Managing all the social media I’m involved in takes time, that’s for sure.
One of my best example to this is the promotion of any post I write on this blog, like this one. First of all the post itself is published using the WordPress scheduler. Then, using a plugin, the post is posted on twitter, and got retweeted other 3 times during the day, every 4 hours, to be sure to cover different time zones. Apart from this, there is little additional automation I can add, and for example publishing the post to Linkedin groups or Google Plus is a manual tasks, and in the latest months I’ve already found the limits of a manual process: I don’t always remember to do it, or sometimes I’m too lazy to do it.
But there are other activities I’d like to automate: publish the same post into our corporate chatter on Salesforce, save any interesting post I found into an Evernote list so I can easily populate a new episode of the “5 blog posts I didn’t write” blog series I started (you can read the first episode about Veeam tips here). And you can easily imagine a ton of other tasks, if only the used tool would support them.
In the previous months, I started to use IFTTT: it has a nice interface, and it’s super easy to create a new “recipe”, that is the name used to describe a new automation task. IFTTT has another great advantage in being completely free, but for my use it quickly showed its limits. Two of the biggest ones are the limit to one account per supported service (so you can only map for example one twitter account, one facebook page and so on…) and the lack of support for common services like the ability to post to Linkedin groups; you can only post to your timeline. And the same happens for Google Plus. Meanwhile, IFTTT is adding support for tons of “weird” and niche services, that as Enrico Signoretti pointed out are probably great for “the internet of things” but less for a regular user or “social citizen” like we are. Have you ever heard or used services like JetSetMe or Parrot Flower Power? Meanwhile, the lack of complete support for the common services like those I described before goes on…
Few days ago, Enrico posted a tweet about a possible alternative to IFTTT that I wasn’t aware of, Zapier.
Zapier seemed to have a more complete support for the things I need, and even if it’s a paid service, it has a 14 days trial, so I decided to give it a try.
Firt of all, I replicated the few recipes I had in IFTTT. I didn’t have too many recipes just because of the limits I found on IFTTT, so that was an easy task.
Then, I tested the missing features I would have liked to have on IFTTT. My first “zap” was the automatic posting of new blog posts into Linkedin Groups. The wizard is really simple, it requires the needed URL for the wordpress installation, it automatically tests credentials to verify they are correct, and for services like Linkedin and Twitter it uses OAuth authentication, so the configuration of the new task is really straightforward. Once setup, this is the result:
I was not only able to post to a specified LinkedIn group, but by using custom text in the post meta description, I can pick configure a given post to be published only in specified groups. The rule in Zapier only allows a wordpress post to be published in one LinkedIn groups, but it’s really simple to clone a rule and change few parameters. From now on, I simply need to place the correct tag into a new post and the post will be also published to the desired LinkedIn group! So cool!
After some cloning and quick edits, I setup my “posting machine” for LinkedIn. Zapier is still missing support for Google Plus sadly, but they are collecting votes to add it too. I contributed with my vote, and I really hope to see it coming soon. But at least LinkedIn is done 🙂
One of the nice plugins of Zapier is Chatter. With it, now I can post my blog articles directly into Salesforce Chatter, and also choose in which group so I do not end up spamming everyone in my company.
I’m at the very beginning with Zapier, but I already see a great potential for it!