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Essential IFTTT recipes for every social network

How to use IFTTT to be socially awesome online and off.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Keeping up with social media -- even if you use only the big three (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) -- can be very hard. In fact, you might find yourself spending so much time liking people's statuses, tweeting your every move and Instagramming your meals that your actual social life is hurting.

And you might find yourself wondering, "How do people manage to be social both online and off (and still, you know, work and sleep and all that)?"

The trick: If This Then That , or IFTTT, a tool that connects various services together and uses triggers ("if this") to perform actions ("then that"). IFTTT lets you do things like automatically post Instagram photos to every social network you use, or automatically post Facebook status updates when the clock strikes midnight on January 1. If you use IFTTT correctly, you can easily cultivate a social-media presence that makes you look like you're at the top of your social-networking game -- without having to actually do any real work.

If you're new to IFTTT, it's easy to get started -- just head over to the IFTTT website, sign up for an account and start adding your various log-ins to the service. You'll need to enable each product you want to use IFTTT with -- for example, if you want to use IFTTT for Twitter, you'll need to sign in to Twitter and "allow" IFTTT to manipulate your account before you can start using Twitter recipes. You can then browse for recipes that you think might suit your needs, or you can try cooking up your own recipe.

Once you get the hang of it, start working those social-media channels with these recipes:

19 essential IFTTT recipes for Facebook

22 essential IFTTT recipes for Twitter

30 essential IFTTT recipes for Instagram