IFTTT Applets for Ethical SEO & Social Media Automation
With so called IFTTT applets you can engage the world without moving a finger. “What are IFTTT applets?” you might ask.
IFTTT is an acronym for “if this then that”. It’s a service that allows cross-site programming of multiple other services and even devices.
A script you create with their highly intuitive tool is called an applet.
An applet needs a trigger event, that is when something happens on one of the sites or services IFTTT supports.
Thus for example when someone follows you on Twitter you can send a welcome tweet to that person using an IFTTT applet.
IFTTT is Simple Programming of the Web
IFTTT might sound complicated to any person who hasn’t yet tried to code in their lifetime but for anybody who did it’s really easy to use.
Here you can code without hassle and you can make several sites work together to accomplish one thing: social media automation.
It’s in most cases not the unethical automation many social media management tools offer these days though and that got banned by Twitter.
IFTTT is clean and simple ethical (or white hat as we used to say) SEO and social media automation for you and me and every business engaged online out there.
IFTTT is not perfect yet. Some applets do not work anymore but are still displayed on their site. They even link out to non-existing services.
In many cases there are also some small drawbacks. On the other hand there already many repetitive tasks you can automate with IFTTT quite successfully. Typical tasks you can easily automate with IFTTT are:
- cross posting
- repetitive tasks
Automation is a double edged sword though so you have to look out for potential pitfalls. Use it cautiously because of this!
Too much auto-posting or overlapping backups can result in confusion or lost followers on social media. Be cautious!
Common IFTTT Use Cases for Ethical Automation
Auto-posting is an overused way of automation. For example many bots will auto-post my new blog postings to their completely automated Twitter accounts.
That’s annoying. I really have to hurry to be the first person to tweet my posts when I want to tweet them. Otherwise spammers are first to share my content.
I tweet my postings only once, not all the time like most other people. Thus you have to subscribe to my feed in order not to miss something.
Posting your latest blog post to social media automatically can be a boon especially when your audience is comprised of true fans who admire every single of your posts no matter the topic.
Otherwise be cautious and only share the best content manually. Automation can quickly ostracize even your true fans.
Many people use Dropbox for backups and IFTTT supports it. I don’t like Dropbox. They sent me too many mails after I signed up.
You can also backup using other services though. You can backup your tweets for example. Why would you save your tweets? Well. it’s content a third party controls.
Like everything else hosted on a free third party service your tweets may disappear one day by way of bankruptcy, acquisition or change of business model.
There are many applets that will backup updates from on social media site to another tool. You just need to select the tools you prefer.
Posting by mail
Sometimes the only thing you can manage to do is to write and answer emails. You are even afraid to open social media and get inundated with news and messages. Posting by mail is a solution then.
Of course it’s not advisable to send dozens of mails to social media either.
For example you can post only selectively using a hashtag. In cases where a message is so important that you want to share it with your audience you want to be quick though.
Mail can be the fastest path.
Thus I devised a no-frills applet for email that works quickly. Sending an email from my account to email@example.com will result in a tweetmail to the world as I like to call it.
A mail message gets send to my favorite social networking site, namely Twitter.
Reminders are some of the more popular IFTTT recipes. I don’t use them though because they add more noise to my daily information diet.
You can send a mail each time the weather report says it’s going to rain or someone follows you on Twitter.
You can get notifications for everything but I’m glad I could minimize the number of email I receive so I won’t spam myself.
There might be daily tasks you’d like to automate or tasks that performed on one site will require action on other sites as well.
A daily task could be a tweet you that makes sense daily. For example you could announce your “opening hours”.
I understand that most people can’t be online 24h so that you could announce every day at nine that you are available and can be contacted in your office.
As you probably seen above you can trigger more than one recipe at once.
You could even create a loop. For example by adding the #if slashtag to a Facebook update. It would get backed up to Diigo and from there send over to Twitter.
In case I also added the #Facebook slashtag the tweet would end up on Facebook again. Thus you see you have to be cautious.
In fact you are programming the Web for you. Like in a real software this can backfire. Make sure to go live and share the applet only when you fixed the obvious bugs like infinite loops etc.
When to Use IFTTT When to Refrain from it
I use IFTTT only sparingly. I prefer to know exactly what I’m posting when and where.
I had some awfully screwed up messages I over-automated by using IFTTT already. Missing images were the most common issue.
Also even when the automation works you need to be online to respond to feedback immediately.
Sharing things when you’re offline is unethical. That’s like lying that you are actually there when you aren’t.
Sometimes people share things automatically and they find out that link is broken 20 hours later when they finally read my response.
IFTTT isn’t as useful for me as I hoped initially. Maybe you can suggest some improvements or applets you created yourself.