Cool Tool: If This Then That

Guest Post by Shelley Webb of

I wanted to introduce you to a cool new tool that you can use to maximize the time you spend marketing or promoting your blog.  It can also do many OTHER things too.

It’s called ifttt (if this then that) and could very well become my favorite new tool.  Although still in beta phase, it looks very promising.

This will really date me, but the name of this tool resonates with me because when I took my very first computer programming class back in high school, everything we did was based on “if this, then that”.  For example:  if A ~> B, if D +1 ~>F.  So I completely get this concept.

ifttt creates recipes for putting the internet to work for you by combining tasks, triggers, actions, and channels.

Now this part may sound a bit difficult but it really isn’t.

task would be: when something happens (this) then do something else (that).

The this part of the task is called the trigger.  For instance, I take a photo and post it to Instagram, or Someone retweets something that I tweeted.

The that part of the task is called the action.  An example of that would be: “send me an e-mail” or “thank the person who retweeted me”.

Triggers (this) and actions (that) are derived from channels.  Some examples of channels would be Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, Evernote, The Weather Channel, etc.

When you put one channel’s trigger together with another channel’s action, that would become a task!

For instance, I set up the one that was suggested on the website: Save all the photos that I post to Instagram in my Dropbox.  Below is a photo of how that would look.  Is that not incredible??

photo from

To set it up, you just follow the recipe that is on the website.

Once a task has been created, it becomes a recipe and can be shared with friends and other ifttt users.

You can find lots of recipes on the website under the categories “what’s hot,” “what’s new” and “what’s popular.”

Each recipes lists the creator, the date of creation and how many times it has been used.

Some of the interesting ones I found were:

  • When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture.
  • Thanking people in Twitter when they mention you or RT.  (BIG time saver)
  • Tweet my blog post
  • Automatically add posts from an RSS feed to my Readability list
  • When a new book is added to Kindle Top 100 Free eBooks, send me an email.
  • Add your foursquare check-in history to your Google Calendar (in case you can’t remember where you’ve been?)
  • Create a photo post by using Instagram to blog recipe.
  • When I like photo on Instagram post this on Posterous.
  • Add to your Readability reading list by fave’ing a tweet.
  • tumble every tweet that contains an image.

Tasks can be turned on and off.  When turned back on, they pick up as if you had just created them so there will be no data saved when the task is turned off.

Once you set up a recipe, be sure to return to see how that recipe is working.  For instance, I had set up a recipe to thank new followers on Twitter in the @connect section ( NOT in Direct Messages as that is not looked upon favorably by Twitter users).  I went back to check on how it was working and found that my followers were being thanked every 15 minutes!  YIKES

Tasks poll for new data every 15 minutes.

Oh, and did I mention the recipes are VERY easy to use? Really you just follow the pictures.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to hop on over to where you can find more articles, resources and social media strategies.  Shelley teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners how to bring their business into the on-line conversation.

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  1. I made an account a few weeks ago and … well .. haven’t really done anything with it! But I am so glad that I found this guest post! Thank you, Michelle, for making it possible and thank you, Shelley for writing this! It helps so much and I am going to set up a couple recipes right now and … yes … check them as well :) I might just find that I really do like this tool after all. it doesn’t seem so intimidating after reading this! thank you both very much!
    Kimberly ~ Gypsy recently posted… Launch Your Blog into Greatness!My Profile

    1. Right, it looks like it could be really fun and I’m looking forward to playing with it soon. Love how easy it looks when Shelley breaks it down. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do You Want to Get Real Results From Your Blog?My Profile

  2. I understand the how to and not clear on the why to. Could you give a little more information on the purpose of this? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      It’s just a great time saving tool…all those little things that add up to larger chunks of time….and more shiny objects in your line of vision.

      You can do something once and have it done on more than 1 platform. For instance, if you want to update your photo on FB, it will automatically update it on Twitter.

      You can automatically save all of your instagram photos to Drop Box so that you don’t have to remember to do it later.

      You can add anyone who mentions you with an @ to your list of “engagers” on Twitter.

      You could post your blog on Google+ and have that post automatically sent to Twitter and if you created a recipe for your Twitter posts to go to Facebook, it would do that too …..and so on and so on.

      Currently there are 9 channels with 261 possible task combinations. I’m sure they’ll add more in the future.

      Hope that helps,


      1. Thanks for popping in to share that, Shelly. :)

        Yep, another way to automate tasks so we can setup series of things that happen when we do one thing.
        Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Want to Know My Smartest Business Decision So Far?My Profile

  3. WOW! Awesome tool It’s marvelous to have peeps like you and Michelle share your information in such a way that makes me say: I should add this to my marketing strategies, I see the value and I can do it.

    Thank you
    Adalia John recently posted… Is Being a Leader Over Glorified?My Profile

    1. Isn’t it neat? There are so many cool tools out there, and I’m always interested in the ones that save us time and energy. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Cool Tool: If This Then ThatMy Profile

  4. I just worry about things like this sometimes. I recently found out that every time I posted something on Facebook it was going to my LInkedIn account. My husband was the one who told me. And you know how much I post on Facebook (or HootSuite, which goes to Facebook). I also turned off my Facebook/Twitter connections.

    It sounds great to look into, but I worry. Quite possibly because I’m a huge control freak, though! :-)
    Amethyst Mahoney recently posted… Do You Feel Like Your Clients are Hiding?My Profile

    1. Hi Amethyst,

      It’s good to be careful what goes where because each social media platform is a little bit different. For instance, I wouldn’t connect my Facebook posts to Twitter because “tweeps” don’t like that extra click it requires to reach the content. But there are a lot of different “recipes” to try with ifttt.

      Shelley Webb recently posted… Happy MoooooOOOoooother’s DayMy Profile

  5. Oh no! Another tool. Looks great, but there goes the last 15 minutes I had free in my day playing with this new toy.

    Thanks Michelle.
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… What I Learned About the Kindle Select ProgramMy Profile

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