By: Austin Gainey
Before I get into the details of Power Automate’s capabilities, it is my genuine hope that you and your family/friends are healthy and safe as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. A huge thank you and appreciation to essential workers and those that are on the medical frontline day in and day out.
Microsoft Power Automate, once previously branded as “Microsoft Flow”, is a cloud-based workflow and automation tool that integrates with a multitude of applications to automate repetitive tasks. One interesting and surprisingly simple way I utilize Power Automate is through its connections to major social media platforms
Power Automate can connect and interact with the following social media providers:
When I saw the amount of integration Power Automate had with these platforms, my mind immediately thought, How can I utilize this to make tasks easier for me? One way that immediately came to mind was sharing content when Key2 Consulting releases a new blog post. If you haven’t checked out our other awesome content, you can here.
Normally, the process of sharing a newly posted blog article to my personal LinkedIn profile would be this:
- Copy blog post link from Key2 Consulting site
- Login to LinkedIn
- Create a new post
- Fill in details about the post and finally hit share
Obviously not a difficult task by any means, but if Power Automate can do what it claims, I should be able to get the same task down to just one step.
How to Use Power Automate to Post to Social Media with One Click
Let’s dive into how you can use Power Automate to post to social media with one click.
Here is a high level of things I want to accomplish:
- Have PA monitor when a new blog article is posted on the Key2 Consulting site.
- Send me a notification – preferably via email – that a new post is available.
- Click a button or link in the email to post to LinkedIn.
- Watch as my connections list grows to a few million overnight (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration)
Let’s see if Power Automate can accomplish my game plan!
First, navigate to your office 365 site. If you are unfamiliar with how to do so, your site can be accessed using your own credentials here.
Once you have logged in, you will see a variety of apps available.
Select Power Automate.
There are a few ways to create new flows but for this scenario, the easiest I’ve found is to select Connectors.
A new screen will display a wide range of possible application connectors to choose from. I could write several other blog posts just on the types of connections available. For now, let’s stay on course with our plan.
We need Power Automate to recognize when a new blog post is posted on the Key2 Consulting site. When I saw the RSS connector, a lightbulb went off, and low and behold the RSS connector contains a trigger (an event to get the flow started) called “When a feed item is published”.
Select that as your starting item.
In the flow window, the RSS connector will display a field to input the URL of an RSS feed. Easy enough right? Input the feed URL and hit New Step.
Now that we have a trigger starting the flow, I want to see if we can accomplish #2 on our automation plan (send me an email that there is a new blog post). In the search bar, type Send Email and one of the selections that comes up is Send Email With Options. Bingo!
Not only can PA send me an email, I can customize the email message with dynamic content as well, including a User Options field. In the User Option field, I am supplying two different choices separated by a comma with no extra spaces in between. The other fields are pretty self-explanatory and can be customized with whatever you want the email to say. Let’s take a closer look at the Body field.
The beauty of PA, in my opinion, is its ability to understand and maintain the context of data that you originally started with. We can take advantage of this context by adding dynamic content to the body of the email.
If you notice below, PA automatically supplies options that fit the context of what you are doing once you add dynamic content. In this case, it shows the items I can include related to the RSS connector we created at the beginning.
I want to build out the body of my email to include some particulars about the new blog post. Using the dynamic content feature, I included:
Title: Name of the new blog post
What’s it About: A summary of the blog post
Link to Post: A link to the page the blog post resides on
Awesome! We are cooking with gas in terms of satisfying our initial requirements. We’ve got the RSS feed connector and an email that will give the recipient options. Now we need it to do something based on the selected user option. Select New Step.
Since we have two options to select from in our email, we need to add a condition control to our flow.
Once again, PA gives us the ability to add dynamic content. Low and behold they have a SelectedOption user response, which is exactly what we are looking for.
I want to build out the condition using the SelectedOption and make it equal to Share It! This is the user option we defined in the email portion of the flow. It is super important to make sure you don’t include any extra spaces in this field as well as the exact characters (case sensitivity not an issue) or the flow won’t recognize the response.
When the user selects Share It!, that will activate the If Yes route of our condition. This is getting us ready to add the LinkedIn portion of the flow.
In the search bar, type “LinkedIn” and select Share an Article.
As you can see, this action gives you the ability to create and share a post on your LinkedIn profile. We can also use the dynamic content to format the post how we want, all the while retaining the context of the RSS connection at the beginning of our flow.
At this point, the only thing left to do is hit SAVE on your flow, as I made the mistake a few times of not hitting save and had to re-do some of the work.
**Note that at this stage the LinkedIn connector will ask you to provide your LinkedIn login information.
After you hit save, the workflow is now active. Now, every time a new blog post is uploaded to the Key2 Consulting site, an email is sent to my inbox with the below formatting.
As you can see, all the dynamic content we wanted in the email is visible. The best part is once I click the Share It! button that’s it! That’s all I have to do to share the blog post on LinkedIn.
Check it out! My post is now live for consumption! The best part is now that this is set up, I don’t have to worry about editing the flow. It will just work.
This is just a small fraction of the types of tasks you can accomplish with Power Automate. I would definitely encourage you to play around with the functionality of PA and think of ways you can apply automation to your business tasks. Also, be on the lookout for more PA content from Key2 Consulting in the future!
Thanks for reading. We hope you found this blog post to be useful. Do let us know if you have any questions or topic ideas related to BI, analytics, the cloud, machine learning, SQL Server, Star Wars, or anything else of the like that you’d like us to write about. Simply leave us a comment below, and we’ll see what we can do!
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The SelectedOptions doesn’t appear to exist anymore. Is there an alternative option to select?
Never mind. I noticed a “For every item” step was added before the Condition. I recreated the flow again and I now see “SelectedOption”