The idea of pressing a button to make life easier has always been the catalyst for modern day conveniences. From sci-fi movies to the latest gadgets, automation can be quite sexy and compelling. For example, take Apple’s recent announcement of Siri, its voice-activated iPhone assistant that promises to do everything but make your bed. Unfortunately, Siri won’t be available for a while so I want to talk about another social media automation tool that’s amassed a base of loyal fans in less than nine months. It’s called ifttt and it’s making little things happen online in a big way.
ifttt offers a super simple solution for combining two web services or online channels together through the creation of tasks. The acronym stands for “if this then that” and the concept is based on triggers and actions. For example, I recently created a task that states if I publish a blog post here as my trigger, then the action will be to send a tweet out. Or I could have all new photos taken via instagram sent to my dropbox account. ifttt has roughly 25 channels in the portfolio at the moment including popular sites like Last.fm, LinkedIn, Weather.com and YouTube to name a few. However, what gives ifttt its cool factor is the addition of communication devices such as email, SMS and phone capabilities to the mix. You could set up an email or text message that alerts you to rain forecasts or perhaps a price drop in a stock you’re following. Talk about having your own virtual assistant.
For businesses, ifttt will help lessen the burden of content syndication among various social networks. Granted, social media automation will never replace authentic community engagement but it does have its place in the sun. As I see it, there are three main value propositions of automating social media tasks. First, you can manage digital assets for better organization and not have to manually transfer files in between services. Second, you can communicate to multiple networks about recent activities without having to draft multiple notes. For me, this translates to increased productivity meaning more time I can devote to creating valuable content. Third, you can automatically capture knowledge that’s being shared online for increased insights, which is always a good thing. And to think that we don’t even have to press a button to make these things happen is even more amazing.
I have to give Kudos to itfff for allowing members the option of publicly sharing tasks, which are called recipes. This was a smart move by the company since it can be seen as the viral component of the site. Members can scan recipes and quickly add tasks to their own account. I also recommend checking out Tested.com and their piece on the 10 Clever Ways to Automate your Online Life with ifttt.
If you’re interested in test driving ifttt, drop me your email address and I’ll send you an invite.