What is IFTTT?
We are fortunate to have a guest post today from Rich Jarrott to explain IFTTT.com which is a tool I have known about for some time now that programmers find easy to understand, but the rest of us mortals haven’t quite figured out yet.
What is IFTTT.com?
Part of my job here at The Watch Hut is to track down new and evolving technology platforms that enable the team to do their jobs more easily. One of my favourite discoveries of recent months has been the website IFTTT.com. The site provides a platform to easily link the API functionality of multiple services together without having to code or use servers dedicated to the purpose.
By bringing together multiple services, it vastly simplifies the process of spreading content around the web to followers on disparate sites. Whilst it is not as elegant as writing bespoke (custom) tailored content for each site it does serve a purpose in alleviating the work load of busy social media managers whilst keeping people in touch.
It also provides a method of monitoring the effects of social media on search engine placements, meaning that useful social sites can be prioritised for bespoke content
How does IFTTT Work?
The site utilises a log-in of its own, so the first stage is to get this signed up. It’s a fairly normal procedure to get this far.
Once signed up, you then connect your additional services. We have added The Watch Hut’s Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Facebook to this melting pot of social.
This can be a complicated process dependent on the type of service that is providing the incoming feed. Let’s look at Facebook as an example:
In the above example, the user will upload the photo to Facebook which will then sit on that page. IFTTT.com will periodically monitor the page for new content. When it sees an update has occurred, it will pull the photo and any associated tagging through its servers and on to the pages of Tumblr. IFTTT makes a pretty neat job of it too.
For GrowMap readers who prefer video, here is an IFTTT tutorial from ThatSnazzyiPhoneGuy:
So what’s the downside of this method?
As a short term fix or a means to dynamically refresh your basic content, the method above is great, but beyond this it falls down. Here’s why.
Different groups are… well… different
If you are putting together a marketing strategy to cover various markets you would check for differences in culture, language and tone. Whilst we assume that people visiting the sites tend to be Anglo-centric there will however be a difference in modes of interaction between the various people within the different networks.
Let’s imagine that we used Twitter as a source to feed Facebook with text based updates. We would probably anger people with our short posts littered with hashtags and @names that mean nothing to the Facebook user.
These differences and breaches of netiquette are likely to impact on the willingness of subscribers to engage.
If the content is the same – why would I go there too?
At The Watch Hut we are competing for people’s eyeballs and precious time – unless you are communicating disaster relief information or something equally important then you will be too.
If people are already following you in one medium, you need to consider what else you are offering to make them follow you to new places.
For some people it will be a convenience thing and this grouping will probably enjoy seeing your messages in their new social media space, however, for others their needs to be something special.
Exclusive photos for instance make sense on sites like Flickr and Pinterest, whilst Instapaper readers will probably appreciate something wordier.
Does it work?
The take-home message has to be that in moderation, automatic syndication is a good way of getting core content to more than one place quickly and efficiently. It may even be enough to sustain a presence on sites with less traffic. But, it should not be used as a means to feed important sites with high visibility and where you have a large following.
- Bill Hartzer: How to Use IFTTT to Automate Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- BloggingTips: 5 Apps with Buffer Integration You Should Be Using
- Mathias Philippe: IFTTT or how to connect most your services together