Gary Leland Show Episode 12
Gary: Christian, before we start I want you to tell me in your words what we will be talking about today.
Christian: We are talking about Automation and how we can take ourselves more out of our business to allow us to dedicate time toward what we want to do. Maybe that is spending more time on things that will grow our business as opposed to spinning our wheels trying to keep up with your business. It could of course also being having more time to spend with your family and friends. There are a lot of tools we can talk about in this Automation arena that I would be happy to go into further. Automation is what I really love to talk about.
Gary: When I think of Automation, I think of robots and George Jetson.
Christian: Yes and I think you should because I think that is where we are going. I think there are a lot of Internet robots out there that we can take advantage of now. On the Internet there is a tool called “if this then that”, which I will get into in a minute, we have Dropbox, Gmail, all of these things have tools that will do things for you. For example there is a spam filter in Gmail is an example of Internet robots doing our bidding. It’s things that we don’t have to manually do anymore so we can spend our time doing something else other than filtering spam out of your inbox.
Gary: I hadn’t considered the spam filters to be like robots before, but when you explain it that way it makes perfect sense.
Christian: It’s allowing you those mental cycles, or mental RAM, to dedicate to something else. I have many more examples of this. Depending on what your business model is, there are different places you can incorporate this. We have all kinds of online services we use in our business. Let’s say you have a booth somewhere where you sell your products and in order to take credit card payments you use the Square reader. You can tie that into other online services by using ifttt.com. You can choose that every time someone initiates a refund through your Square, you will receive a phone call or a text message notifying you that this has happened. You can request to have a spreadsheet created for every time you sell an item. It’s not huge or Rosie taking care of your kids, but it does take care of you having to copy and paste between spreadsheets or emails. It allows you to focus on the things that are more important.
Gary: I did not realize you could integrate that into the Square platform!
Christian: There are other ones like eBay which has it’s own channel. The eBay search itself can be set up as a channel, so you can set up a search for a particular object on eBay that may be pretty rare or hard to find and it will notify you when that item is available for purchase or bidding. You can even set up for your Twitter to notify all of your followers when you have made a sale of your products. It can be seen as spam a little bit if all you’re tweeting is that you sold another item, but it could work for you in the beginning. You could also send it to a special blog post and have a public place that shows all of the sales for social proof.
Gary: How do you send that to a blog post?
Christian: In the service “if this then that”, you can tie the “then that” into Word Press. You would have a whole bunch of little entries for the sales you made.
Gary: So you couldn’t add each sale to the same blog post so they are all in the same place?
Christian: That’s right.
Gary: That could be some bad reading after a while!
Christian: Absolutely it could but it doesn’t have to be on your main blog page. I gave a talk about this the other day and I compared this to Legos. The little knobs on the top of the Legos are like IFTTT because they snap everything together and the blocks themselves are things like Dropbox, Evernote, eBay, etc. You have to decide what you want to build and design. You can make it exactly the size and shape that you want so that your business performs the way you want it to perform. If you think about it in those terms, what is it that you need to do that you don’t like to do or find to be boring? Then you can decide how to use IFTTT to your advantage.
Gary: I set one up so that if I make a post on Instagram, it automatically makes the same post on Twitter. In doing this it saves me a whole step. Now I make the post once and know that it goes to two different places. I could do the same with Facebook.
Christian: As a matter of fact you could have your post to those locations, but you can also use a social scheduler to send it out at a particular time. I use Buffer for social scheduling. The idea is that you want to have a consistent, regular social media presence. People are on and off of their profiles throughout the day and they can very rarely keep up with everything in their social media circle. This is why it is a good idea to post on a regular basis. If you are like me, you also have a life and you don’t want to be posting to social media every hour or two. In order to keep that social media presence, an app like Buffer allows us to sit down for 10-15 minutes and set up a bunch of tweets and Facebook posts for the entire day. There are quite a few other social schedulers out there to be used; Hootsuite is another popular one. I have an example of how I utilize this. Whenever I have a new podcast come out, I have a tweet automatically sent that tells people I have a new podcast with the episode number and a link. I also have a second recipe that runs parallel and schedules a post in Buffer. My Buffer time slots are normal business hours: 8am, 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. So now my tweet gets sent out into one of those open time slots. If I sent it out when I publish a podcast it would be around midnight, which would not help me much since most of my audience is probably asleep. In your case you can set it up to go from Instagram to Facebook and Twitter and you can send it to Buffer and have it queued up to be posted again later.
Gary: I just opened up my Buffer app and it is very interesting. I see that there is a recipe, which is what they call the action with IFTTT, for Instagram to Buffer.
Christian: They actually call them channels and ingredients. The recipe is the whole thing, the IFTTT: if new blog post, then post to Twitter. That is a recipe. The ingredients are the two parts, so in this case the blog post and Twitter and things like Evernote or Dropbox are called channels.
Gary: So I would take the two ingredients, put them together, and I would have a recipe? Then I could post to Instagram, then it would get sent to my Buffer to be sent out to Twitter at a later time?
Christian: Correct. Buffer is designed to have a certain number of recurring time slots to fill. Buffer’s strong suite is not to post something on Tuesday at 2pm, but rather to post something at the next available time slot that I have configured. So if you have two weeks set up, it’s not going to come out for two weeks. Hootsuite has more options on choosing an actual day to put out a post. Also IFTTT has a channel called “time” and you can specify a specific date and time for something to happen. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, but this is what I love about this. It’s the creativity we can reach with this.
Gary: I am a big believer in making the same post multiple times. I will take a post and schedule it out over a 6-month period so it will go out each month on a different day at a different time. I believe that more people will have the opportunity to see the post, even if the first time they are seeing it is the sixth time I have posted.
Christian: You do have evergreen topics and post that make that possible to do. I love your strategy and it is amazing what you have done with your pages. There is a Word Press plug in that seems to work similarly to the Facebook scheduler and its called CoSchedule. With this plug in you can choose to have old content shared at multiple times in the future. It would be worth checking out for you, I think.
Gary: Let’s go to Word Press for a second because last episode we talked about Woo Commerce using Word Press. Let’s say I put a new product in my Woo Commerce, we’ll say it’s a hat, and I make a post on my blog. How would I use Word Press to get that hat out to all of my social media platforms?
Christian: What Lego pieces do we have to snap together in this example? I know that there is a Word Press channel on IFTTT and if you activate that, one of the things you can do is to say “image” as one of the objects, you can use the title, date and time, and author of it as well. All of these are pieces of the Word Press components. If I want to send this out to my Twitter followers, we can say that when we have a new blog post, it gets tweeted out with the picture attached to it. I also want a link to the blog post with the title of the post. Everyone knows that pictures interact much better than words on Twitter. How many times do you scan over all of the posts except for those with a picture? If there is a picture, you will more than likely at least stop and take a look at it for a second. This is a great way to get more interaction, by adding in a picture. You can make this recipe of Word Press to Twitter over and over again with different channels, so the next time it will go somewhere else to be seen and hopefully purchased.
Gary: With IFTTT, is there anywhere I can’t send my post?
Christian: Google Plus and Pinterest are always different animals. Google Plus has a very limited interoperability with different tools. There is no direct way to go from IFTTT to Google Plus but the Buffer app does along with a few others. I can simply set up my Buffer app to post to Google Plus as well as Twitter, Facebook, and wherever else you want for it to go. It is a way to get around the IFTTT service. Pinterest is kind of a closed environment right now. They say they are going to develop an API, which is a way for people to program hooks into it to be able to utilize it outside of their direct service. Right now you either have to use their apps or you have to go to their site to send something into Pinterest. They do have a way in Pinterest to set up your board to be a feed source, so if you post something on your Pinterest, it will then be sent to Twitter. It’s like their own RSS feed. Keep in mind that with all of the social media platforms, people interact with them differently. People on Google Plus, for example, expect a more verbose post with more details than the people on Twitter because you are stuck on 140 characters.
Gary: On Buffer, can you say that you want a post to be made every Wednesday at 5pm?
Christian: Not exactly. You can change the times that you want things to be posted on each day. For example, you can choose to only post at 11am and 5pm on Fridays, so those will be the only slots available that day. You can’t schedule to have something post at 5pm on Wednesday though because this app is first come first serve on posting. Your post will fall into the first available time slot. I like to not have to think about my posts and hope that they post at the right time. With IFTTT and Buffer I know it’s going to happen. Think about what you are doing, how you do business, and what you want to accomplish. What is boring and redundant or something that you don’t want to do? What can you be doing better? There is a good chance that at least part of it can be done with one of these types of services. Hopefully the examples we have used will illustrate how you think about this. One reason I use automation is because I have a day job. I come home at night and record a podcast with my wife called “Days of our Lives” after we put our baby to bed. I don’t have a lot of extra time to be posting on each individual social media platform every day. I have it down to a science at this point.
Gary: Do you have a blog where you write about Automation?
Christian: I do, it is at prolificsuccess.com. I blog about these kinds of things and I have interesting use cases on there as well. I have a recipe for how I have set up instant idea capture and how to use voice recognition through your smart phone to keep it organized in Evernote. It will help keep things out of your head.
Gary: If someone wants to start out with Automation, what is the best way to start?
Christian: You can subscribe to my email list at prolificsuccess.com. If you want to get out there and just try it, don’t be afraid. Go to IFTTT.com and bufferapp.com and explore it. Dump the Lego bucket out on the floor and see what pieces there are for you to piece together. We are all busy so if you are looking at and considering automation, you probably need it.
Gary: Thanks for taking the time to come on and talk to me today!
If you have a question send it to me at GaryLeland@gmail.com
If you have a question send it to me at GaryLeland@gmail.com
Subscribe to the Gary Leland Show with RSS at GaryLeland.com/RSS
Please join my new Facebook Group, where you can ask questions and meet other people eager to help you with your business and marketing!
“There are no stupid questions. It's only stupid NOT to ask your question.”