For most companies, time is the most valuable resource available. As a result, most people would rather be spending their valuable time dealing with customers or managing their company, not posting on social media. As a marketing tool, social media is an activity that requires a great deal of time and attention to be utilized properly, but the simple fact is: we don’t always have that time.
So we are faced with an issue: we know we need social media to help spread the word about our business, but we just can’t find the time to do it ourselves. This leaves us with a few options. Paid services to help manage social media accounts are effective, but costly. Web based services like Hootsuite or Buffer can help manage accounts, but it still takes time learn and manage those tools.
What we really need, is a tool that automatically connects us with our audience without the burden of a manual process. Ideally, that tool would be free, effective and wouldn’t come off as robotic.
Enter If This Then That (IFTTT), a free automation tool that allows you establish a set of triggers that will post information to your social media profiles, based on outside variables. Lets dive in with an example that leverages your blog content:
First off, a few basics:
IFTTT requires you to sign up and activate “channels” which allows you post and retrieve data from places like Twitter and Facebook. Simply enter your login information when prompted, and activate all the channels you wish to use.
In this example, we are going to be pulling blog content from the Service Coach blog, and spending it out to Facebook.
First we need to pick a trigger. IFTTT works exactly how it sounds: If “This” happens,then the program with do “That”. “This” is referred to as a trigger, and can be a variety of different things. “That” will be the resulting action that happens on the chosen channel, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or another program.
To get our blog posts out to our social channels, we need to have our trigger attached to all new blog posts, which is achieved through a blogs RSS channel. We simply put in our blog feed and chose the option “new feed item”. This will cause something to happen every time a new blog is posted.
Next, we need to choose a reaction to a new blog being posted. Let’s choose the Service Coach Facebook Page for this example. Since we want a link to the new blog post, we pick that option then fill out what the post will look like. Since this is an automatic process, IFTTT automatically pulls this information each time a new post is generated. In this example we want the link to be the Link URL, and the message to include Blog Title and the name of the Website where it is coming from. Now we just add some type to liven it up a bit and we’re good to go.
Our final product is a new Facebook Page post every time we update our blog: about five minutes of work that will save us from updating our social media channels each time we have a new blog. We can repeat this process for Twitter, Linkedin, and other services, building a whole automated process to engage with our customers.
Its important to keep in mind that, while automation is great, it can’t be the only part of your social media plan. You should be frequently checking your channels and engaging with customers in addition to the automated services. Think of it like an automated phone system: you use the system to initially engage your caller and direct them to where they need to go, but ultimately you want them to be speaking with a person (and so do they!).
IFTTT is a great tool for automation and can do some really interesting tricks. Stayed tuned into the Service Coach blog to learn about what this tool can do for your company, or give us a call and we can talk about it. To reach Tom (the author), call 978-241-7326 today to discuss how the Service Coach can help improve your online presence with tools and strategies like this one.
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