100% Free Social Media Post Scheduling Growth Hack

UPDATE: Yahoo pipes is shutting down soon, so this system will no longer work after August 2015. I’m trying to find an alternative system that is as easy and ideally as free, and I will post another article when I figure it out.

There are some great services out there that help you manage social media posting, but I’m going to show you how you can build your own for free. This system is for posting text content only, but could be used to post images and other content as well with some modification.

You’ll need: A Google Account, a Yahoo Account, (for Yahoo Pipes), and IFTTT account, A Buffer account and a Twitter account (or another social service.)

This is a long and complicated walk-through, but the result is free batch post scheduling. Let’s make it happen.

PART A: Setting up a Content Data Source in Google Sheets

  1. Create a google spreadsheet
  2. LABEL CELLS FOR FEED: In cell A1, write “title”, in cell B1, write “pubDate”, in Cell C1, write “Next Day” and in Cell D1, write “link”. This sets up your sheet to be easily recognized by Yahoo Pipes.
    Label Cells For Feed
  3. INSERT STARTING DATA: In cell B2, write the date and time that you want your feed to start publishing on. To see make sure this system works for you, change this date to today’s date. For this example, we’re going to use “4/7/2015 0:00:00”
  4. FORMAT DATES FOR FEED: Again, in cell B2, go into Format -> Number -> More formats -> Custom number format.
    Select Custom Number Format
  5. APPLY CUSTOM NUMBER FORMAT TO DATES: paste this text exactly as is, with quotes
    ddd”, “Dd” “mmm” “yyyy hh:mm:ss “+0000”
    Apply Custom Number Format
  6. ADD YOUR CONTENT: I decided to make a twitter account called “Confirmed_Facts” that has random “Facts” from other fact sites. I took about 30 minutes compiling a list of 1,700 posts. I added them all to the google sheet. FYI, I haven’t confirmed any of these facts; I’m guilty of being a marketer.
    Add Content
  7. SET NUMBER OF POSTS PER DAY TO TRIGGER BY FUNCTION: In the “Next Day” Column, we’re going to put six 0’s in rows 2 through 7, and in row 8 we’re going to put a 1. This sets us up to write a function in the date column that changes the date after every 6 posts. If you think this is too high frequency, please change it to suit your needs.
    Next Day 0 and 1
  8. APPLY TRIGGER TO CONTENT Select from C2 to C8, copy those cells, select from C2 to the bottom of the sheet (hold shift and CTRL then press Down until you reach the bottom) and paste.
  9. WRITE FUNCTION TO CHANGE DATES: In cell B3, write this formula: =B2+C3
  10. APPLY DATE CHANGE FUNCTION: Copy the formula from B3, and paste it next to every piece of content you have. (shortcut: first copy the formula. Then click on a cell in column A, and then while holding CTRL, press down. That should take you to the bottom of your list. Press the right key to go back to column B. holding shift and control while in that cell, press the up arrow. Using this selection, which includes the original formula you just wrote, paste the formula.
    Scheduling Formula
  11. ADD LINKS: Because of the way IFTTT validates RSS, we have to assign links to every item. Open up http://files.ianonavy.com/urls.txt copy the entire list, and paste the results in the “link” column for every row. Delete the ones on rows for posts that you don’t have.
    Add link
  12. GET LINK TO SHEET: Your content schedule is now set up, and you’re ready to make it usable by the next part of the system. Your second to last step here is to press the share button, and to get a sharable link
    Enable View By Link - get link
  13. PREP LINK TO RENDER AS CSV: The last step is to take the URL, which looks something like https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UWPQTNWeKzAxXrEPyHNjGJ2cjCn2EeRBq-UacFrr8u4/edit?usp=sharing and replace the “/edit?usp=sharing” with “/export?gid=0&format=csv” so that it looks like https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UWPQTNWeKzAxXrEPyHNjGJ2cjCn2EeRBq-UacFrr8u4/export?gid=0&format=csv

Note: if you visit that link, it should download a CSV file. That means its working.

PART B: Building a Yahoo Pipe to Cycle Through It, Creating an RSS feed

I’ve already set up a Twitter account called “Confirmed_Facts” which is going to receive this content.

  1. Open up http://pipes.yahoo.com, and rename the current pipe to something useful. For this example, we’re mirroring the Twitter account I have already set up: “Confirmed_Facts”
    Rename Pipe
  2. In the “Sources” area, Drag out a “Fetch CSV”, and in the first text area, enter the URL you created at the end of the last section. In this example, it was https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UWPQTNWeKzAxXrEPyHNjGJ2cjCn2EeRBq-UacFrr8u4/export?gid=0&format=csv
    Fetch CSV
  3. In the “Operators” area, drag out a “Filter” and connect it to the “Fetch CSV”
    Add Filter
  4. Set the filter to “Permit” items that match “all” the following, and add another rule.
    Set Filter
  5. From the “Date” area, drag out a date builder, set it to “0 hours’ and attach it to the first rule.
    Date Builder 1
  6. From the “Date” area, drag out another date builder, set it to “-24 hours’ and attach it to the second rule.
    Date Builder 2
  7. In the filter, set both rules to “item.pubDate”. For rule 1, select “is before” and for rule 2, select “is after”. This is what will allow Yahoo Pipes to cycle through the spreadsheet you’ve set up. It only allows content set for Today to pass through.
    Finish Filter
  8. Connect the filter to output. You’re Pipe is done. Save the pipe!
    Save Pipe
  9. Click “Run Pipe” on top, and Get the pipe’s RSS URL by right clicking on the “Get as RSS” link on the page that appears. Give it a few seconds to load. In this example, the feed URL is https://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=526c88353e1c03e300ce4d702ce2efbb&_render=rss
    Get RSS

PART C: Ensure buffer is ready to be plugged in

  1. Connect buffer to the account you’re using. I’ve created buffer account connected to twitter.com/Confirmed_Facts
  2. Make sure buffer is scheduled to handle at least as many posts as you’re doing per day
    Buffer Schedule
  3. Get rid of link shortening (I like to do this)
    Remove URL Shortening

PART D: Use IFTTT to use the Yahoo Pipe RSS Feed to push posts to Buffer

  1. Get into IFTTT and make sure it’s connected to Buffer.
    Activate Buffer
  2. Go to My Recipe’s and Create a recipe (or in the URL Bar, visit https://ifttt.com/create)
  3. Click “This”, type in “rss”, and select “Feed”
    Create RSS Trigger
  4. Select “New Feed Item”
    New Feed Item
  5. Enter the RSS Url you created when you finished up with Yahoo Pipes (Part B, #9)
    Set RSS Trigger
  6. Click “That”, type in “Buffer” and select “Buffer”
    Create Buffer Action
  7. Select “Add to Buffer”
    Add to Buffer
  8. Click on the text entry box, and remove “{{EntryUrl}}” so that only “{{EntryTitle}}” remains. Click Create action
    Set Buffer Action
  9. Label the recipe with something you’ll find useful. I chose to label mine: “Google Sheets -> Yahoo Pipes -> Feed Item -> Buffer”
    Create Recipe
  10. Recipe added! Your buffer should fill automatically when the recipe runs, and every day it will cycle through that day’s content.
    Recipe Complete

The result?

Here’s this hack in action: http://www.Twitter.com/Confirmed_Facts. I activated this IFTTT recipe at 5:45 PM on April 07, 2015. It should kick on before 7:45 PM on April 07, 2015.

Warning: none of these facts have been confirmed.

2 thoughts on “100% Free Social Media Post Scheduling Growth Hack

  1. Who can write more clearly than you about such things! I assure you, nobody, I’ve seen something like this only on https://cpeap.org/. I enjoyed the guide and suppose you have more such stuff?
    If so, so please post it because it’s somewhat unusual for me at
    the current moment, and not only for me, that is
    my view. Hopefully, I can get an in-depth guide of yours and be aware of all the news and the latest data.

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