IFTTT is an amazing app that will help you automate your digital world without needing to know any programming. It can be particularly helpful for digital marketers who engage with customers primarily through digital mediums such as email, blogs and social media. IFTTT can help with everything from providing alerts when your company name is mentioned, automating and tracking engagement with customers, and keeping track of moves by competitors.

IFTTT connects to over 80 online apps and watches for triggers: events that happen in them. For example, imagine a simple case where you’d like to receive an SMS alert every time a customer posts on your company’s Facebook page. The new post by a customer of your page would be the trigger, and IFTTT would be the means of sending this info via SMS. This whole process is called a recipe.

Let’s take a look at how to get started with IFTTT through an example, and four other great recipes that you can use to make you and your virtual assistant more productive around your social media marketing initiatives.

Creating Your First Recipe – Get Notifications When Your Company is Mentioned

As soon as you’ve signed up for IFTTT, you’ll be ready to start creating your first recipe.

If your virtual assistant is helping you with your social media and marketing initiatives, it will be important for them to keep track of what customers are saying about your company online. For our first recipe, let’s create a recipe that monitors mentions of your company name on the Internet and automatically adds these mentions into your virtual assistant’s to-do list so that they can respond to them.

Social Mention is a great way to keep track of what people are saying about your company across Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more. Simply search for your company name, and then click on RSS Feed to generate an RSS feed of the results. This will allow IFTTT to subscribe to the results and monitor when there are new ones.

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Now let’s start creating the recipe that will send a notification every time there’s a new mention about the company in the RSS feed.

The first step is to click on Create. Then click on This. This is where you’ll define the app that you’re monitoring, and the trigger you’re looking out for.

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In this case we’ll select the Feed icon from the Trigger Channel since we’re monitoring the Social Mention RSS feed, although we could also have selected other apps such as Twitter or Facebook to monitor. There are two trigger options — one that watches for any new result in the RSS feed, and the other that looks for a new result in the RSS feed with our company name. I’ll choose the second to make sure we only get relevant alerts.

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Now I’ll enter in the company name, and the link to the RSS feed from Social Mention and select Create Trigger.

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Now that the trigger is set up, the next step is to choose an action that should happen when this trigger occurs. My virtual assistant uses the Reminders app on the iPhone to keep track of to-do items, therefore they would probably like to get each mention as a To Do item there so that they can keep track of which ones they have followed up on.

So I’m going to select the iOS Reminders app (note: your virtual assistant will need to authorize this on their IFTTT iPhone app), and create a new list in their Reminders app called Company Mentions.

Finally, I’ll activate the recipe by clicking on Create Recipe. Now whenever the company name is mentioned on social media my virtual assistant will get a new reminder directly in the Reminders app on their iPhone and will be able to jump in on the conversation immediately to respond.

Of course, instead of choosing iOS Reminders, we could have also sent alerts via SMS, email, a spreadsheet, or several other means.

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Other Great Ideas

Here are some other great ideas for social media related recipes that will help you and your virtual assistant track social media progress, and get involved in relevant conversations to your industry.

1. Archive Tweets on a Calendar
One idea is to record your company’s tweets onto a Google calendar. This is particular useful if you want to visualize how often your company is tweeting, or you’d like to cross-correlate tweet frequency with other metrics like website traffic.

2. Track When There’s New Questions on Quora
Set up notifications when there are new questions on the question and answer site Quora that match keywords relevant to your industry. This will allow your virtual assistant to jump in to answer them, positioning your company as an industry expert.

3. Post Blog Posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
You can easily create a recipe that will automatically share new posts on your company’s blog to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

4. Automatically Thank Twitter Users for Retweets
If a user retweets you on Twitter, you can create a recipe to automatically thank that person for the retweet so that they get nearly instant positive feedback.

If you click on Browse in IFTTT you’ll find thousands of public recipes that others have shared.

What are some of your favorite IFTTT recipes? Share them with us in the comments below!