Let’s say you manage a social media calendar in Airtable. Your copy, hashtags, images—everything—it’s all right in your database. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t need to move your social assets to a totally different platform when you were ready to publish? It’s already here in Airtable... wouldn’t it be great if you could simply flip a switch and post the content?
We’ve got good news.
How to build it
You don’t have to run the social media department of a Fortune 500 to know that streamlining your social process is a smart decision. According to a study by IBM, human error contributed to 95% of cybersecurity breaches. But how much does human error contribute to mistakes on social media?
“My hunch is close to 100%,” says Alisa Valencia Gowing, head of social media at Slack. “In all my years doing social, I don’t think I’ve ever had a typo that wasn’t caused by human error.”
Automating your social media posts in Airtable won’t completely remove human error from the equation—but it can seriously reduce it.
Airtable’s social media calendar is separated into four tables—Launches, Campaigns, Content pipeline, and Team. Yours may be entirely different, so consider the exact circumstance that means “a tweet is ready to publish” at your company. In our case, someone will move a record from “Drafting” to “Ready to publish,” and Airtable will do the rest.
We’ll stick with this example for simplicity’s sake, but there are dozens of ways to customize how you publish a tweet with Airtable, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find the solution that is the best—not to mention the safest—for your team.
We’ll go ahead and walk you through it step-by-step, but rest assured it only takes five simple steps:
Step 1: Choose your base and create a new automation.
Step 2: Create your tweeting triggers.
Step 3: Choose your actions.
Step 4: Update your social media calendar status.
Step 5: Turn it on.
Create your triggers
First things first, you’re going to need a trigger. Make sure that these conditions will only be satisfied when you’re 100% ready to fire the tweet. Our conditions are:
- It is in our “Content pipeline” table.
- The “Channel” field type is “Twitter.”
- It is “Ready to publish.”
Wait, what’s a trigger?
If you’re unfamiliar, Triggers are what set the automation in motion—it’s what needs to happen to get your automation running.
Our built-in triggers are pretty expansive—they can encompass when a record in Airtable is created or updated. But they can also understand when something happens outside of Airtable—like when you’re sent a calendar invite in Outlook.
These will become the basis for our “Triggers.” Got it? Great! Now, click Automations in the upper-right-hand corner of your base, then click custom animations.
We have two actions in this case. The first is publishing the tweet when an Airtable record is moved from “Drafting” to “Ready to publish.” The second is updating the record from “Ready to publish” to “Posted.”
Next, you’ll be asked to name your automation. We’ll call ours “Send tweet.”
Click “When record matches condition.” In this case, our record will have to match our bullet points above to run an action.
• First, we’ll choose our “Content pipeline” table, as that’s where our tweets live.
• Next, we’ll add a new condition: When Channel is Twitter
• Finally, we’ll add the last condition: when Status is Ready to publish
Now every time these conditions are met, it will run an action. So… what’s the action?
Choose your actions
An action dictates what this automation to do. Again, your options are expansive. You could create another record in Airtable, send an email from your Gmail account, create a Google Calendar invite. In our case, we want to send a tweet.
Scroll down to “Post tweet” and click it. That’s our action; the following steps help us do it how we want to do it.
Click “Select Twitter account” and choose the Twitter account you’d like to send the tweet from. If you’ve never authenticated your account, you will have to do so now.
Next, click “Record (from Step 1).” This is the trigger we’ve just set up. Scroll down to “Copy” (what we’ve named our field). Then, we want to add your image.
Underneath your copy text field, you’ll find a link for “Attachments.” Press “+Add,” and again click Record (Step 1). Scroll to your images field—in our case, it’s called “Asset,” then click done.
Voila, now you have the body of your tweet and your image attachment. This is now a working trigger + action. But, there’s one more thing we think you’ll want to do—and that’s keep your Airtable base updated. Here’s how:
Update the status
As soon as you run this automation, your tweet will publish—meaning your “ready to publish” status should probably update to tell the team the tweet is now live. So, click “Add another action” and scroll down to the Airtable icon and select “Update record.” Again, in our case we want to update a record in the “Content pipeline” table, so we’ll choose that from the dropdown.
Next, we need to tell Airtable which record we need to update. So click the blue plus button under “Record ID” and, once more, select “Step 1.” Then select “Airtable record ID.” This is what tells Airtable which record should be updated.
The field we want to update is the “Status” field. Write something like “Published” or “Posted” in the text box and the status will update accordingly.
Turn it on:
Flip that little toggle in the upper right corner under “run history” to actually turn the thing on. And you’re done!
If you’d like to learn a little more about Automations, check out our newest guide, which will help you Automate Slack notifications in Airtable, or read our Automation overview to see just what’s possible with a simple trigger and an action.