18 Apr 15 Actionable IFTTT Recipes to Up Your Marketing Productivity Game
There’s a lot of buzz around the proverbial marketing productivity water cooler about IFTTT recipes – a recipe, which, when turned on, can automate and manage huge swaths of our daily lives. Perhaps you’ve heard about it or even ignored it. Or, perhaps you’re still waiting for the not-so-distant-Artificial-Intelligence-driven future to arrive. Guess what? The future is here – well, at least when it comes to marketing automation, predictive analytics and machine learning in and around growth marketing.
Connectivity has come a long way. Although we haven’t reached a point where you can have a human conversation with a computer, inspiring real human emotions from your smartphone or laptop, you can beef up the decision-making skills with the technology you’re already using. How? By putting some of your more tedious tasks on auto-pilot. Do this and it’ll feel like you have a tiny intelligent robot predicting your every little need.
Taking that concept into consideration, you can imagine my response whenever someone talks (er… complains) to me about how busy he or she is. It usually goes something like this, with me asking:
How many IFTTT recipes do you have in place? How much are you automating?
This playful answer usually leads to an expression of a furled brow and cocked head.
What do acronyms and automation have to do with me?
And yet, the answer is usually the same. IFTTT and automation are some of the best ways to achieve a feeling of having AI working for you. And, it’s available today, now, instantly. All you have to do is deploy it.
But let’s face it. We’re all guilty of holding onto tasks that technology (or machines for that matter) can do for us only because it feels easier on the front end than setting up some elaborate scheme to let a robot (or “bot”) handle it on the backend. But I have news for you. Robots are easier to set in motion than ever, and more productive than ever – especially when it comes to managing your business and your marketing.
Now before you think I’m getting a little Jetson’s on you, hear me out. We live in a world where robots perform a lot of tasks already (and I realize that I’m stretching the use of the word “robots” versus “bots” here but don’t let this trip you up). When we post on Facebook, we’re sending a robot in motion to deliver that message to the people Facebook deems most appropriate. When we perform a search on Google, we’re sending a robot on a hunt for the most relevant pages. When we try to get a birds-eye view of what’s happening with our business online these days, we send a robot on a search for us.
The robots are already working for us, so what if we could make their job (and ours, more importantly) a little more efficient? With IFTTT recipes you can.
Before I go any further, I should probably back up and answer the question you’re no doubt asking right now:
What the Heck are IFTTT Recipes Anyway?
IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That.” It means, if one thing happens, then another thing will happen automatically. In its most basic form from a programming view, each IFTTT recipe is connecting a set of “If Then” conditional statements. From the user’s point of view, it’s pure magic right? Seemingly magic or not, let’s take a deeper look.
There are countless numbers of ways we use technology today from lighting our homes, to connecting with consumers, and managing projects. It’s only logical that with the amount of technology at our disposal, we further use the Internet to connect our favorite tools and services. It’s automation at its finest.
To bring this concept to life, four Bay area developers built a free web-based service called (appropriately enough) IFTTT. Through this free service, users create “applets,” or conditional statements that trigger when something needs to happen. For example, if you want your lights to turn on after it gets dark, you can create an applet that does just that.
It’s worth pointing out the obvious – you must have the right service or type of technology to make this work. For example, the above recipe will only work with the Hive Active Light. But, with more and more of us deploying the power of the Internet of Things (IoT for short), having these tools isn’t usually a problem. The bulk of the features on your smartphone are also available for use in IFTTT. So, although it might seem a little bit limited at first (or like a secret ploy to get you to invest in IoT), a lot of the technology you’re already using can be turned into an IFTTT recipe.
Back up again. Your probably asking, what does turning your lights on have to do with marketing productivity? A lot more than you might think.
Just as you can create an IFTTT recipe to make your home look a little more inviting, you can do the same to make your office a little more productive. There are many formulas out there, and you can, of course, create your own but here are 15 of my favorite to get you started.
But first! Before I dive in, I encourage you to go sign up for your free IFTTT account. My goal with this post is to make your life easier – not add to your already very full plate. As you see recipes throughout this post that you may want to use, just click the short animated clip. You’ll be taken directly to the page where you can turn it on and start using it to beef up your own productivity in seconds. Sound good? Go ahead and sign up, and then come back here to get started.
And one final important note. If you are interested in a video walkthrough, my friend Steve Dotto – one of my favorite guys out there doing FYI and How to Videos – has the guide you’re looking for. In this video, he introduces you to what IFTTT is all about and (more importantly) how to use it.
1. Up Your Marketing With an Automated Slack Channel
If you use Slack, you’ll love IFTTT. There are so many ways you can integrate Slack with IFTTT applets. I won’t list all of them (or you’d be here all day stuck on the first IFTTT recipe) so here are two of my favorites.
Automatically share a photo on Slack when you post on Instagram.
If you’re using Slack to notify team members, business connections, or customers about what’s happening in your business, it’s not a bad idea to share what’s happening on your social channels. With social networks constantly changing their algorithms these days, there’s no telling whether a group of people has seen your post. If they haven’t, they can’t like it or engage with it. So, use your Slack channel to share your posts with them as soon as they go live. This basic notification will encourage more engagement, which will most likely push your post to the top of the algorithm charts, so you’re seen by even more people.
Automatically send an article to Slack when you add an article with a particular tag in Pocket.
Have you ever read an article that you just knew your team would benefit from? Or have you ever wanted to share your blog posts and articles with the customer base you have in your Slack channel? If so, you’ll love this Slack IFTTT recipe. Say goodbye to unnecessary copying, pasting, and toggling windows. Instead, set it up so when you save an article to Pocket with a specific tag, it’s automatically sent to a specific Slack channel.
2. An IFTTT Recipe to Make You More Productive on Twitter
In the world of content marketing, writing a strong post is only about 20% of the work. The other 80% of your success depends on how well you promote your post. That often means sharing it on multiple social media channels. And, if you manage multiple social media accounts on various platforms, you know what a chore it is to switch between each one to schedule and promote your work. It can sometimes take longer than writing the post itself! That’s why having an IFTTT recipe for Twitter that’ll do some of the work for you is a lifesaver. I’m particularly partial to this one because it serves two purposes – it takes a promotional step off your to-do list, and it shares a visual post, which is the type of post that gets the best engagement. And frankly, I’m oftentimes not the best at taking my own advice on the 80/20 rule as I’m too busy working with other growth marketing teams. C’est la vie.
3. And Now a Recipe to Get You More Productive on Facebook
I couldn’t include Instagram and Twitter without also including Facebook, could I? Definitely…Nope.
On the surface, you might shrug your shoulders at this IFTTT recipe. After all, for years, people have automatically shared tweets on Facebook. It got to be so common of a practice that the marketing world (…er everyone) quickly shunned it. Now you’re probably starting to wonder why I shared this particular recipe with you, right? Well look, here’s the deal: The last part of this applet says that you have to use a specific hashtag for it to get shared automatically. That means you can get picky about what gets shared on Facebook and Twitter. You aren’t bombarding your Facebook feed with 140 characters. Instead, you’re only sharing the Tweets that make sense to engage your audience on Facebook. It’s productive, yes, but it’s also smart marketing for channel segmentation and repurposing your content.
4. Share Your Latest Blog Posts Automatically on LinkedIn With This IFTTT Recipe
Now, we’re switching gears from the B2C channels and moving to a B2B platform. On this platform, you want to share your articles and get people talking about what you have to say. And, you want to automate as much of that as possible?! This IFTTT recipe lets you hit publish and hit post on LinkedIn simultaneously. As soon as your thoughts are shared live with the world, you’re sparking conversation. The only stipulation with this recipe is you must have a website housed on WordPress (which most are these days).
5. And Another Social Media Marketing IFTTT Recipe to Save You Time
Are you starting to catch on to the fact that I think social media marketing is a time suck? It can be, but IFTTT makes it better.
Until now, I’ve talked about setting up IFTTT recipes for your content, but smart social media marketers know that there’s real value in sharing other people’s content too. In fact, if you haven’t noticed, I love sharing other people’s content within learning paths (You ought to check it out. Really). Still, filling your Buffer account with articles from other people is almost as time-consuming as filling it with your work. To make this job easier here’s an IFTTT recipe to link your Buffer account with your Pocket or Feedly accounts.
6. Organize Emails From Your Competition Automatically
Okay, I’m taking my social media marketing hat off and donning my spy hat instead. Because let’s face it, part of operating a smart business is knowing what’s happening around you.
One of the best ways to keep up with the Jones’s is to know what the Jones’s are saying to your audience. This insight requires you to be on their email list and reading their newsletters on a regular basis. But I hear you. “Buckley, my inbox is already overflowing! I don’t want to add more to it!” Well, I have good news my friends, that’s where this IFTTT recipe comes in handy.
Instead of having to sift through more emails, you can automatically organize your competitor’s emails into a separate folder in Evernote. To use this applet, you need to be subscribed to your competitor’s email list and know which email they use to send out their newsletters. You’ll also need to create a rule that automatically marks those emails as read so you do not still have to filter through them, even with this applet in place. With that done and out of the way, you can automatically filter incoming emails and turn them into a note in Evernote, ready for you to look through when it’s convenient for you.
There isn’t a set recipe here, so you’ll have to create your own (which is easier than it sounds).
- Choose your email service. If you use Gmail, you can just click the image below to save a step.
- Enter the email address from your competitor
- Choose Evernote as the action channel
- Create a notebook in Evernote to keep your emails
Walla! That’s it! That’s all it takes to get the 411 you need on your competition’s email marketing strategy automatically.
7. Keep an Eye on the Competition’s Content With These IFTTT Recipes
My spy hat is still on! This time, there are two similar IFTTT recipes that you can use to keep a pulse on what’s happening with your competitor’s content. You’ll have to set up these applets again manually, but they’re simple. I’ll walk you through each step.
Track changes to your competitor’s website.
To use this applet, you’ll need to set up an account with VisualPing.io. Then, you’ll need to set up to be notified by email each time a competitor’s web page changes.
With that in place, you can create your IFTTT recipe using a similar formula as I showed you in step 6. This time choose the following:
- Choose your email provider
- Select to filter emails from Visual Ping
- Choose the channel where you want to be notified about changes (SMS, Evernote, etc.)
Track new blog posts from your competition.
Like you, your competitors are blogging on a regular basis. And like you, they’re trying to be thought leaders in your industry. Stay in tune with what they’re sharing with your audience by getting an email every time you publish a new blog post. To set up this IFTTT recipe, follow these steps:
- Choose “Feed” in the first step of setting up your new applet (or, for quick access, click the button below)
- Enter the address of their blog post feed
- Then, have the trigger send an email to you.
Every time you publish something new, you’ll be notified by email.
8. Put Recruitment on Auto Pilot
Now I’m donning both my spy hat and my social media hat because this IFTTT recipe requires both.
Ever heard of Newsle? This tool was acquired by and integrated into LinkedIn as a new feature that tracks connections and companies in the news. The goal? To keep you informed about the people who matter most to your professional life.
Now, you’re probably getting notifications in your LinkedIn account about changes to your connections status or mentions in the news. Your business can use this to your advantage by keeping an eye on what’s happening with the competition’s executives and employees. For example, if someone leaves the company, you have a prime opportunity to reach out and recruit.
Again, this isn’t a standard IFTTT recipe, but it’s worth setting up on your own.
To start, you’ll need to set up email notifications in LinkedIn for these changes. Go into your profile settings and select “Communications.” Then, choose to change your “Email Frequency.” Once there, you can choose to receive network updates by email.
Now, you can set up your IFTTT recipe. This formula should look familiar by now.
- Choose your email provider
- Opt to filter emails from [email protected]
- Pick a folder to send these emails to in your Google Drive (or an Evernote folder, if that’s where you’d prefer to keep them).
That’s it! Now, you can keep an eye on the top performers in your industry. When they’re in the job market, you can swoop in and recruit them to your company.
9. Watch for New Trends Without Lifting a Finger
One of the best ways to know how to market to your audience is to understand what your audience is hungry to learn from you. And one of the best ways to find this out is to monitor what’s trending on Amazon. After all, Amazon is the place people go to ask questions of Alexa and seek out products to fill a need. If you’re going to create sales campaigns that target a need, you must know what hot among buyers now.
There’s a little bit of legwork involved with this one, but the result is well worth the upfront work.
To get started, you need to turn Amazon into an RSS feed. To do this, visit FetchRSS/amazon (a free conversion tool to turn web pages into RSS feeds) and enter your keywords. For example, if you sell dining room tables, enter dining room tables.
If you have a service-based business, this will work too. You can get updates on the books that are trending on Amazon in your field. For example, I focus on growth marketing, so I like to monitor which books are trending in relation to my field.
Once you have the RSS feed, you can set up your IFTTT recipe. Here’s how:
- Select “Feed” as the trigger channel
- Then, select “new feed item” and enter your RSS feed URL
- Finally, choose how you want to receive the trend alerts. For example, you can have them emailed to you when the industry keyword appears in a new trend.
With this in place, you’re ready to start getting email alerts every time a new trend matches your business.
10. Follow Your SERPs With This IFTTT Recipe
Remember that VisualPing.io account I suggested you set up earlier? Get ready because you’ll use it again for this recipe.
This time, we’re tracking where your website appears in the search engine results because as we all know if you do not appear high up on page one, you’re just not appearing much at all.
This IFTTT recipe is relatively easy to set up (and will probably look mostly familiar to you). With it in place, you’ll have a spreadsheet regularly updated with where you land in the SERPs:
- Choose the email channel, since that’s where VisualPing.io will alert you of your SERP
- Then, enter in [email protected]o into the “from” field IFTTT should watch for
- Finally, set up a Google Sheet and have IFTTT add a row to the spreadsheet for each new email.
This recipe will help you get a quick overview without having to remember to log in to any tools or do your digging. Nice!
11. Track Your Backlinks With Ease
The secret sauce to rank online today continues to be the oh-so-coveted backlink. Without backlinks, Google has a much harder time knowing if you’re worth ranking high in the SERPs or not. With that in mind, I think everyone and their dog knows that Google has also taken great measures to punish websites that engage in black hat SEO techniques, which include going out to get spammy backlinks to simply bolster up your backlink profile. So, it only makes sense you want to keep an eye who’s linking to your website both so you can know when your company gets a quality backlink and when you ought to prevent the backlink from harming your site.
There’s again a little legwork to get this going, but it’s worth your while.
Before I give you the IFTTT recipe, you’ll need to go to Moz’s Open Site Explorer. From there, you’ll need to click on the “Just Discovered” tab. Copy that link and put it into FetchRSS.com to create an RSS feed of your most recently discovered websites.
With that, you’re ready to set up your IFTTT.
- Choose “Feed” and enter the URL of the RSS feed you just created
- Then, select to have the feed emailed to you every time it’s updated
Look familiar? I think you’re getting the hang of this by now, aren’t you?
12. Watch for Twitter Mentions
My social media hat is coming back on!
Just like you want to know who links to your website, you also want to know who tags you on Twitter. This notification is especially useful if you or your CEO ever does speaking engagements. You might get an alert that someone tagged you while you’re on stage. Following up with these alerts after the talk is an excellent way to keep the audience engaged. Without having a reliable system like this in place to filter your Twitter mentions, you might miss some valuable new opportunities that emerge.
13. Follow Twitter Hashtags Closely
Another conversation starter on Twitter? Hashtags! People use hashtags for events, industry related news, and general inquiries. When they are, it’s someone who is hoping to get found by others interested in the same topic. It only makes sense to monitor your most relevant hashtags so yo don’t miss out on the action. But it’s a lot of work to go to Twitter and type in your hashtags on a daily basis. By turning on this applet, you can get your most relevant hashtag mentions added to a spreadsheet, making follow-up a breeze.
14. An IFTTT Recipe to Monitor Your Social Media Posting Schedule
Your team has gone to the work of scheduling your social media posts in Buffer. Now, you want to see what’s getting posted and when at a quick glance. You don’t want to sift through the copy (you trust them to write quality work already). You only want to ensure your business is posting consistently and you’re not posting too often at times when posts are already scheduled. It’s a delicate dance, but with this IFTTT recipe, you can manage it all by syncing your Buffer posts with your Google calendar.
15. Instantly Record When You Make a New Connection
Confession time! Have you ever been to a conference and experienced people overwhelm? The resounding answer is yes, but we still do it anyway, don’t we? Actually, truth be told, I’m really selective about the conferences I attend or present at nowadays, but the fact is, for those just launching their career, the whole experience can be kind of overwhelming and stressful unless you manage it well. After the trip, when you get back to your office after a long, productive week away, you’re ready to follow up with your new contacts and you’d like to put some context around that email. The only problem is, you know the names are familiar but you can’t quite put a face to them. Was Karen the CMO I met at the opening party or was it Kylie? Or was she seated next to you at the roundtable discussion? With this IFTTT you won’t have to guess. You’ll know because every time you upload a new contact into your iPhone, it automatically gets added to your calendar, helping recall when you met.
Are You On Board With the IFTTT Madness?
By now, the wheels in your mind have probably started turning. You’re probably starting to see the world of automation come to life before you. Although IFTTT isn’t quite the same as AI, it can feel a lot like you have a robot predicting your every need. The only leap that needs to happen for you to get there is a little bit of action on your part when you set up the IFTTT recipes for the tasks you want to automate.
Now, can you see why I love IFTTT? You can set so much of your workday and life on auto-drive. From taking social media tasks off your to-do list to learning from your competition and tracking your own business’s positions in the market, there’s a lot more than meets the eye. It’s about as close to having a personal AI assistant as we can get in today’s world. And who knows? In the future, IFTTT could be used to fuel robots with human intelligence and better decision-making skills. We could be on the verge of something here, but for now, there’s one thing I know to be 100% true – IFTTT helps you breathe a lot easier in your workday while making you more intelligent in the process.
This list is just the beginning. If you start browsing the IFTTT website, you’ll soon notice a list of recipes that are worth turning on. I’d love to hear which ones are your favorite (because let’s face it, you have to love at least one or two of these)! Add your voice in the comments.