Guest Post: 5 “If This, Then That” Recipes for Social Media

Written by Formstack on April 25, 2013

Posted in Lead Generation

This guest post is by Brittany Berger, public relations specialist at eZanga. When she’s not helping users find information on the web faster and easier, you can find her dancing or watching movies about dancing. 

With social media being a 24/7/365 outlet, things are always happening on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else people spend their time online. To a social media marketer, this can be so overwhelming that we sometimes feel like we need to breathe into a paper bag (you know, because we’re hyperventilating).

One of my favorite calm-inducing tools for checking things off my to-do list is IFTTT, which stands for “if this, then that” and is pronounced like “gift” without the ‘g.’ IFTTT is all about actions and reactions: if this happens, then so does that.

The building blocks of IFTTT formulas/recipes are channels, triggers, actions, and ingredients. A channel is any of the 60 services that you can connect to your IFTTT account, including everything from social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to things like phone calls, text messages, and email. Triggers are actions in the “this” part of an IFTTT recipe; they’re what set off the rest of the recipe. Triggers are things like “posting an update on Facebook” or “starring an item in Google Reader.” Actions are the “that” part, what happens when a trigger occurs. Ingredients are extra pieces of data needed for the recipe.

For example, let’s take apart this recipe. The channels involved are IFTTT and email. The trigger is any new update to the IFTTT site. The action is sending a new email. So the recipe would be “if IFTTT is updated, then send me an email.” Other ingredients for this recipe are the email subject and body.

As social media marketers, we know that while all social media shouldn’t be automated, some of it can be. And to keep one’s sanity in check, some of it should be. These IFTTT recipes may save you a few minutes each time they’re activated, which means IFTTT could end up saving you hours or more each week!

1. Upload Instagram pictures to Twitter

Even though Instagram disabled Twitter cards for your filtered photos in an effort to get users to view more pictures through, there are several ways to upload Instagram photos to Twitter, including just saving the Instagram photo and tweeting it. But who has time for that? With this recipe, IFTTT actually uploads the Instagram photo to Twitter and uses the caption of the photo as the tweet’s text. One thing to keep in mind with this one is Twitter’s character limit for tweets.

2. When you pin something on Pinterest, upload image to Twitter

Even though Pinterest isn’t an official IFTTT channel, this recipe is possible by creating an RSS feed of your Pinterest profile. It’s sort of a Pinterest version of the above recipe. When you pin anything new, it will take the image and upload it to Twitter so the tweet expands and shows the image. Once again, keep in mind that the pin’s description may get cut off after a certain number of characters because of Twitter’s character limit.

3. Add new items from an RSS feed to Pocket

In our industry, it’s important to always be up on news and trends, both of which move lightning fast. That usually means a lot of reading. This recipe accommodates that by basically turning Pocket into an RSS reader that you can view on any device (phone, tablet, or computer), online or offline. Just enter a blog/publication’s RSS feed into the ‘Feed URL’ field. From Pocket, you can even share the articles you read in line at the grocery store.

4. Save Instagram photos to Dropbox

Backing up your content and social media activity is important. You never know when a site will go down, your account will be hacked, or for some reason you don’t have access to the content or profile. This recipe backs up your Instagram photos by downloading them to a folder in your Dropbox account. This is also great for repurposing content; having a .jpg of the photo available anywhere is helpful when you want to use the picture somewhere else.

5. When you change your Facebook profile picture, change your Twitter avatar

Most marketers recognize that even though all social networks are different, there are some aspects of social profiles that should be consistent across different networks. An avatar/profile picture is one of those aspects. An avatar or profile picture is the audience’s first impression of a brand or person on social media. It then becomes familiar and is how the audience identifies the account. By using the same or similar avatars across platforms, you or your brand becomes more recognizable. This IFTTT recipe ensures that your Facebook and Twitter profiles have consistent branding by updating your Twitter avatar whenever you change your Facebook profile picture.

Variations: There are probably thousands of variations of these recipes, and you can always create even more. For example, you can upload images from a lot of different websites to Twitter. But instead of sending any action to Twitter, you could send it there through Buffer or Hootsuite so that it’s scheduled instead of tweeted out immediately. You can also use these apps to schedule other sorts of posts. A lot of recipes can also be made more specific, such as pins to a certain Pinterest board or Instagram pictures with a certain hashtag. And you can back-up social posts to several different services. If the actions are supported, you can create anything.

What are your favorite IFTTT recipes? Share links to them below in the comments!