IFTTT stands for If This Then That, a simple API-driven automation platform that makes keeping all of your web services working together a cinch.
Here at DOZ we are big fans of IFTTT and we’ve previously mentioned how useful it is when blogging with Evernote or when using a ‘read later’ applet like Pocket. But IFTTT is more than just a tool for bloggers or for your own individual reading pleasure. IFTTT takes advantage of the APIs of your web services to take care of the things that would otherwise cost you extra clicks and extra minutes every day.
For example, imagine you’ve just spent Saturday night partying with friends and then enjoying a Sunday picnic in the park. Come Monday morning (if not before) your friends will be posting pictures of your activities on Facebook and tagging you when they do. They have some great shots you’d love to keep, but why should you have to sort through all of them and manually click ‘Save as…’ when you hover over each one? Let IFTTT do the work for you by switching on a recipe: if I am tagged in a Facebook photo then save that photo to my Dropbox. IFTTT runs in the background and once a recipe is activated you can forget about it – it just works. Simple, right?
To switch on a recipe all you need to do is connect your web service (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or any one of dozens of others) to your IFTTT account and then click ‘Add Recipe’. If you want to customize the recipe you can do that, too, and you can share your recipes with others, too.
IFTTT has dozens of recipes for your Instagram account and we’ve selected five in particular that stand out from the rest. Check them out, switch them on, and automate your social media with just a few clicks.
#1: Post All Instagram Pictures to Twitter as a Picture, Not a Link
It’s well known that tweets with images have higher rates of engagement, more retweets, and more clicks. AdWeek reveals that one study found tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets – that’s the sort of action that any individual, company, or brand wants a part of. While Instagram already has Twitter sharing built into the app, the tweet that is shared only includes the caption and a link to the image on Instagram. By activating this recipe you ensure that the caption, a link to the Instagram post, and your image is shared in the tweet upping your engagement and getting your followers clicking.
#2: Instagram Photo to Google + Post
It’s sad but true: Instagram and Google+ do not play well together. It’s likely that the reason has something to do with the folks at Mountain View being significant competitors for Instagram’s parent company Facebook. But whatever the reason, it takes time and more than a couple of clicks to post an Instagram shot to Google+. Or at least it does if you don’t activate this recipe. Heads up: you’ll also need a Buffer account and to have connected your Google+ page at Buffer, but after that it is smooth sailing. IFTTT solves the Facebook/Google standoff. Next up: world peace?
#3: Pin your Instagram ‘likes’ to the Pinterest ‘Pins On The Go’ Board
Two of the largest image-based social networks are Instagram and Pinterest. As well as collecting and pinning the images and designs you find on the web to your Pinterest boards, wouldn’t it be great to automatically collect the great Instagram shots you are taking, too? With IFTTT it’s easy. Turn on your Instagram channel, your Pinterest channel, and your Gmail channel (make sure this is the email account you used to sign up for Pinterest) and then click ‘Add Recipe’ on this little piece of code. Voila! Your Instagram shots reach a new audience and are collected on their own board.
#4: Tag an Instagram image to share it on Twitter
This recipe was designed for the SXSW festival but it is easily configured so that it works for any hashtag. Simply tag your Instagram shot with a specified hashtag (for example, #work, #product, or #buybuybuy) and a tweet is automatically created with a link to the Instagram shot. This is great when you have a Twitter strategy that wouldn’t work as well if you posted every Instagram shot – the first recipe above is better for that – but where selected shots will add value to your tweet stream it’s perfect.
#5: Instagram to Flickr
Instagram is like many other social networks in that a combination of (a) people following many others, and (b) the most recent content getting priority in the feeds produced, results in some shots getting missed by your followers if they don’t glance at their phone at the right time or scroll deep enough into their feed. Flickr is a little different in that it collects images by photographer as well as by type, tag, and location. Someone looking for all of your shots – whether Instagram or Flickr – can find them all in one place if you activate this recipe, and Flickr’s whole-screen and non-mobile experience means there’s a greater chance people will find your image when they come looking.
Do you have a favorite Instagram IFTTT recipe? Share it with us on Twitter or in comments below!
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