We’ve talked before on the blog about automating some processes through services like If This Then That and Alfred, and in this post I wanted to share some of our favorite uses of another fantastic automation tool: Zapier.
Zapier integrates with more than 400 different web apps, which means most marketers are bound to be able to find at least a few ways to use it to work smarter, not harder. (See all of them and find tips on getting started at their Zapbook.)
First: How Zapier works
In a nutshell, Zapier lets you create connections to push data from one app to another using triggers and actions. They call each connection, made up of a single trigger and a single action, a “Zap.”
To set up an integration, you follow these steps:
- Define a trigger: The first event that instigates another action. The trigger might be something like “A New Email in Gmail” or “A New Payment in PayPal.”
- Define an action: An action is what happens after the trigger. It might be something like “Create a Contact in Highrise” or “Send an email to the accounting department.”
- Check to make sure your Zap works and then you’re all set. Zapier will monitor for the trigger and complete the actions associated.
- Repeat for more tasks! You can make up to 5 Zaps for free, and Zapier has paid plans that offer lots more functionality.
Let’s take a look at some ways to use Zapier for marketing and for supercharging your Buffer account. I’ll also show you how we use Zapier at Buffer to streamline our communication as a team.
Ways to use Zapier for social media marketing
With so many tools available to work with, the ways to use Zapier for marketing and social media are really limited only by one’s imagination and tool set. I scoured the web to find some of the most useful and unique Zaps out there; maybe this will trigger some ideas for you.
Click on any photo to dive deeper into learning about the topic or setting up that Zap!
Share new content automatically
First thing first: Sharing your new content everywhere! You can create Zaps to send posts via RSS to many of your favorite social media sites, or into your Buffer queue.
Build your email list
Integrating with Mailchimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor and more, Zapier could be super helpful for building and maintaining your email list. Use Wufoo forms to collect email addresses? Set up a Zap to add them directly into your AWeber account. Have GoToWebinar sign ups entered into MailChimp. Create a new Salesforce lead every time someone fills out a form on your website.
Zapier has collected a ton of interesting email list building Zaps that you can check out here.
Promote events on the perfect schedule
Create a new event in your calendar, or in a meeting app like Meetup, Eventbrite or GoToWebinar, and Zapier will share your events on your social networks. You can even have Zapier delay the post to make sure it’s seen by the most people possible.
Create and nurture leads following events
This Hubspot post provides a number of ways its customer can maximize their efforts with Zapier, including the idea of simplifying lead collection at events like tradeshows and conferences through a Zap focusing on Eventbrite. Just choose “New attendee in Eventbrite” as your trigger, and “add or update a contact in HubSpot” as your action. As users register for events, they’ll get a contact record in HubSpot that you can use to trigger emails, workflows, build lists, and more.
Monitor a Twitter community or list
If you’ve got a Twitter community or list that you want to keep an extra special eye on, Zapier has a few Zaps that can provide a big assist:
Build a list of people who share your content
Wondering who you biggest advocates and influencers are? Uberflip’s François Mathieu wrote a great post of 9 marketing automations hacks powered by Zapier. This one was super interesting: He suggests feeding Twitter into Google Docs to build a list of every tweet that matches your blog domain. You’ll end up with a spreadsheet of useful data, including the people who tweet your content.
You can also use Zapier’s Twitter search integration to find specific keywords such as like, love, and awesome when mentioning your brand name, or create this spreadsheet for mentions of a particular keyword or group of keywords instead of your blog domain.
Get notified of Reddit mentions
I’ve found Reddit a bit challenging to monitor in the past, so I’ve just turned on one of these Zaps for Buffer. These recipes allow you to automatically search Reddit for mentions of specific topics and then gather those mentions wherever you’d like to read them.
Personalize your webinars with Unbounce and GoToWebinar
A very cool example from KISSmetrics follows their well thought-out webinar path that increased signup rate by 1,000 percent. KISSmetrics uses GoToWebinar for their events, but uses an Unbounce landing page for signups, in order to have more control over the look and feel and run A/B tests to increase conversions. Zapier connects the two services.
Send content ideas from Feedly to your team
Danny Schreiber of Zapier shares lots of cool ideas to work with Feedly through Zapier in this post. I particularly liked the idea of using a Zap to share ideas that occur while reading through your Feedly sources.
There are lots of ways to do this, depending on how you like to share ideas with your team:
Get push notifications for things you want
Push notifications are a really helpful way to get real-time alerts for the activities that matter to you. With Zapier, you can create push notifications for activities like new support tickets, new calendar events, new YouTube videos, and lots more. Here are some neat ideas for Twitter specifically:
Get SMS alerts for crucial activities
Prefer to get notified via your phone? Set up Zapier with Twilio or use Zapier’s own special phone number to quickly set up notifications for anything you want to be alerted about. (You can also create email alerts in a similar way.)
Sync Linkedin connections with Gmail contacts
Another great list of Zapier uses comes from Jessica Malnik at SheOwnsIt. She notes that it can be a challenge to have to sift through your email contacts plus all your Linkedin ones separately and suggests using Zapier to sync them like so:
Share posts to your preferred real-time “chat” communication tool
If you use a tool like WordPress or Tumblr to share content or even internal information, Zapier can share posts those to chat tools like Slack, Hipchat and Yammer.
Create a Mailchimp autoresponder
This one comes from Brad Knutson and is an interesting workaround if you want to add a bit more customization and individuality to your email autoresponder. He provides a whole tutorial on this process here.
For even more social media and marketing Zaps, check out Zapier’s great resource, 101 Smart Ways to Use Social Media Automation for Sales and Marketing.
Ways to use Zapier to supercharge your Buffer account
If you’ve got a Buffer account (grab one here if you like!), there is plenty of potential to use Zapier to make your account work even harder and connect with tons of handy tools that might also be part of your workflow. (One note about how Buffer works with Zapier: We like to give you as much control as possible at Buffer, so when you choose to connect any of these networks to your Buffer queue, you’ll be able to select which queue in specific: whether it’s Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn or Google+.)
Social media automation to Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and more
With Buffer, you can share, queue and schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. With Buffer plus Zapier, there are some really cool additional networks that might be helpful. For instance: • Instagram to Buffer: When you post to Instagram, like an Instagram post, or tag something on Instagram, you can use Zapier to send that post to your Buffer queue. • Pinterest to Buffer: When you pin something on Pinterest OR when anyone adds something to a specific board you’ve selected, you can use Zapier to send that pin to your Buffer queue. • YouTube to Buffer: When you post a new video to YouTube, you can use Zapier to send that video to your Buffer queue. • Other social media accounts to Buffer: If you like, you can also connect Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Facebook to your Buffer queue through Zapier. Depending on your workflow and needs, this might be handy—for example, if you wanted to connect a business account to a personal account, or vice versa.
Connecting blog posts to Buffer
Another popular automation is to connect your blog to all your social media accounts so that every time you publish a new post, your social accounts gets updated as well.
Zapier makes it easy to connect a WordPress blog or a Tumblr blog to your Buffer account to make this process automatic.
Later on, you can go back into your Buffer queue and check out your analytics to see how those posts did. From there, you can change the wording or the formatting, try a new headline, add a new or different image and share it again. This is one of our favorite ways at Buffer to A/B test headlines and other elements of social media posts to always keep honing in on what’s most effective.
Content curation is a great way to grow your authority, trust and thought leadership, but finding content to share is one of the things that takes marketers the longest. You want to create a system where the best content is easy to find, easy to tag, easy to access. Once you’ve got that, you can sit down for a few curation sessions a week and fill up your social queues with great content really quickly. If you use tools like Evernote, Feedly, Trello or Google Docs as part of your content curation process, Zapier and Buffer can lend a hand. • Evernote to Buffer: When you create a new note in Evernote and tag it with a word like Buffer for example, you can use Zapier to send that note to your Buffer queue • Google Docs to Buffer: When you create a new row in a Google Sheets spreadsheet, you can use Zapier to send that article to your Buffer queue • Trello to Buffer: When you create a new card or list in Trello, you can use Zapier to send that activity to your Buffer queue • Feedly to Buffer: However you might use Feedly for content curation, you can likely use Zapier to send specific articles, categories of content or whole feeds into your Buffer queue
If you find yourself returning to the same sources of great content, you might want to check out Buffer’s Feeds feature. Awesome and Business customers can add up to 15 RSS feeds to your Buffer social profiles and share links directly from your favorite sites from right inside your Buffer dashboard.
Sending Buffer posts to communication or workflow tools
So far we have talked about actions you can take that will create an activity in your Buffer queue. In this section, we’re going to talk about the reverse: An action you can take in your Buffer account that will create another activity elsewhere.
These are handy Zaps for those who want to communicate their social media activities within a team or keep a quick record of what has been posted to social media accounts. Some of these examples might be:
• Buffer queue into Slack, Hipchat, or Yammer: Great to keep the whole team aware of new posts and shares. This is really handy if you’d like to encourage teammates in sharing your content.
• Buffer queue to Trello, Evernote, RescueTime: Perhaps useful if you’re keen on time tracking or project management for a client.
• Buffer queue to a spreadsheet: This could be handy for your own records or as a kind of basic reporting to others.
If you find yourself regularly reporting to a client or a boss we would love for you to give Buffer for Business a try! It gives you lots of rich analytics, insightful charts and graphs, easy ways to sort your best-performing content and export all your data.
Learn how to make these Zaps in our webinar!
I recently had the pleasure of talking with my friend Alison Groves of Zapier about all the ways one can combine Zapier and Buffer for social media marketing super power. Check out the webinar recording here:
How we use Zapier at Buffer
Finally, I thought I might share a few of the ways that we personally use Zapier in our daily work and communication here at Buffer, in case it might spur any ideas for you.
Sending what we’re reading to Facebook through Buffer
To keep up with what everyone on the team is reading, we use a Zap that sends each gifted book, which we keep track of through Trello, to our Facebook Group for Buffer team members. The end result looks like this:
We also send these book selections to Hipchat through Zapier.
(P.S. If you’d like to keep up with what we’re reading, we keep our Pinterest board updated with the latest)
Sending Github notifications and pull requests to Hipchat
Buffer’s development team uses Zapier to funnel both Github notifications and pull requests into the Hipchat Engineers room.
Sending new blog posts to Hipchat
We blog quite a bit at Buffer. Here, on the Buffer Open blog, on our Overflow developers blog, and on many team members’ individual blogs. So we’ve enlisted Zapier to help us keep track by connecting all our blogs’ RSS feeds right into Hipchat, our remote work central “office,” so to speak.
This way we all get notified when a new post is published, with a link to go check it out:
Sending blog comments to Hipchat
In a similar Zap to the blog posts one above, we also send any comments on any of our Buffer blog posts into our Hipchat Crafters’ room.
This is super helpful so we don’t have to sign up for notifications though Disqus for every post we write—Hipchat simply collects them all as they come in, like so:
Then we can quickly go in and answer questions and comments from our audience.
How do you automate?
If you’ve given Zapier a try, I’d love to hear about your experience and your favorite Zaps for marketing, productivity or anything else. Share your insights in the comments!