Each social network offers unique tools and helps you connect with a unique audience, but if you’re anything like me you find it increasingly fiddly to post updates to every network. Here’s a massive tip explaining how to crosspost between Facebook, Twitter and other services at the same time.
Option 1: Grow a few extra arms
Option 2: Get IFTTT
IFTTT stands for “If This Then That”. It’s the internet equivalent of a telephone exchange, and allows you to make disparate web applications talk to each other. There are various other services that will do the same job in more advanced ways (Zapier and Integromat being prime examples), but IFTTT is a great tool for social media management as it’s free and easy to set up.
Much more than just a social media manager, you can use IFTTT for all kinds of things, for example:
- Send me an email when snow is expected at home tomorrow
- Update my Android wallpaper to NASA’s image of the day
- Save my text messages to a Google Spreadsheet
- Send a tweet individually welcoming each new follower
- Change the colour of my lightbulbs when I receive a text
- Download my new favourite Soundcloud tracks to Dropbox
Here’s the jargon: IFTTT has Services that you can connect together in Applets, using Triggers and Actions. Here’s the explanation:
After signing up for an account activate the services you’d like to cross-post between (like your Facebook page, Twitter account etc) in your IFTTT account at IFTTT services. There’s a ton of connectable services available there- my cursory search identified about 680.
Then once they’re connected IFTTT can get them to talk to each other, and this is achieved by setting up an Applet. These are little IFTTT “do this” instructions that make the magic happen. They’re dead simple to set up, but if you need any help here’s their very own ‘How to build and Applet‘ page.
Triggers and Actions
When you build an Applet you’ll first be asked to specify a trigger. This is the activity in one service you’ve connected that will trigger the action you specify in the second service you select. So the “if” is the trigger and the “that” is the action.
So let’s make it practical. Let’s say we want every photo we post to Instagram to be shared automatically as a proper photo post on Twitter (rather than as an Instagram link which is the annoying default). First we’d connect IFTTT’s Instagram and Twitter channels, allowing IFTTT to communicate with our Ig and Tw accounts.
Then we’d create a new Applet and select the Instagram service as the “if”, with Any new photo by you as the specific trigger. Note that you can select quite a few options for triggers, like “new photo by you in geographic area” or “new video by you with a certain hashtag”. Clever stuff.
After that we’d choose Twitter as our “then”, with post a tweet with image as the specific action. Again, there are more possible actions than this simple example, e.g you can update your Twitter profile image, update your Twitter bio etc.
Lastly we’d need to specify the specific order that IFTTT puts stuff into your new Twitter image post when it pulls post data through from Instagram. The potentially available ingredients for this specific combo are the IG image caption, IG post URL, image source URL, post creation time and post embed code. IFTTT helpfully chooses the most logical ones for you by default.
Then click ‘create action’. That’s it. You can temporarily turn off your Applet without losing its settings if you ever want to.
This can be set up to manage automatic posts between Facebook personal profiles, Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Soundcloud…
Option 3: Use a post scheduling site like Buffer
Taking a different approach to IFTTT, Buffer allows you to draft a bunch of posts that it will then publish in the future, spaced out through time (hence the name Buffer). This allows you to write a maximum of ten posts at once without flooding your followers.
Buffer allows you to fully customise which days and times your posts will publish on a site by site basis.
As Buffer can connect to several social media sites, when you draft your posts you can select several services for it to post to at once.
Now if you’re really clever…
It’s a well known fact that the best time to post to social media varies according to each service.
Now, I noticed that Buffer is available as a service on IFTTT. If you used Buffer as an action in an Applet you could publish posts using your favourite social media website or app and have IFTTT automatically add them to Buffer’s schedule for other social media sites.
That way you can, for instance, manually send out tweets at the best time for your Twitter audience and have IFTTT then put them into your Buffer queue for your Facebook page, publishing a copy of the tweet as a Facebook page post at a future time that best suits your Facebook audience.