Automate repetitive social media tasks with IFTTT

06 January 2015

Automating certain social media tasks is a useful way to maximise productivity and efficiency; it avoids the need to be constantly present on Twitter, Facebook etc. and means that tasks can be processed in convenient batches.

However, automation in social media should be done with care. In order to be truly social, even if updates are scheduled, for example, it is still important to engage with followers and fans, and if the company needs to address a PR issue or there is a global disaster for example, scheduled posts may need to be paused or adapted.

The role of automation, then, is one of balance, and choosing the right tools for this purpose is a good way of controlling the degree to which your social media tasks are pre-prepared. We all see social automation when it’s annoying and intrusive (auto-DMs for new followers, anyone?!) but, if done well, it should be seamless and natural.

IFTTT is an extraordinary online tool based on the computer programming principle of ‘if this, then that’. By connecting channels together, ‘recipes’ can be created that kick in when a chosen action is triggered. Some of the recipes used on the site are really incredible: when it is sunset, turn on the lights; get an email if it’s going to rain; blink the lights at home when the International Space Station is passing, and even remember your girlfriend’s birthday.

But, as well as marvelling over the ingenious applications people have discovered for this tool, you can also use IFTTT recipes to automate those social media tasks that have to be done again and again and again. Here are some examples:

IFTTT Twitter Recipes

  1. Automatically post new blog posts to Twitter
  2. Save all your tweets in a Google spreadsheet
  3. Save tweets you ‘favourite’ to Evernote

IFTTT Instagram Recipes

  1. Archive all of your Instagram photos to your Evernote account
  2. Update your Twitter profile pic by using a specified hashtag on Instagram
  3. When sharing Instagram photos on Twitter, have them appear as native Twitter pictures rather than just a link

IFTTT Facebook Recipes

  1. Use your blog’s RSS feed to automatically share new blog posts on your Facebook Page
  2. Automatically share your Pinterest pins on your Facebook Page
  3. Schedule Facebook Page posts using Google Calendar

IFTTT LinkedIn Recipes

  1. Invite new iPhone contacts to connect on LinkedIn
  2. Add LinkedIn contacts to a Google Drive spreadsheet
  3. Archive your LinkedIn updates in Evernote