Automate chunks of your routine with IFTTT
Launched way back in 2011, IFTTT is a free web-based service that lets you connect most of your popular web-based services and smart devices to automate routine manual tasks.
If you own an online business, a personal website, a blog or a social media channel and would like to simplify or organize your online time, while increasing your social media presence and engagement, IFTTT is for you.
IFTTT is also for trying out some geeky-sounding stuff, using your smart devices. For example., monitor and control your home appliances while you are away or when you are back.
How to use IFTTT
A very simple setup process: You just have to sign up for a free IFTTT account, connect your channels (already available web services or devices), browse and pick the recipes (the stuff you want to get done) and configure them once to declutter your routine jobs-to-be-done. As you browse, if you get ideas, you can, of course, create your own recipe; or make your own web service for a product you made.
The IFTTT lingo for first-time users
Your recipes are simple connections between your products and apps. IFTTT offers two kinds of Recipes: DO Recipes and IF Recipes.
IFTTT provides 372+ channels. Channels are the building blocks of your Recipes. Each Channel can have Triggers set and Actions done. For example., Facebook, Phone call, SMS, Samsung washing machine are all channels in IFTTT.
Abbreviated for “If This Then That”, IFTTT uses simple conditional statement (IF This) in one channel, to trigger an action (Then That) in another channel.
The if part of an IF Recipe is a Trigger. Some example Triggers are “Someone mentioned you on Facebook”. Generally, for most recipes, IFTTT polls (looks up) for triggers every 15 minutes.
The then part of an IF Recipe is an Action. Some example Actions are “send an email” or “post a status message to Facebook” or “switch on/off (toggle) a home appliance”.
Pieces of data from a Trigger are called Ingredients. For example, the ingredients of a Google calendar item could be- Title, Description and From time.
If This Then That a.k.a., IF Recipe
Using an IF recipe, for example, you can schedule items on your google calendar for every other hour, and based on the title of the calendar item, you can make IFTTT fire a tweet at scheduled time, to twitter. To do this, you need to connect your google calendar account & twitter account to IFTTT. You will then schedule your tweets on your calendar and go hands-free! Here’s an IFTTT recipe to schedule tweets using Google Calendar.
Caution: Read and abide by the usage policy of the social media channel, whenever you automate posts. I’m sure we’ve all heard of people having lost or having been suspended from using their account, for breaking rules out of ignorance. So do read the fine print on automation!
If you’re a marketing pro, you can increase your company’s social presence, track mentions, automate responses, schedule and post content to social media at right times, set and get actionable alerts based on certain conditions that’ll help you enhance your customer’s experience.
Use IFTTT to just Do This! – DO Recipe
Besides the If recipes, IFTTT also provides the Do recipes, which let you automate an action in a web-service. For example, take a photo and it will be automatically uploaded to Dropbox. You can add a shortcut to do this.
Psst – this Do recipe by Devin, lets you trigger a call to yourself so that you can politely excuse yourself from a dragging meeting, or when you run into someone that you really don’t want to talk to. 😀
What are some of these routine actions that you’d love to automate (or have already automated) using IFTTT?