How much of your day is taken up by repetitive tasks? Chances are, more hours of your working life than you realize are devoted to tasks that you do daily or multiple times per week. You might think that internal communications would be immune from this type of drudgery because every day brings something new. The fact, however, is that your internal comms to-do list can be just as tedious as anything else.
Let’s look at one example. Maybe you receive a lot of emails and a lot of those emails include attachments. Downloading them may not seem like a big time sink, but all the time you spend clicking save, deciding where to save, and then giving the okay adds up. What if you could save all of those attachments automatically to the appropriate location? Every attachment on every email is saved without your having to do a thing. Sounds good, right?
That’s why we want to introduce you to Zapier. It is a powerful DIY automation tool that integrates with more than a thousand apps and business tools (including Blink) to save you from repetitive tasks. It can be an amazing asset in your internal communications toolkit because it not only lets you automate tasks in a single tool but also gives you the power to automate tasks that would normally require switching between tools.
Zapier works in the background to take work off your plate
Take another look at the email attachments problem. With Zapier, you can link your G Suite email account and your Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox. When an attachment appears in your inbox, it triggers Zapier, which saves the attachment. Zapier can even send you an email letting you know when and where it saved the file so you never miss a thing.
But that’s a relatively simple if-then task — so simple that you might be able to make it happen without using the third tool. So what about more complicated processes? Zapier also allows users to link multiple actions together to create robust multi-step workflows that automate entire processes.
Setting up connections (a trigger and an action that together Zapier calls a zap) may take a little time in the present, but the time you’ll gain in the future as a result will amaze you. You’ll meet more of your goals because you’ll spend more time focused on your important work instead of doing necessary busy work and switching between apps.
How to build your own internal communications workflows
Zapier has created a menu of useful prefab zaps that we’ll explore below, but one of the coolest things about this tool is that users can easily set up their own workflows without a developer. No coding whatsoever is required, and you can create processes that are unlike anything that the apps and tools you use can do on their own. You can make up to five custom zaps with Zapier’s free plan, and lots more if you subscribe to one of the higher-tier plans.
Here’s a quick explanation of how you can build new or custom zaps to create automated internal communications tasks that are unique to your needs:
Click the “Make a New Zap” button. That will take you to the Zap Editor.
Decide what event will trigger your zap. This could be something like receiving an email in Gmail or onboarding a new employee.
Choose the Trigger app and pick your trigger. You can select any of the apps you’ve already connected or use the search box to find a new one. You can pick a new trigger from the list of options.
Connect your account if you haven’t already, then save.
Edit your options. This is where you’ll specify the information required for the zap to work. This could be a Twitter search term, a folder in Dropbox, a label in Gmail, or any number of other options.
Choose an action app and the action. This could be the same as the Trigger app or a different tool. Choose how you want your action app to respond to the trigger, e.g., ‘create a calendar event’ or ‘share an email in your Blink feed’.
Connect your account. Again, you’ll be prompted to log in or connect a new account.
Customize your zap. This is when you can tell Zapier where exactly you want to pull trigger data from and what you want to do with it. Most of the time, you’ll choose this information from a list in a dropdown menu. In some cases, you can enter the information directly (like when you’re selecting an email address).
Test your zap, and if it works, name your zap, set it to On, and let Zapier do the rest.
That’s all there is to it! Obviously, creating more complex and multi-step zaps will take a bit more time (and some trial and error if you’re new to the system) but once you get the hang of how it works, you’ll become a process automation expert.
Why we love Zapier
Who doesn’t want more time to focus on vital tasks? But giving you more time in your workday to cross deliverables off of your list is only one of the ways Zapier can make your work life easier. Here are eight reasons we use Zapier at Blink headquarters:
- Zapier can save you money. You may find that you can downgrade subscriber tiers for other tools you use regularly when you create zaps that replicate higher-tier features. Or that you don’t have to upgrade tool after tool after tool, because getting Zapier is like getting an upgrade to the apps and tools you use most often.
- Zapier itself is inexpensive to try and to use. Assuming you don’t need any premium zaps, you can experiment with the features offered in the company’s free plan. Some companies find that the free tier is all they need or that the Basic plan is sufficient.
- It’s quick to implement. Custom development of a company integration system takes time — not to mention a whole lot of cash. Zapier can do as much as a one-of-a-kind system with a very small investment and a much shorter learning curve. You can get Zapier up and running across teams in just a few days.
- The possibilities are endless. With more than a thousand tools supported, there are about 50,000 tool/app pairings possible and many more ways you can utilize each of those pairs. That’s a lot of automation! We use it to streamline internal communications, to make certain clerical tasks easier, for marketing, and to stay on top of external corporate communications, too.
- You can get rid of the biggest time sucks. The average employee spends 28% of the work week dealing with email — that’s more than a quarter of their working hours! Email tasks are some of the easiest to automate with Zapier.
- You can add your company app to Zapier. The company’s Developer Platform allows you to add your proprietary tools to the platform so you can connect them to MailChimp, Slack, Asana, and more. You can even create your own prefab zaps for people in your company to use.
- You can use Zapier with unsupported software thanks to email parsing. Even if a specific software platform is not on the list of tools and apps Zapier supports, you can create zaps with the program if it produces a notification email.
- You’ll have plenty of help. The Zapier team is on the ball when it comes to tech support so if you’re having trouble with a zap, you’ll get the help you need quickly.
Check out these prefab zaps for internal communications
If your goal for the new year is upping your corporate communications game, Zapier (and Blink) can help. As noted above, you can create any number of custom zaps, but a lot of new users start by automating certain workflows with prefab zaps. Here are a few useful examples of how you can use Zapier to make Blink a better communications engine to get you started:
Post new emails to your Blink Feed
With Zapier, you can easily share emails with your team via their feeds. When you forward an email to a specific email address, Zapier will automatically post it to the Blink feed of your choice.
Share tweets with your team
You just found an amazing engagement-promoting tweet about your industry or your company and you want to share it with your team. Do you screenshot it? Fire out an email with the link? Or (and this is our preference) do you simply retweet it from your account, knowing that it will be automatically posted to your feed?
Post Google Calendar events
When someone in your organization sets up a meeting, books their vacay time, or schedules a conference, they may forget to notify you or other team members who need to know what’s up. There’s a zap that can make this a non-issue by automatically posting new events added to your company calendar to your chosen feed.
Get expensify reports automatically
If you handle expenses, you’ll know that one of the hardest parts is getting the info you need from your team. With this integration, you’ll get a post in your Blink feed notifying you of new Expensify reports as they come in. At the same time, you can also share the reports with your accounting team.
Post pagerduty incidents and resolutions
One way to improve collaboration between your support team and your other teams is to make sure they can communicate effectively. With this zap, Zapier makes sure that ongoing or new Pagerduty incidents are pushed into the appropriate Blink feeds. That way, everyone stays informed until the issue is resolved.
Don’t miss another Twilio SMS
Twilio is a great tool for businesses that want to untether from outdated telecom hardware, but sometimes communications are easy to miss. With Zapier monitoring your Twilio account, details of any new SMS messages are automatically posted to your Blink feed or the feeds of team members you choose.
Encourage event engagement
You’ve probably seen event registration snowball — if a lot of people have registered, even more, will want to sign up to see what all the fuss is about. You can have new Eventbrite event registrations post to your Blink feed to make sure everyone knows about an upcoming event and to encourage more registrations.
Make onboarding easier for everyone
There are a number of zaps that can help you get training materials into the Blink feeds of new recruits, walk them through HR tasks they need to complete, and then invite them to your welcome luncheon… among other onboarding to-dos.
Zapier turns your apps into an all-in-one solution
With the rise of hyper-specific mobile apps, it’s tough to find all-in-one business solutions that can really meet all of your needs. Chances are your employees are using a number of different digital tools on any given day, and all of that switching back and forth between apps can lead to wasted time and frustration.
So what’s the solution? Zapier plus Blink. Automating communication between tools is like turning back the clock to a time when business processes were simpler, and then pulling everything into Blink is like jumping forward into a future where everything you need to succeed is always right there at your fingertips.
Zapier’s lowest-tier plan is free to use, so you have nothing to lose. We challenge you to give it a try.
Blink is an internal communications and employee engagement app that can do all the things you wish your company intranet could do, and more. Try it out today. **Enter your email address here** to get started.