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Leveraging IFTTT for SEO and Social Media

  |  September 12, 2013   |  Comments   |  

Consider this approach in using social media to brainstorm new content ideas for your site.

Social media and SEO efforts have, in many ways, become one and the same. Each channel can be used in a variety of ways to inform strategies on the other. This is especially true when it comes to using social media to brainstorm ideas for new content to create on your site.

Typically, search teams will conduct their keyword research, identify how people are searching, create content based on it and hope that it’s shared on social channels. One tactic I've had success with is taking this approach and turning it around a bit to instead rely on social media content already being shared as the foundation for new content I create. IFTTT (If This Then That) is a key service that I use to automatically collect the data.

If you're unfamiliar with IFTTT, it's a platform that relies on "recipes" that actively look for triggers and then performs a specific action based on how you've set it up. In other words, if one event happens, then another one is performed. An example of this may be if you're tagged in a Facebook photo, then automatically save it to your Google Drive account. There are numerous channels that IFTTT incorporates into and by using them you can automatically gather information that your target audience is talking about and sharing. Once you’ve collected it, then it’s a matter of compiling and turning it into something interesting. Taking this approach, your starting out with a foundation of content that has a higher chance of spreading naturally and hopefully picking up new links along the way. Below are just two of the ways you can use IFTTT for SEO and Social Media:

1. Using IFTTT to Generate Content Ideas from Social Media Audiences

Goal: Create a "Favorite Uses of a Product" image-based post targeting a specific keyword you want to rank on, such as "Legos".

To collect the relevant data and images for a post on Legos, you can use the Instagram and Evernote combination of channels in IFTTT using the following steps:

1. Choose Instagram as the "If".

2. From the available list of Instagram Triggers, select "New photo by anyone tagged".

3. For the tag, input your keyword for the type of images you want to capture. In this case "Legos".

4. Select "Create Trigger".

5. Choose Evernote for the "That".

6. Choose "Create an image note from a URL" and adjust the naming and saving settings to your liking.

That's it. Once you've finalized the recipe, IFTTT will begin automatically collecting any images posted to Instagram with the hashtag you declared and save them directly to your Evernote account. This will continue to happen until you disable the Recipe in IFTTT. After a bit of time, you should have plenty of images that have been shared on Instagram to potentially incorporate into your new post. Before posting the image, you should obviously first reach out to the owner and ask for permission of its use. As a bonus, because they've been alerted that it'll be used, they'll likely be one of the first to share the post on various social media channels. Make sure you tag them when posting your article on your own social media channels so that they get an alert.

2. Using IFTTT to Increase Efficiencies of your Social Media Efforts

Goal: Spend less time updating each social media channel that your company has a presence on.

With IFTTT, you can use a multi-step process to post a status update to Twitter that is then automatically syndicated out to your other profiles such as Facebook, LinkedIn and with the recently added functionality for Google+ (Business Profiles).

1. Choose Twitter as the "If".

2. From the available list of Twitter Triggers, select "New tweet by you with hashtag".

3. Add a hashtag that you want to use to signal that it's ok to syndicate the post out to all of your other social media profiles. Using the hashtag option allows you to post only to Twitter if you'd like by simply not including the hashtag in the post.

4. Select "Create Trigger".

5. Choose Buffer for the "That". Buffer is a 3rd party platform that can be used to syndicate status updates across channels at designated times and will require a separate login and setup.

6. Choose "Add to Buffer".

That's it for this one. After you've set up Buffer and the IFTTT recipe, anything that you post to your Twitter account containing the special hashtag will automatically be posted across all of your other channels that are supported. While this can be a big time saver in posting updates, you should still actively monitor and engage with the audiences on each individual channel as they interact with the posts. After all, no one likes a robot when it comes to social media and by neglecting them your audience will surely dwindle rather than grow.

With nearly 60 channels to choose from and a variety of triggers and actions from each, these are just two of the many possibilities when it comes to leveraging IFTTT for SEO and social media tactics. If you're in need of some additional inspiration, you can browse the Recipes section on their website to see what the community has built. I’d love to hear in the comments below if anyone else is using the platform and, if so, what your ideas and favorite recipes are.

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Scott Kellam

Scott Kellam is a search engine optimization professional with over 8 years of experience in the industry. Scott has developed SEO strategies for marquee clients such as SAP, HSBC, Humana, Saint Laurent (YSL), SanDisk, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and many others. He has worked in search marketing since 2005 with a proven track record of developing profitable SEO and social media strategies. With a deep understanding of both technical SEO issues as well as search marketing’s role in identifying and connecting with target audiences, Scott has been able to effectively scale strategies that directly impact bottom lines for clients of all sizes across B2B and B2C industries as well as non-profits.

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