How to use IFTTT to win at social media

How to use IFTTT to win at social media 0
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The secret to winning at social media is being, or at least appearing to be, constantly present. As in, never sleeping, never eating (unless you're Instagramming that food, I suppose), never taking a bad selfie, and never doing anything except Tweeting every second of your life.

The easiest way to cultivate a flawless online presence is to hire someone else to do it for you. But if you're not a Kardashian, you probably don't have the funds to pay a PR person, so instead there's IFTTT -- a handy little automation tool that can help you stay on top of the eight different social networks you manage on a daily basis.

IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, is a tool that automates tasks using triggers and actions. IFTTT connects two services, and then triggers an action on one service when you perform an action on the other service. It works with all of the major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and YouTube.

The key to successfully using IFTTT with social media is to avoid overusing it. If you use IFTTT to automate every single thing you post to social media, you will quickly start looking like a spambot. I like to avoid any IFTTT recipes that trigger automatic replies -- for example, there's a recipe that automatically tweets a thank you message every time you get a new Twitter follower. To me, this kind of automatic thanking reads as disingenuous, and it also has the potential to backfire.

But so long as you don't think of IFTTT as a full-time human personal assistant, you should be fine. Here are five of my favorite IFTTT hacks for social media:

Post Instagram photos as native Twitter photos

Instagram and Twitter don't play too well together -- when you share an Instagram photo to Twitter from the Instagram app, your meticulously-edited photo shows up as a link in your Twitter stream, not as an image card. With this recipe, your Instagram photos will be automatically posted to Twitter as native photos (just remember to uncheck the "share to Twitter" box in Instagram, or you'll end up sharing the photo twice).

Update your Twitter profile pic when you update your Facebook profile pic

Keeping profile pics up-to-date is a hassle, unless you're using this recipe, which automatically updates your Twitter profile pic whenever it detects a change to your Facebook profile pic.

Photos added to a specific album in iOS automatically upload to Facebook

Instead of tediously uploading pictures to Facebook one-by-one, just add them to a specific iOS album on your phone and they'll magically appear on your Facebook page. To add a photo to an album in iOS, go to open up an album, hit Select, select the photos you want to add, hit Add To at the bottom of the screen, and choose the album you want to add the photos to.

Save your wedding's Instagram hashtag photos to Dropbox

Is it just me, or have weddings gotten super socially-connected these days? This IFTTT recipe works for any custom hashtag you've created (Pro-tip: search for your hashtag before you give it out to people, just to make sure it's unique), and will automatically download any Instagram photos it finds with that hashtag to your Dropbox account.

Automatically wish people happy birthday on Facebook

I don't usually like IFTTT recipes that automatically post without an active trigger, but this is an exception -- after all, you can't really mess up a simple "happy birthday" message on Facebook, right? This recipe actually connects to your Google Calendar and uses any birthdays you have marked there as triggers. This way, you're not constantly wishing your 5,000 Facebook friends happy birthday, and hopefully your real friends are in your Google Calendar.


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