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Social Media and Online Tools automation using Zapier

Social Media and Online Tools automation using Zapier

So what is Zapier?

Zapier is an online service that automates workflows between tools and apps. This is basically connecting two services by creating a “Zap.”

I have written a review about the not-so-the-same tool IFTTT, but they practically connect two apps. More about that blog post here:

 

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For this blog, we will use the free forever plan as this is intended for personal automation and to make things less busy. If you’re a business and needs more, their paid tiered plans are available.

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Features:

– With more than 750 apps, premium not included with the free tier.

– Tasks can set to run from 5 to 15 minutes automatically.

– Free plan can still get assistance from Zapier support.

– Intuitive and user-friendly site interface.

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To create a ZAP

Right after you sign-up for either the free plan or a 14-day free trial, you can immediately create a Zap. Simply browse or search for your preferred app to integrate.

Simply go to ‘Zaps’ > ‘Make a new Zap’.

Next is to select the first app for the trigger. You can either search, select from ‘Your Apps’, browse through the ‘Popular Apps’, and choose from ‘Zapier Utilities’.

I selected Facebook Pages for my trigger. This means that when there’s a new post on my page, it will initiate a workflow.

Then the Facebook page where the stream will be triggered.

Then the exact Facebook page.

After Zapier has tested this trigger, you’re done with step 1.

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Next is to set up the second app

Just select the app that will complete the action which the trigger has initiated. I have chosen Slack for the second app.

Then chose a specific action, in this Zap, the workflow will send a new message to my Slack Channel every time a new Facebook page post was triggered.

We need to specify the exact channel where the message will be sent. You can create a new channel through Slack and name it accordingly. In this case, I will choose ‘Offline Messages’.

You also need to setup the messages. By clicking on the insert field icon, it will list down all the available info to include in the message. This is basically composing the template or format of the message.

Selecting the details from the dropdown is like writing a message. Simply select anything that you think of feel is necessary

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And here’s how it will look like. Of course you may need a different information, so it varies.

The next fields are so easy to follow and setup, so just do anything as you see fit and hit ‘Continue’.

Zapier will run a final test to this workflow, you can skip, or if you click on ‘Create and Continue’ it will run the Zap. Once it’s finished, simply name the Zap and switch it on.

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To see if it really works!

Your latest Facebook page post’s details should be in a form of a message in your specified Slack channel. This is what it looks like on mine.

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10 Zaps to automate our Social Media workflow

I will be focusing mainly on my three favorite social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I have included workflows to connect them to some online tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Contacts, Google Sheets, Spotify, and Gmail.

1. Share new Gmail messages matching a search to Facebook

This works the same as Gmail search. So when you receive a new mail and it matches anything you specified in the search, it will automatically post it on Facebook. I use this to share coupons/discount offers, if I want to post an email from a specific address, if I receive a free event invitation, etc.

For more information on how to set up the Gmail search, you may refer to Google’s help article.

Search operators you can use with Gmail

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2. Post Dropbox photos to Facebook

The reason why I upload my pictures on Dropbox than directly post them on Facebook is to retain their original quality. Facebook employs a heavy compression for up to 90% and is continuously doing it to all the photos uploaded there. Well they don’t intend to be a photo repository or an archiver for high-quality photos.

While Dropbox can only store upto 2GB of files for their free plan, it is, in my opinion, decent enough to store and backup my photos without losing the quality.

If you don’t have a Dropbox account yet, please sign-up for one here.

3. Tweet at new Twitter followers

 

Remember when you follow someone/a business Twitter account, they immediately thanked you? Then you thought it was a bot? Well, we call it automations.

This Zap will even allow you to personalize your message through placeholders.

4. Add new posts you like on Instagram to Dropbox

This means that when you like an Instagram post, the image will be saved to your Dropbox. Except from stalking my Kpop, Jpop, and Thaipop idols, I also save some pictures that I might need like the style guru’s post. To sign-up to a free Dropbox account, please refer to this link.

5. Save Liked Instagram Photos to Sorted Google Drive Folders

This is similar to number 4, and for users who prefers Google Drive over Dropbox, this one is for you.

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6. Share Facebook Page posts on another Facebook Page

This Zap is for users who have multiple Facebook pages. You can share a post to your second account without leaving your main account. Though this only works for two accounts only – your main and one more.

7. Share Instagram Photos to Twitter Automatically

If you are into multiple social media, this Zap is for you. When your Instagram is already connected to Facebook, it automatically shares your pictures there, with this Zap, it will also post your pictures on Twitter, thus making your social media accounts updated with your status. 🙂

8. Create a new Google Contact when a new Twitter user follows

I have set this as an example on my IFTTT blog. We can also apply this to Facebook and Instagram. That is if you’d like to save your social media followers’ contact details.

9. Post new Spotify playlists to your Facebook timeline

The purpose of this Zap is the convenience of sharing your new Spotify playlist without manually doing it. While not all people are comfortable in sharing the music they listen to, there are of course those who’d like to share them to the world!

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10. Add new tracks in a Spotify playlist to a Google Sheet

This is one example of the things we can track using Google Sheet. We may never know when we will need them, but it’s better to have a spreadsheet list of things.

Wrapping up

Zapier is a wonderful online tool that automates a workflow so we don’t have to manually do them. So instead of manually saving our pictures from Facebook to Google Drive for backup and personal purposes, we can let Zapier to the job for us!

There are a few things to consider, unlike IFTTT, Zapier is geared more towards online tools or apps. So we will not see an automation for home appliances. Of course, both are targeted to their own specific market.

We also may need to consider the limitations of free plan:

  1. While it runs the Zaps every 15 minutes like the paid plans, it is limited to 5 Zapz at a time.
  2. Tasks are limited to 100 a month. These are when a piece of data were moved or that they have taken action.
  3. Because it is free, the access to the premium apps is not available.

Finally, if you have used, are using, and will be using Zapier, what is/are your favorite Zaps? Let me know in the comments below.

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About the author

Ernest Ducay Jr

Ernest Ducay Jr

Memra Project Admin

Loves green tea, dogs, and cats. I'm also a freelance WordPress site developer.

Poopy.life – Free WordPress Unlimited Installs

Poopy.life – Free WordPress Unlimited Installs

Sounds so toilet-ish

This online tool may sound not so serious, but this is awesome!

So what is poopy.life?

This is simply where a quick and free WordPress unlimited test install can be done. I’ve tried it and it worked really fast! Go time it and see for yourself.

Simply click on create and the new tab will show a Sandbox WordPress page.

 

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- 8 days ago

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- 14 days ago

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- 16 days ago

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When a test environment is created, this should look like the one below.

So this is a disposable WordPress install which will be “flushed” after 7 days. If in case you’d need an additional time, you may add another week.

So what?

What can we exactly do with this?

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1. Testing Environment

Let’s say you have a theme or plugin you’d like to test/check before installing to your actual hosting, this one is the best and quick way to do that. As they run the latest version of WordPress, testing a theme and/or plugin compatibility will be easy.

 

However, it looks like testing with backward version of WordPress is not possible. I mean, what’s the point? The latest is better.

2. Replicating an Issue

While some hosting company may blame the theme for the error, this test site is another solution to sort out the issue. That way, it may prevent the back and fort of communication.

This is also the best solution for developers when there’s a need to replicate an error where there’s a safe environment to debug it.

3. Test Install Template

You can create a test template where you can share with everyone and this will take a snapshot of your install. Simply click on sandbox, then ‘create sandbox’ button.

 

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Final Thoughts

The site name is, I would say, funny, but interesting. It may be a perfect solution, maybe not, but it all depends on your situation. 😛

 

About the author

Ernest Ducay Jr

Ernest Ducay Jr

Memra Project Admin

Loves green tea, dogs, and cats. I'm also a freelance WordPress site developer.

IFTTT, a cool and free automation tool

IFTTT, a cool and free automation tool

Hopefully a not so boring introduction

This is technically my very first post for this blog and I hope you’ll appreciate my style of putting less words while assuming I get the message across.

It simply stands for ‘if this then that’.

In a nutshell, it is a tool that connects two different services and automates them without any coding from the user. Let’s say you want your new Twitter followers to be automatically added to your Google contacts. Or your Twitter profile picture to be automatically updated with your new awesome Instagram selfies – imagine how cool that would be! You can even backup your new text messages on your Android device to a Google spreadsheet.

These are only some of the hundreds of automations that can be done there.

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A very short history…

On 14th of December 2010, Linden Tibbets has posted their first blog, ‘ifttt the beginning‘ announcing the first beta invites for their project. And now, (by the time of this writing) they have more than 400 services to connect to, and with over a billion applets running every month. So you can imagine how many combinations one can make.

A free service.

Signing-up is simple, free, and does not require to fill-out a lengthy form. Just an email address and an appointed password, then you’re good to go!

Upon Logging in…

The interface is very user friendly and is easy to use. At the top left-hand side, there are three options/menu to help a user to get started.

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The default one is the ‘Discover’ where it shows all the recommended applets for you in grid view. These are premade ones in case you don’t want to manually create an applet. Mine is mostly Gmail and Google Drive.

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The ‘Search’ option is to actually search for a list of recommended applets for a specific service. Example, when you search for Gmail, it will list down all the recommended premade applets with all the possible services that will work with it.

‘My Applets’ is where all your created and currently running applets are shown. You’ll notice an On/Off indicator on the lower-left hand corner of the applet. ‘New Applet’ button is located at the left side of the screen, this is where new applets can be created manually.

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Creating an applet.

It is pretty simple. Just select a service, then select a trigger under that, in our example, I selected the ‘new follower’ and Twitter is the service. Then an action, which is adding the user’s available details from Twitter to Google Contact’s contact field.

Here’s a simple screencast I prepared showing how to do it.

Other stuff

So imagine the different combination of services you can automate. One example is whenever I’m tagged in a picture on a Facebook post(as a trigger), then the image will be uploaded and saved to my Google Drive(the action).

These automations are not for online services alone, it also has support for IOs, Android, and even your home appliances!

Here’s one example where it can track your GE fridge’s usage in Google Drive.

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Conclusion

Cool tools, such as this, are a good solution so we don’t have to do things manually. However, there are services that are not yet available here, like Zendesk. I also noticed for some social media services, to post on Instagram as an action is also not available, this could be due to IG’s T&C or to IFTTT’s target market. But overall, this is such a wonderful, and a FREE tool that I come across with online.

If you haven’t tried IFTTT before, go ahead and try it! And let me know in the comments below what are your thoughts about the tool.

About the author

Ernest Ducay Jr

Ernest Ducay Jr

Memra Project Admin

Loves green tea, dogs, and cats. I'm also a freelance WordPress site developer.

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