A natural language Facebook page status update with interesting, informative content. The #QuickTip tweets that we put so much work into every day gets automatically shared with our Facebook fans, gaining us anywhere from 10-50 extra Facebook likes a day.


Customize your Instagram Posts

We like to take Instagram snapshots of the testing that goes on in the kitchen, but since most of our fans and followers don’t use Instagram, we also syndicate the photographs to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. For Twitter, I use Instagram’s native Instagram-to-Twitter plugin, but for Tumblr and Facebook, I like to have a bit more control over how the message looks when it posts.

Using Ifttt, I can append any language I’d like, such as: “A Live Instagram Snapshot from the Test Kitchen.”

Here’s how to build the command:

Here’s how it shows up:

Ifttt also allows me to upload our Instagram photographs into a neatly organized “Live Snapshots From the Test Kitchen” album on our Facebook Page. Here’s how the album looks like:

Every time Ifttt automatically pushes an Instagram snapshot to Facebook, the response we get is overwhelmingly positive. It’s a great way for folks to get a live, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Test Kitchen:

So there you have it — more social engagement on a daily basis with very little work. Obviously, these automated posts only make up a small minority of our social media feed, but I’ve found Ifttt to be a powerful supplement to the work that we do. The more that can be automated, the more time we have to do cool things like Blogger Contests or Live UStream Broadcasts.

Other Amazing Things Ifttt Can Do:

1. If I am tagged in a photo on Facebook, then save a copy to Dropbox.
2. If the weather dips below 50, then text me. 
3. If Dad emails me, then send me a text message.
4. If I change my Facebook profile picture, then update my Twitter profile picture.  
5. If I star something on Google reader, then send it to Instapaper. 

Thank you to @johnny_bones for telling me to write this post.