Whether in marketing or management, we are always looking for ways to simplify and streamline business processes to save time and money. There are multiple tools at our disposable but one rises above as the best all-purpose tool for automating all aspects of your firm’s online life..and it’s entirely free and requires no experience.
What is IFTTT and how does it work?
“If This Then That,” or IFTTT, is a free Web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements that are known as “recipes.” These recipes then trigger an action between other services, such as Instagram or Gmail. In other words, if one event occurs, then another is performed.
Facebook uses this service by automatically saving photos you’re tagged in to your Google Drive account, but you can also use and create recipes to save images from other social media channels like Instagram to cloud-based photo services like Dropbox. In a nutshell, it is an automated task manager that can make your life easier in many, many ways.
Can anyone use it?
Yes, there are approximately 15 million recipes used daily, with IFTTT for iPhone and Android, added in 2013 and 2014. Anyone can create IFTTT recipes, but you can also search for already existing recipes as well. For the average person, the most common use for IFTTT is to save and store photos to the cloud, but there are many other uses for IFTTT to make life easier. You can pretty much automate any number of actions on the internet from backing up documents to alerting you to weather changes. Basically, anyone who has the Internet can use this service; all you need to do is set up a free account with IFTTT.
How can this work for your B2B?
B2B companies can use IFTTT to automate content marketing, stay organized with email accounts, communicate more efficiently with clients, manage/streamline social media accounts, and improve SEO strategies.
- Automate content marketing. Blogging is an effective means of content marketing to share relevant knowledge and keep visitors coming to your site. Using an IFTTT recipe to post new blog items to your LinkedIn profile from RSS, you can automatically share your content from your website onto your company’s LinkedIn account. Simply input your blog’s RSS feed into the Feed URL, connect or activate your LinkedIn profile and then the recipe is ready to go. In fact, you can even keep track of competition with a recipe that will send you an SMS (text) when a competitor creates a Twitter post about a certain subject.
- Get organized. Email inboxes pile up and become disorganized, but using IFTTT recipes can automatically sort and manage company email accounts. Evernote for Business is an excellent app that businesses can use to collaborate and manage projects, keeping all notes and projects all in one workspace. Using an IFTTT recipe to link Gmail and Evernote, users can send starred emails from Gmail straight to Evernote, streamlining and automating the process while organizing content for your Evernote projects and documents. Newly starred emails create a note with a link to your first attachment. You can also send receipts straight to Evernote if you use the app to manage payment documents as well.
- Communicate more efficiently with clients. From initial contact emails to project management and shipment tracking, keeping clients happy and cared for is the number one priority. IFTTT recipes can help you to manage client communication by automating emailing management and tracking various aspects of client management, all using your Gmail account and an IFTTT recipe. For example, you can set up your Gmail to automatically send a “nice to meet you” email to new clients.
- Another great use for Gmail and IFTTT is to use Chatter in conjunction with your Gmail account. Chatter is basically a cloud-based work space platform that connects all of your employees, keeping all documents, files, etc. in one place. To activate this recipe, simply insert client email addresses and every time you receive a new email from that email address, the recipe will post its contents to Chatter. In this way, you can keep your team in the loop, which is especially helpful for project management so that no one drops the ball with client communication. You can also use an IFTTT recipe with Chatter to notify you and your employees on pending and delivered shipments.
- Manage social media profiles. One way B2B companies can increase productivity and efficiency with IFTTT when managing their social media presence is to automate social media accounts. To do this, you can use a multi-step process that will post status updates to your Twitter account that is then automatically syndicated out to all of your other social media profiles, like Instagram or LinkedIn. This means you can spend less time updating each of your social media profiles while still maintaining a strong social media presence with fresh content. To activate this recipe, the “If” is Twitter. From the list of Twitter Triggers, select “New tweet by you with hashtag,” and add a signal hashtag that enact this action. Then, “Create Trigger” and choose “Buffer” for the “That.” Finally, choose “Add to Buffer.” Now, every time you post in Twitter and use your signal hashtag, all of your other social media profiles will automatically post the same post, giving you one less thing to do to maintain your strong social media presence.
- Improve SEO Strategy. Before social media, link building and keyword searches were the primary ingredients of an effective SEO strategy. But that was was 90s. Today, companies need to determine the relevancy of their content and make it current and unique so that people will want to link back to content, naturally. Gathering data from social media can inspire your content and help you to better tailor content for your website. IFTTT streamlines this process by allowing users to automatically collect data from social media networks instead of conducting time consuming keyword searches. For example, if you want to use IFTTT to generate content ideas from social media audiences, you can collect data and images by using the Instagram and Evernote combination of channels in IFTTT by choosing Instagram as “If.” Then, from the list of Instagram Triggers, select “New photo by anyone tagged.” For the tag, enter your keyword and select “Create Trigger.” Finally, choose Evernote for the “That” and choose “Create an image note from a URL.” From here, you can adjust settings to your needs. This use is ideal to improve SEO and social media efforts without extra work.
Pros and Cons
The pros outweigh the cons when it comes to using this free service. IFTTT is simple and hassle-free (no coding involved) and can easily be tailored to the needs of your company, with millions of searchable recipes already available.
A few drawbacks would be that it does require access to your current accounts (worrisome if you have privacy and hacking concerns), and there is no alert when recipes become inactive. But beyond these minor challenges, IFTTT is truly one of the mot useful online services you likely never heard of.