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Using IFTTT To Increase Online Productivity

We all have the same 24 hours in the day, and yet some of us sit back in awe and wonder at the incredible feats of productivity our colleagues accomplish. For those of us in the digital marketing space, running multiple social accounts, building email newsletters, consuming content like potato chips and turning it into educational casserole topping… it’s a full time job. I’m here to tell you that you have a virtual personal assistant right at your fingertips and you didn’t even know it!

Last month I shared a piece called Brand Building on a Budget, and in it I briefly mentioned a service that I can’t live without; IFTTT. IFTTT is short for “If This, Then That” and it is a free system that takes a digital trigger, and fires a digital bullet so you can hit your productivity target. I use it for both practical and ridiculous purposes. For example, here are just some of the triggers and resulting events I have programmed.

If This Then That - Connecting the Internet of Things


  • IF I don’t hit my FitBit stepgoal by noon, THEN  I get a text reminding me to “Get off your ass”.
  • IF any number of my favorite bloggers, vloggers and other online content producers with an RSS feed posts something new, THEN that link gets added to a consolidated list of content for me to follow up on in Evernote.
  • IF I publish an article under a particular category on any one of several blogs , THEN The RSS excerpt and backlink to that article get shared on my Tumblr catch-all portfolio.
  • IF I share a link on Facebook , THEN save it to a google spreadsheet for later referencing.

There are literally hundreds of services (channels) you can connect to your account and MILLIONS of combinations (applets) you can use to help those channels work together. From a simple every-morning text with the forecast, to a beautifully orchestrated web of social media information distribution, the whole purpose of the service is to take the manual out of your labor and leave you with more free time to actually create fresh content and interact with your followers. For an extreme version of how I personally use the service check out this chain of IFTTT events:

If I post an image with the hashtag #ILoveMyJob on my @WhiskeyChickOfficial instagram account, the following actions happen:

  1. That image along with the caption will get uploaded to a matching board on my personal Pinterest account with a backlink to my instagram account.
  2. That image along with the caption, but stripped of the hashtags will get posted to my branded Facebook page which gets better reach than photos dumped in an instagram album.
  3. That image with the first 100 characters of caption and a link to “keep reading” pointing to the original Instagram post will get uploaded on my Twitter account as well as my 3 music website twitter accounts so the picture actually shows in the twitter feed, capturing the scrolling eyes.
  4. That image without the caption but with job-specific hashtags like #livemusic #musicjournalist #blogger and #thewritelife will get loaded into a Buffer account for me to later post from my music site Instagram accounts.
  5. That image will get saved to a folder on my Google Drive account with the numerical date prefixing the file name. (This trick was inspired by our own member Kelly Lawson of I Shoot Stuff and her ongoing digital photo project #BrixtonFest)
  6. That image will get uploaded to my Google+ account with just the description, no hashtags.

In one post, I’ve populated a minimum of 6 other digital spaces in a format that performs best for that space, and helps drive traffic back towards my Instagram account to help build my following without ever having to be spammy about it. I’ve also archived my work-related images in chronological order in an easily-accessible cloud storage solution and built up content to re-share from my other web properties for hashtag events like #ThrowbackThursdays and anytime a relevant headline comes up.

Want another take on it? Check out Legendary Marketer Amy Schmittauer‘s review of IFTTT:


And as always, feel free to comment below or hit me up on any one of my social media accounts if you have any questions on how to use this or any other tool I mention!

To see some of the handy blogging tools I keep close by when I go out in the field, check out this collection on my profile!

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