IFTTT is more than just a strange collection of letters; it’s a powerful tool for marketers. The acronym stands for If This, Then That — and it’s a site that provides a way to automate a range of online functions.
Automation sometimes gets a bad rap, but it can be a good thing, especially if it saves you time. That’s what IFTTT does.
Here’s a quick guide to IFTTT terminology. (On a side note, pronounce it like gift but without the G: ift.)
To make it work you, put four elements together:
- a channel (which can be a site like Twitter or Dropbox)
- a trigger (something that happens on one channel, like uploading a new avatar to Twitter) – that’s the this part
- an action (something that happens in another channel, like making that new Twitter avatar copy to your Facebook profile). That’s the that part.
- ingredients – bits of data that are part of a trigger (like a Twitter hashtag)
Together, the combination of channel, trigger, ingredients and action make up a recipe — and there are thousands to choose from on IFTTT. There are personal recipes and shared recipes which you can edit to create new personal recipes.
Confused? Don’t be. We’ve got a roundup of articles that will give you tons of tips and resources, so you can dig deeper into what IFTTT is and learn how it can help you.
The best way to understand IFTTT is to go through the process of setting up a recipe. That’s what this PC World walkthrough offers. Setup is simple and painless and, despite some teething troubles, the author describes the site as “fun and pretty darn useful, too.”
This tutorial by Lifehacker’s Adam Pash walks you through how the site works and shares some useful recipes.
This is another beginner’s guide covering setup, use and why the author thinks the tool is amazing. Useful ways that the author uses IFTTT include creating a roundup blog post and managing an email calendar — both of which could be useful to marketers. The 10-minute video is worth viewing and there’s also a transcript if you don’t have time to watch.
Social Media Marketing
Buffer is another of my favorite social media tools, so it was a great day when it was integrated with IFTTT. This article presents a number of useful recipes, including recipes allowing you to Buffer favorite tweets, schedule post updates, share your Instagram photos with an appropriate hashtag and more.
As a marketer, you’re probably already using a social media monitoring tool, but what if you could turn the content you are monitoring into more great content your audience can share? With the right recipe you could find out if someone is using your competition hashtag and selectively share that on another network. Or, as this post suggests, make sure your RSS feed updates selected social media channels without having to worry about when the API changes.
Emoderation presents some great recipes here, including ways to link Facbeook and Google+ statuses, send content to Tumblr and more. One tip stands out for marketers who want to be ultra-responsive — a recipe to notify you immediately when things change on your Facebook page.
This post on the Marketing Tech Blog shows you how IFTTT works with something like Hootsuite to schedule Twitter posts.
Your social media account requires a lot of care and feeding, and one way to do this is by content curation. This post includes a number of content curation recipes to help you do that.
Brian Groth shares four content curation recipes here. The thing to note here is that he has specific text, so it’s not just another automated share; there’s context too. Check out recipe number 4 — a good one to customize for your own sharing.
More Useful Recipes
On the Open Education Database blog, writer Ellyssa Kroski describes several useful IFTTT recipes and a few that are just plain wacky. While I don’t think there’s any need to send an automatic warning of a zombie outbreak, the recipe that changes profile pictures simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook is useful for marketers who want to keep branding in harmony.
And these recipes could also prove useful:
- Upload videos posted on YouTube to your Facebook Page – Sometimes it can be time consuming to post content in lots of different places. The recipe above helps alleviate some of the pain.
- Replace Google Reader – it’s nearly time for shutdown so this could be useful.
- Keep an eye on the competition – monitor your competitor’s feed for certain terms — you’ll need to edit this one.
- Get out of a meeting by scheduling a phone call — nuff said!
By now you have seen just how useful IFTTT can be. With more than 3,000 pages of recipes on the site at the time of writing, it could take a while to find your favorites (though the site includes filtering and search features), so here are some good places to start.
- Popular IFTTT recipes from the site itself
- Share your best IFTTT recipes – tips from Lifehacker readers
- How IFTTT is Changing the Way We Do Things on the Web – food for thought and some interesting usage examples
- Best IFTTT videos – for visual learners, via Marcus Endicott
- 35 Super Useful IFTTT Recipes You Might Not Know About – Lifehack article with a useful social media category
Have you used IFTTT? We’d love to hear about the recipes you have found most useful.