How To Automate Twitter Using Feedly, Buffer, and IFTTT [Guide]

Do you ever find yourself in a sinkhole of time when it comes to Twitter? If you could automate Twitter and free more of your time for engagement, wouldn’t that be awesome?!

Read on, peeps…

How To Automate Twitter Feedly Buffer IFTTT

 

Before we dive in, let’s dispel the myth that automating social media is a mortal sin.

Every industry seeks to automate time consuming tasks to some extent, so there’s no need to place social media management on a pedestal that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Anyone who’s managed multiple Twitter accounts for clients knows the job is incredibly labor-intensive.

Between finding or creating great content to share, optimizing tweets to maximize click-throughs, and setting up sharing schedules, time goes right out the window.

Neglecting automation plainly limits your ability to engage followers as often as you should and, as a result, limits your ability to do what is best for you and your clients… an avoidable lose-lose scenario.

To emphasize, you don’t have a license to ignore your presence or followers once you automate Twitter.

Actually, when you automate Twitter, you should be engaging your followers more often — responding to their tweets, driving conversations, and thanking those who retweet you or share your content — because you no longer have to spend time curating and publishing new content.

So, let’s make at least one aspect of social media management — Twitter — a bit less time-consuming by using three free, simple tools: Feedly, Buffer, and IFTTT.

Deal?

Setting Up Your Content Curating Machine

For this guide, I’ll be using the RSS feed aggegator, Feedly!

If you’re not a big user of RSS, it’s basically an easy way to subscribe to blogs and quickly skim content as it’s updated.

After you set up your Feedly account, visit a few blogs where you frequently find content to share on Twitter. Most blogs will have an RSS subscription icon or you can simply copy and paste the blog’s URL into Feedly’s search box.

Be sure you place all the RSS feeds you want to auto-share from into a single Feedly category as the image below shows (mine are in the IFTT category).  I’ll explain why shortly.

feedly

Setting Up a Twitter Schedule with Buffer

With Buffer, you can schedule specific days of the week and times you want to tweet, then sit back and let Buffer do the work.  For example, here’s a portion of my Twitter schedule in Buffer.

Scheduling Tweets Using Buffer

After you’ve set up your schedule in Buffer, jump to the next step.

Tying Up Loose Ends with IFTTT

Here’s the moment of truth!

Now that you have the content ready in Feedly and the posting schedule set in Buffer, the only thing left is to automate the process.

Let me first explain what IFTTT is…

IFTTT stands for “IF THIS, THEN THAT” and it works similarly to a standard IF statement if you’ve ever used functions in Excel or any programming language. Essentially, we’re setting up a formula that says: if X is true, then do Y.

For our situation, we need IFTTT to pull content from the blogs you subscribed to in Feedly, then send that content to Buffer where you’ve already set up a tweet schedule.

Buffer will then send out tweets at the designated times you set.

Let’s do it!

Sign up or log in to IFTTT first.  When you get to the Dashboard, click “Create” at the top of the screen, then click the blue “this” on the following page.  You should see a group of icons like so.

IFTTT

Look through that list and click the Feedly icon to get to step 2.

feedly-ifttt step 2

Click the box “New article from category.” Alternatively, you could set this up so Buffer will only auto-share articles you’ve tagged or saved in Feedly, which gives you a bit more control, but decreases the level of automation. That’s your call.

Once you’ve done that, move on to step 3.

feedly-ifttt step 3

This is why we placed all the RSS subscriptions into a single category earlier in the post.  Select the name of the category you placed all your RSS subscriptions into and click “Create Trigger,” then click “that” on the next step.

You’ll see another group of icons much like you did earlier.  This time, select the icon for Buffer.

step5

Click the box on the left for “Add to Buffer.”

feedly-ifttt step 6

In this step, you can tweak how your tweets will be constructed when they’re sent to Buffer. The default option shown pulls the post title from the blog, then pulls the related link to that post.

You can add a hashtag here as well, but keep in mind this hashtag will be applied to every tweet scheduled with this automation.

Once you’ve settled the details of how you want your tweets constructed, click “Create Action” and you’ll be taken to the final step of the process where you can add a description to your IFTTT recipe.  Finally, click “Create Recipe” and you’re done!

Is This a Set It and Forget It Thing?

Absolutely not!

Automating Twitter is extremely useful and convenient, but it doesn’t mean you get to neglect the content your tweeting. You should frequently glance at your Buffer account to make sure the scheduled content is worth tweeting, add relevant hashtags, and mention the blog your posts are coming from.

And, as was emphasized at the beginning of the post, when you automate Twitter, that’s all the more reason to frequently engage your followers, because now you have a lot more time to do so.

Your Thoughts on Automation?

What do you think about using this method to automate Twitter or other social networks?

Do you use any specific methods or tools to automate your social media updates?

If you know someone who has time management problems with social media, be a good friend and share this post with them!

Opt In Image
Join today and I'll send you a FREE guide that tells you exactly...
  • Which tools you should be using to manage your social media presence!
  • How simple automation using Buffer and IFTTT can help you get more Twitter followers!
  • How to have more free time to engage Twitter followers!
  • How and where to share your newly-published blog posts to get the most traffic, email subscribers, and attention!
  • What social media and digital marketing blogs I learn from (and you should learn from too).
About Jonathan Payne

I'm the Founder and Author of My Social Game Plan, where I've spent the last six years writing about digital marketing in an effort to help brands and marketers stay on top of the rapidly-evolving marketing landscape.

If you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful, I'd love to connect with you outside the blog!

• Get to know more about me and check out my free Social Media Starter Kit.

• Follow along on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more content.

  • This was a great “how-to” Jonathan! Thank you for your great insight always!

  • Oh cool thanks, i use reader and buffer already, but hadn’t heard of IFTTT. I’ve signed up and set it up now thanks Johnathan. I’ve set it up to post articles I star though, as I like to keep an element of control about what I’m sharing.

    • Glad I could help, Liza! Starring is a good alternative if you like more control. I make sure to put only the highest quality blogs in my Google Reader folder, so that I know the content being shared is always top notch.

      P.S. Thanks for the shares on Twitter also 🙂

      • Your welcome Jonathan, and yes I agree I only have quality blogs in my reader but some post numerous times a day and i have a lot of blogs. So I tend to share the best, from the best.

        Btw I meant to ask, does this work when i star from my feedreader on my cell or tablet?

        • I didn’t try that Liza, as I don’t do a whole lot of managing from my phone. It’s a great question. If you test it out or find the answer, I’d love to hear it.

  • Jonathan… very good article with some good details. My only problem with automation is that some just use it to broadcast and they don’t do much else… hence losing site of what social media is all about. They become a PR or marketing person then or that is the life they came from. sad..

  • Anthony Idle

    I use IFTTT, reader and buffer and whilst at the start I had this setup I have since stopped auto posting to a point. The reason is that you need to have something to say about what you are distributing. That means reading the posts and thinking what’s good or bad, right or wrong, what can be done better. I’d say that if people do just read a headline and star the item to post they aren’t getting the value of critical thinking. PS staring is good however to add key posts into Evernote for future reference which is a different IFTTT recipe.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Anthony. That’s a reasonable criticism and I admit I don’t read every single thing I tweet. To make up for that to an extent, I only have this set up to share from blogs I’ve followed for a long time and blogs I know very, very rarely publish less than stellar content. Copyblogger, for example…I can’t recall the last time they published a post that wasn’t worth reading. I do frequently check Buffer and check the posts to make sure they’re not useless or bad content.

      There are pros and cons, as with all things unfortunately! Thanks for the feedback, seriously.

  • mike

    thanks for a great article! is there any way to use this to automate 2 separate twitter accounts? i Have both twitter accounts connected to Buffer, but when I added buffer, I could add only one twitter account? thanks for explaining how to use IFTTT, i have had an account but really did not know how to set up a “Recipe” Thanks this was a big help!

    • Glad I could help, Mike. The only solution I could think of to your problem (it’s a problem of mine as well) is to have two separate IFTTT accounts, each with this recipe. I haven’t actually tested it yet. I fear that Buffer will say IFTTT is already connected to the account and it won’t allow the solution, but it might be worth a try. Having two Buffer accounts might also solve this issue, but that gets a little tedious to take care of.

      • mike

        thanks! i might try that. Are you using IFTTT for anything else for social media or blogging? or automatic posts to facebook?

        • Not currently. I’ve glanced through some of the popular recipes, but haven’t taken a ton of time to find applications for my own use. I use Buffer to push content to LinkedIn, but I tend to hand-select those articles because LinkedIn is a very specific niche.

  • This is great but is there a way to have it so it includes the twitter handle as well as the articles title and url? There’s not much point sharing someone’s post if they’ll never know you did it. Any suggestions?

    • That is one of the weaknesses, unfortunately. I haven’t found a solution to that problem yet. I tried giving the RSS feeds a new title in Feedly and adding “via {{Source Title}}” in the IFTTT recipe, but it still pulls the original title of the RSS.

      If you find a solution, I’m all ears and would be happy to give you credit in the post above.

      • So far the only solution I found was to use TwitterFeed. You have to manually punch in each RSS feed for each website you want to retweet but once you’ve done all that it works pretty great.

        • I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Kevin

    Question Jonathan- in your article you mention that “You can add a hashtag here as well, but keep in mind this hashtag will be applied to every tweet scheduled with this automation.”
    I’m confused as I don’t see that option in the pulldown, what’s the code for that? e.g. I want to add the hashtag #intled automatically to the Buffer action {{??}} Thanks for any insight!

    • In the last step of the tutorial, you should be able to add #intled after “Article URL” and that should add the hashtag to any post pulled into Buffer via IFTTT.

  • Pingback: Updating Facebook at the Perfect Times Using @Buffer (Lesson)()