Are You Using IFTTT In Your Lean Marketing Strategy?


Any marketing plan needs to have a social media plan. And, any social media plan needs to utilize the latest technology to stay relevant. New social media platforms are coming out every day. Many of them fail, but some of them succeed. It is to your advantage to try to have a presence on all of them. But, if you are like me, you simply do not have time to devote to testing out marketing strategies and evaluating their success on every social media site.

This is where IFTTT saves the day. IFTTT offers solutions to anyone running a marketing campaign using a blog or other social media. It also provides valuable resources for gathering market research. Best of all, there is no cost associated with the service. This entry will cover what exactly IFTTT is, what any lean marketing social media plan should have, and how IFTTT can meet (and exceed) the demands of your plan.

What is IFTTT?

If you are looking to coordinate different applications on the web, IFTTT is a perfect solution. IFTTT is relatively new, launched at the tail end of 2010, so you are still ahead of the curve if you start using it today. Pronounced like “gift” without the g, IFTTT uses Recipes, simple conditional statements, to connect different platforms.

IFTTT stands for “if this then that.” The “this” part of the equation is known as a Trigger. Triggers involve a specific operation being performed within one of the apps currently available on Examples of Triggers are “If I post a status update to Facebook” or “If the Weather calls for rain.”

The Trigger part of the Recipe causes the “that” portion, or Action, to happen. Like Triggers, Actions are also operations performed on a web application. Building on the two examples above, examples of Actions could include “Then post a tweet to Twitter” or “Send me a text message reminding me to bring my umbrella.”

The list of channels IFTTT utilizes is growing all the time. Right now, it is at 73. Some of my favorites include:

  • Craigslist
  • Date & Time
  • Dropbox
  • Facebook Pages
  • Instagram
  • iOS Photos
  • WordPress
  • YouTube

As you may have been able to tell, the IFTTT functions work well with iOS and the iPhone.

What Every Social Media Plan Should Have

Before going in depth into how IFTTT can be the game changer for your social media lean marketing plan, I am first going to explore what your plan must include to be successful. Sure, there is a fair amount of trial and error involved in lean marketing: trying a variety of different strategies and seeing what fits. But, to achieve the most success, one must have measurable goals and plans for achieving those goals.

According to Amy Porterfield, author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies, “If your social-media plan is to just wing it, your fans and potential customers are going to know.” And, this could turn your users off of you and on to your competitors. To avoid this, you need an effective social media strategy.

Users are the biggest currency in social media. Users include followers, commenters, fans, “Likers,” etc. Users see what you are posting and potentially share it. They have the ability to increase the reach of your social media presence. In a way, users are more important than customers. If you satisfy your users, more customers will follow.

Keeping this in mind, you want to find the point where your social media goals intersect with your users’ needs. In other words, how does your social networking provide value to your users and customers? Once you determine your specific answer to that question, it will serve as a mission statement to keep your social media work focused.

If you found this blog post, chances are you are the sole person in charge of your social media accounts. If this assumption is wrong, then I highly recommend not having multiple people work in one account. Figure out who will be in charge of which account. And then, coordinate posts. I recommend a quick meeting each morning outlining what will be posted during the day.

Use a calendar specifically devoted to social media posts. This can be an electronic calendar, but the old physical variety hung in your office is preferable for its quick reference and ever-presence. Map out what you will be posting on which dates. On holidays, I like to post a relevant question that stimulates discussion. For example: “Happy Thanksgiving! What discussion topics will you be avoiding around the Thanksgiving table this year?”

Set a few times aside each day to engage your users. I do this during my “break” times. I am always on. I do not like to take breaks. Consequently, when I am eating breakfast or lunch or a snack, I use this time to follow up on user comments or questions. This lets users know that they are dealing with a real human being and not just some faceless organization.

Now that I have covered some general aspects of social media plans, I want to go into what specific applications you should use. In three words: ALL OF THEM! Social media is FREE. This is your opportunity to increase SEO, collect more users, and get your brand out there. If there are people using a specific social media platform, it does not hurt for you to be on there as well.

Information-rich blogging that really interests users is the single most important thing you can do to promote your brand. Search engines look for these blogs. Users share these blog entries. Pay special attention to which blog topics garner the most attention, which lead to more sales, which lead to more users, etc.

We all know Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the big players in social media today. And, of course, you should focus more attention on them. But, you should not forget Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Reddit, etc. These websites have loyal followings of heavy social media users, otherwise they would not exist. These users also tend to post across platforms to the large audiences they have accumulated. So, for example, you may help your Facebook following by increasing your presence on Instagram.

How IFTTT Can Help with that Plan

Now, you may be thinking, “There are only so many hours in the day. I cannot devote all of my time to just focusing on every single little social media platform!” And, you are right. Creating a blog post then taking the time to post it on every web application under the sun, then checking to see if there are any user responses, then responding to the users, and finding some time for market research can be exhausting.

IFTTT was created to help you with all of this. My favorite use for IFTTT is the automation of my posting. The majority of the blogs used today utilize Blogger or WordPress. I personally use WordPress, but IFTTT has a variety of channels that likely includes the website host you have.

Using WordPress as an example, the following recipes have helped me increase my presence on all social media platforms. If I add a new WordPress post, then

  • My Facebook Page is updated with a link to the post.
  • Twitter tweets a link to the post.
  • My personal Facebook account is updated with a link to the post.
  • My Google Plus account is updated with a link to the post.
  • My Blogger account is updated with a new blog post.
  • Tumblr is updated.
  • It is shared on LinkedIn.
  • It is posted to Delicious.
  • It is posted to Reddit.
  • My Diigo account is updated with the post.
  • It appears on a HootSuite Channel.

For those of you keeping score at home, that is ELEVEN different platforms where my post automatically appears within a few minutes of me posting it.

In addition, you can instantly create new WordPress posts with every iOS, Instagram, or Flickr photo or YouTube video. I want to caution you to be careful with this one because if you use your phone for any non-business purposes, you may end up with some irrelevant pictures or videos posted all over your social media platforms.

You should be posting on your social media accounts around two to five times per day. Most of these should be original content produced by you. Users are less interested in others’ work that you are sharing. They want to see what you have to offer. IFTTT can help you post to all of your accounts at once. I recommend using Twitter for the Trigger. There are Recipes that allow you to use a hashtag to denote which social media account you want to post to. So, for example, if you want your tweet to show up on Facebook, create a Recipe that posts your tweet to Facebook when you use the #fb hashtag.

One of the most overlooked aspects of IFTTT is its market research potential. You can receive updates (sent to your email, saved to the cloud, texted to you, etc.) on pretty much any search term posted to some social media channels. Using Instagram as an example, you could have any images with the tag “smartphone” saved to your Google Drive. You could use this to see what smartphones people are posting about. Or, you could create a blog post about top smartphone uses based on these photos.

In Closing

As with any new technology, IFTTT has its limitations and bugs. Approximately, one out of every ten Recipes I have used did not work properly. Be sure to test your recipes a couple times. You want to watch out for infinite loops (in which you get the same update posting repetitively). IFTTT does a good job of idiotproofing (a must for me) the Recipes, so this does not happen. But, it does not hurt to be cautious.

As you can see, IFTTT introduces a multitude of exciting new possibilities for lean social media marketing. And, the possibilities will only expand as this new tool becomes more popular and more web applications realize they need to get on board to survive. By utilizing this tool now, you will be ahead of the curve and have a jump on your competitors as they sit back in awe of your seeming omnipresence online.


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Hi! I'm Jason Brown and I’m a 36 year old digital marketing intrapreneur living in beautiful Louisville, Kentucky. I've been involved with the Internet since 1996 and have personally made millions online with my creative marketing tactics and persistence. I blog about marketing, money, and motivation. Thanks for stopping by!

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