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6 creative ways to use social media automation tools

6 creative ways to use social media automation tools Social media  automation is kind of like The Force – it can be used for good or evil. W...

6 creative ways to use social media automation tools

Social media automation is kind of like The Force – it can be used for good or evil. When implemented poorly, or in lieu of a real strategy, the results can be disastrous and, well, really embarrassing. But when used strategically, social media automation tools can enhance your strategy exponentially, boosting your capacity so that your team of one appears to have the support of an entire marketing department.
Below we share 6 non-spammy and creative ways to utilize social media automation tools IFTTT and Zapier that you probably didn’t know about.
Automatically add people to a Twitter list when you mention them using a certain hashtag
When you interact with people on Twitter, you may want to add them to a Twitter list, which typically requires an extra step. After you tweet to them, you have to click on their profile and manually add them to your designated list. When you’re engaging with a number of people at once, this can be a drain on your time.
Instead, activate this IFTTT recipe to automatically add the first person mentioned in any tweet you publish with a designated hashtag to a Twitter list.

I use this recipe with hashtag #Thanks to keep track of relevant people in my network who frequently engage with what I’m sharing, or anyone who shares my blog posts. Adding them to a designated Twitter list allows me to keep a running log of people who are excited about the same things that I am. By frequently checking in with this list and re-engaging these people who’ve reached out to me, I can build relationships and expand my network.
Share content you tweet to other social channels, discriminately
Many people know it’s fairly easy to link social accounts in IFTTT or even natively, so that any time you post to one network, you automatically post to all. This isn’t always a good strategy, as you end up with different social channels that are carbon copies of one another, rather than leveraging each network’s unique features.
What many people don’t know is that there is a happy medium. Maybe you want to share some of what you tweet to your Facebook page, but not all. This way you can account for each channel’s best practices, especially in terms of content type, topic and posting frequency.
I like to start with Twitter, because that’s the social network whose best practices allow for the highest number of posts throughout the day, covering the most eclectic topics. Activate and edit this IFTTT recipe so that every time you publish a tweet with a specific hashtag, it’s shared to the social network of your choice. This recipe is set to post to LinkedIn, but you can edit to publish to another social network.

You can also duplicate the recipe for Facebook and Pinterest, utilizing the same or different hashtag, depending on your preference. For Pinterest, you’ll have to set it up by board, which gives you the opportunity to set up multiple recipes that will pin Twitter content with different hashtags, representing different topics, to appropriate boards.
The great thing about setting this up via IFTTT is that the recipes are set up to pull in imagery from the link provided in the tweet, regardless of whether or not your tweet features an image or media. This way the content is optimized to publish in the appropriate format for each channel.
Automatically publish content from ALL of your favorite blogs to social media
You may have browsed IFTTT’s news section, which allows you to connect notable news outlets like Buzzfeed, New York Times, NPR and more to automatically post to your social networks. But what about your favorite niche industry news sources and blogs?
You can actually automatically publish new articles and posts from all of your favorite blogs and news outlets to any or all of your social channels, even if it’s not available as an app on IFTTT. Just set up a designated Feedly category and add all of the blogs and news sources you want to publish automatically to social media. Then, activate this recipe, which is set to pull in the associated image as well as the article title and URL to Twitter.

You can edit the recipe to publish to another social channel or duplicate it to publish to multiple. You can even set up different Feedly categories comprised of different sources for each channel.
Publish automated content through Buffer to avoid spamming your audience
In this post, we’ve talked about automatically sharing blog posts from designated sources to social networks, as well as disseminating certain tweets across social networks. But when doing so, you have to be careful to respect best practices in terms of timing and frequency.
The easiest way to do this is by setting up your automated content to publish through Buffer rather than posting directly to the social networks. This way you can set your schedule of when and how often you want to publish to each network in Buffer, then connect your Feedly or hashtag recipes to Buffer rather than the networks themselves.
Here’s a recipe that will add your tweets with specific hashtags to Buffer, andhere’s one that will add new Feedly articles to Buffer.
Currently, IFTTT doesn’t allow you to pick which channel within Buffer you’d like to publish to. But, you can do that using Zapier. Create your Trigger and select Buffer as your Action app, just like you would on IFTTT.

Then, during the set up process it will prompt you to choose which social network on your Buffer account you’d like to publish to.

Get an email alert when niche content trends
You know how Twitter sends you a daily email covering what’s trending in your network? What if you just wanted to find out when something trends among a select group of people, or what content surrounding a certain hashtag or topic is gaining traction?
You can easily do this in Zapier, which allows you to create Zaps (same as recipes) by applying a number of highly specific search filters that aren’t available in IFTTT.
First, determine if you want to see trending content from a Twitter list, or from a hashtag or keyword. Choose Twitter as your Trigger app, then select either “Tweet in List” or “Search Mention.” Then, choose, Gmail as your Action app. Make sure both accounts are connected, then hit “Continue.”
Now you can apply your filters to make sure you only receive emails for trending content. If you’ve chosen the Twitter list option, implement the filter “Retweet Count” and indicate a minimum number of retweets. You can also use the “And” function to filter for a minimum number of likes or favorites as well as retweets.
If you’ve chosen the “Search Mention” option, filter for “Text Contains” then add your hashtag or keyword. Use the “And” option to set your minimum number of retweets and/or likes. Note: if you want to get really niche, you can also add the text filter to the Twitter list option. This works really well if you have collected a list of influencers (like celebrities or public figures) who talk about a wide variety of topics – but you want to know when they’re talking about something specifically relevant to your brand or issues.

Auto-generate influencer lists on Google Drive
Using the same tactics as above, you can use Zapier’s Twitter filters to generate an influencer list based on whose tweets about specific hashtags or topics are reaching certain retweet or like/favorite volume. You’ll set it up as a Twitter search term, just as you did in the previous example, but you’ll select Google Sheets as your Action app instead of Gmail.

Set up your search terms and filters however you’d like, then when it’s time to set up your spreadsheet columns, include Username, Tweet Text, User Description and anything else you’re interested in. Make sure to set up your spreadsheet in Google Drive beforehand, so you can select it in Zapier. Add the column titles manually in your spreadsheet so they correspond with the fields you select in Zapier.

Now, your spreadsheet will automatically update with the user’s information any time a tweet with your search term hits your designated volume.
How do you use IFTTT, Zapier or other social media automation tools to enhance your social strategy? Tell us in the comments below!

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