A month ago, I paid my second annual Zapier subscription fee. I’ve been using this platform for more than a year now, and it baffles me how little writers use it to save their precious time.
I’m using Zapier for lots of things: creating accounts for my ConvertKit email subscribers on my Ghost blog, automatically create Medium Drafts for my published pieces on Ghost with the canonical URL already set to the original post, etc.
You might think — why bother automate things that take a minute? But if you count those minutes that you spend on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on, it becomes hours. Hours that you can shave off to focus only on writing and publishing on your blog and let technology handle the rest. That’s Zapier’s mission.
You don’t need to pay to get started with Zapier. Once it starts saving you time on all the little things you do anyway, you’ll want more.
But for today, let’s begin with the basics.
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored by Zapier. I’m just sharing my experience.
Signing Up For The Free Plan
That’s probably the easy part about this entire guide. Head over to Zapier.com, and just like on many other sites, sign up using Google or Facebook.
Boom, you’re in!
Follow the onboarding that Zapier is putting you through to get a feel of how it works.
It’s just like Lego! You connect pieces to create a working module.
Getting Started With Accounts
After you’ve chosen your apps on the onboarding page, you can head over to your connection page and then start connecting these apps with your existing accounts.
Before we move on, create connections for your blog software (WordPress, Medium, Ghost, Squarespace, etc.) and Twitter.
Each connection should ask you to verify that you allow Zapier to access your account. Choose yes.
Setting Up Your First Zap
Let’s say you want to automatically Tweet your latest article when you hit publish on your WordPress Site (or any other blog software, this will apply to all of them).
On the zap page, you’ll have to select “connect this app:” WordPress (or whatever you’re using) “with this one:” Twitter. Then choose the triggers: when a new post (this might vary for each software, but the gist should be the same), create a tweet.
Now Zapier will take you through the process of setting up your Zap. You’ll first test the trigger from your website and then design the Tweet Zapier will send.
In the trigger phase, Zapier will poll your blog for the latest blog post. It will look like a lot of gibberish, but once you see that the trigger was successful, you can move on.
Then the fun part comes. You’ll now have the opportunity to design a tweet based on information drawn from your post like Title, Subtitle, Featured Image, Link, and more.
In every zap you design, the article’s link must be present in the social media post’s body. Otherwise, how will people get it?
For example, I design my tweets this way:
some twitter tags I use for my content (more on that later)
Remember: no matter how you design it, the post must adhere to the social media platform’s rules. You can create a tweet with more than 280 characters, but Twitter will reject it on their backend.
Also, Zapier automatically removes any mentions created in their tweets before sending them over to Twitter. It’s part of Twitter’s automation policy.
Do you see the potential now? Let’s talk about three must-have Social Media zaps for writers.
3 Must-Have Social Media Zaps for Writers
Twitter and Facebook pages are pretty self-explanatory. LinkedIn might not serve you well if your niche isn’t of particular interest to people on that platform. And as a bonus, I included Tumblr.
Create either a post for your personal page or a company page on LinkedIn. Make sure your subtitle is up to par so that some text can accompany the headline of your post.
Sharing a post one time directly to Twitter is the basic automation. But the fact is that most of your audience will probably miss that tweet.
Do you know anyone who’s actively looking for older tweets as a habit? Neither do I (they might exist but are not the representing users of Twitter).
So, do a basic zap right now to get the hang of it. But perhaps later, you want to zap to a service that keeps tweeting that article over a while.
I’m no Facebook expert. I do know that when you boost your page for more likes, people on Facebook will start exploring your page to get a sense of the kind of content you share.
You don’t want to cram the page with content for one month and then have nothing to show for several older months.
Put that out of your mind by setting the automation and forgetting about it. Of course, if people interact with you on Your Facebook page, don’t neglect them! Pay them attention, but you won’t have to spend as much time dealing with posting on your page.
If you’re a geek like me, Tumblr is a great platform to find geeky audiences. I don’t think I’ve invested enough time to understand the platform with all the changes it’s gone through in recent years, but I do believe that a lot of my people are hanging out there (and on Reddit) talking about video games and books.
So, if that’s your audience, too, share to Tumblr as well. You can share links just like you’d share them on Twitter or Facebook.
Pair Your Zaps with targeted hashtags
Using Hashtags consistently means pushing content to the eyes of a concentrated audience.
You don’t want to share just with your audience every time — you want to share with a broad — yet relevant — audience.
That’s why it’s super important to research the platforms and the hashtags on those platforms before you publish your zaps.
Go on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and any other platform you’re going to post to and look for those hashtags that are super active in your niche. Those are the hashtags you want to include in your posts.
Try to find an active hashtag that isn’t overly broad, like #writing, for example. That won’t work since that hashtag is too general. You need to explore something more specific and active.
Put Your Headlines to The Test
Remember that no matter what platform you’re sharing your posts to, you can only ever decide on your post’s structure — not the content.
That’s why it’s super important to work on your headlines. Don’t use the first headline that comes to mind. Work on your headlines to keep healthy curiosity for your reader but no clickbait of any kind.
Your headline will make or break the social media post. If it doesn’t stand out above the noise, people will gloss over your article without a second look.
It’s your responsibility to make that headline irresistible.
In today’s post, we talked about Zapier and how you can use it to save time on your social media posts.
The process is easy:
- Sign up for Zapier.
- Connect your accounts.
- Build zaps.
- Voila! You’re done!
Creating these automations will save you a ton of time during the day.
I hope this post has been educational for you. Now go save yourself some time today!
Thanks for reading!