A common problem many business owners and employees run across with the Internet and smartphones is that the apps and programs are often too disparate, and not connected enough. This can be a drag for productivity, especially if you have to keep repeating the same tasks. One tool that may help automate these is If This Then That (IFTTT).
What is If This Then That?IFTTT is a Web and mobile app that was developed to connect different Web apps like Google Apps, DropBox, Facebook, Instagram, etc, together into one general system. In general, the service runs on conditional statements - or recipes - that fit the IFTTT statement.
The service is set up on a number of different conditional statements that make up what the developers of the app call a recipe. Each recipe is broken down into two different sections:
- This - Also referred to as a trigger. Each trigger in a recipe is kind of like a requirement in that the set trigger has to happen for the recipe to start working.
- That - That refers to an action that happens when a 'this' condition is triggered.
Examples of IFTTT recipesThere are a wide variety of recipes out there that you can create. For example, some of the more useful IFTTT recipes for businesses include:
- If a photo is posted on the business Instagram account, then it is shared with Twitter and Facebook.
- If a Square payment is processed, then this creates a line in a specific spreadsheet.
- If a contact is added to a phone's address book, then this information is placed on Evernote.
- If an article is posted on a specific blog, then the post is shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
- If an email is starred on Gmail, then a reminder is set on my phone to review starred emails.
- If I enter the office, then my phone is muted.
- If a client emails an attachment, then a copy is saved to DropBox.
- If my device is in the office, then my office lights are turned on (if you have Phillips Hue bulbs).
How to sign up for thisBecause you can access IFTTT from the Web and via an app on your mobile device, we recommend first thinking about how you are going to use it. If you are going to be using recipes for your mobile device, then we recommend downloading the app onto your device. Regardless of how you are going to use it, you can create an account by:
- Going to the IFTTT website (https://ifttt.com/)
- Clicking Join IFTTT.
- Setting a username and password and clicking Create account.
Creating recipes from your browser
- Go to the IFTTT website (https://ifttt.com/) and press Sign in.
- Press Create.
- Press This and select your trigger - try picking your app first, then click on it to get a list of actions.
- Press Create Trigger.
- Click That and select an action channel.
- Select Create Recipe.
Creating recipes from your mobile device
- Open the app.
- Press the mortar and pestle icon at the top-right.
- Press the + followed by the + besides If on the next screen.
- Select the app from the icons at the top of the screen, and select the related trigger.
- Tap the + beside Then and select an action or app.
- Press Finish to activate the new recipe.