Managing social media accounts can be overwhelming. Believe me, I know. When you are a writer who wants to develop relationships with your fans and find ways to put your book in front of an audience, social media engagement is, of course, part of your job. But we have so many other tasks, too: writing (!), revising, editing, managing all aspects of the publishing process, (possibly) working a second job, taking care of our partner/spouse/family/friends, and (hopefully) having time for plain old fun.
Luckily, my hubby, who just happens to be a web geek, helped me out by showing me how to save time with social media using If This Than That (IFTTT). It’s a free service that allows you to create formulas that can enable you to post a single post/photo/tweet on multiple platforms at one time. But it’s also very FLEXIBLE, which is the key.
Here’s one example. I do a fair amount of tweeting, and sometimes I want to share something that I tweet on my Facebook page. The thing is, I don’t always want to share my tweets on Facebook. If I did, my Facebook page might get filled up with a bunch of little tweets about the cute things my dog does or how my awesome pancakes taste. But when I do want to share a tweet on Facebook (or other online places), I don’t want to have to cut & paste it into multiple apps. That would be a big waste of time. So I set up a formula on If This Than That that does it for me. I set up my formula so that I only have to remember one thing: if I want to send a particular tweet to my Facebook page, I just have to use the hashtag “#fb” and IFTTT automatically sends it there (you could use any hashtag you choose, but that’s just the one I chose). Cool, right? And it’s really not much to remember, once I’ve got it all set up.
Another issue that IFTTT solves is how to get Google Plus (G+) to work for you. Since I spend the majority of my social media time on Facebook, I don’t want to spend much time cross-posting to G+. On the other hand, I don’t want to ignore G+ since I’ve met a whole slew of interesting writers there. The solution: Use IFTTT to send all my Facebook posts to Buffer (owned by Google) and then along to my G+ writer page. Cool, right?
One thing that IFTTT does not make much easier is making Instagram work for me. In an ideal world, I’d love to create a formula that would send any photo that I post on Twitter or Facebook to Instagram. Unfortunately, Instagram does not allow that. What I did manage to do is create a formula that posts my Instagram photos to my Facebook page’s photo album. The trouble is, I’m not in the habit of using Instagram all that much to begin with. But overall, IFTTT has helped me manage social media enormously, so I really can’t complain about this one issue.
I’ve actually only mentioned a small percentage of tasks that IFTTT can do. They have all sorts of formulas that you can create, including ones that mesh with Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, etc. But at least I’ve got some of my social media functions taken care of to start!