15 Great Apps, Dashboards & Plug-ins to Increase Your Social Media Productivity

Managing social media accounts can be a full-time job, especially with an extensive Web presence spanning sites from Twitter and Facebook to WordPress and YouTube. Posting the same link or update to each site can be time consuming and inefficient. But used judiciously, a number of tools now let you engage with your community across multiple platforms with a single click — and sometimes for free.

It’s important to remember that these tools can also set you back if used incorrectly. Auto-cross-posting your daily blog updates may be a great way to drive traffic to your site and keep your followers interested. Auto-cross-posting your hourly Twitter updates to Facebook, however, may clog your supporters’ news feeds and prompt some of your supporters to banish your updates. To avoid that, have a clear idea on who your target audience is and which medium is best to reach them, then choose a service that allows custom cross-posting only on the sites that make sense.

Whether you want to link a few of your accounts to ensure constant and consistent updates or pick and choose which individual update to let fly, there is probably an app, tool or plug-in to aid you.

Post to multiple sites with plug-ins & apps

Several plug-ins and applications make it easy to cross-post from one website to another in an instant.

1Wordbooker is a WordPress plug-in that will automatically send your blog posts to your Facebook Wall or fan Page.

2Twitter for WordPress publishes your tweets in a sidebar widget of your WordPress blog.

3xPollinate is a plug-in for Windows Live Writer that allows cross-posting among multiple blogs as well as social networks via Ping.fm.

4Create a feed that will update your Facebook and Twitter accounts when you publish a new blog post via Twitterfeed.

Social media dashboards & tools to cross-post

Many stand-alone social media dashboards enable cross-posting productivity free of charge, or as part of their paid package. Threadsly, Spredfast, MediaFunnel and CoTweet are good choices — see our full roundup of social media dashboard tools. Here are some other strong candidates:

Posterous: Blog posts & updates via email

5Sites supported: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

Posterous allows you to update all of your social media sites from the comfort of your email account. Manage your accounts via your Posterous site then email content to post@posterous.com and watch it appear on all of your linked social media sites. Filter which sites get updated by emailing facebook@posterous.com or twitter+flickr@posterous.com. Meanwhile, your Posterous site serves as a collection of all of your updates, or a blog in itself. Simplicity perfected.

Ping.fm: Extend yourself

6Sites supported: Currently boasting 33 sites, including Twitter, Facebook (including Pages), Google Buzz, WordPress, Tumblr, LinkedIn, TypePad, many others.

Ping.fm is a free service accessible on your desktop and as a mobile app (eg., iPhone and iPod Touch) that lets you post from anywhere to anywhere. Popular sites are divided into categories with customizable hashtags, including status updates, micro-blogs, blogs and photo sharing.

Shareaholic: Manage your links

7Sites supported: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, LinkedIn, TypePad, Blogger, Google Buzz, etc.

Shareaholic is a sharing add-on available for Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8, Safari, Opera, Flock and Songbird. Currently the No. 1 browser tool for sharing, Shareaholic lets you share, spread and save interesting links via your social networks, email, blogs, IM and more. Avoid spamming your followers and over-sharing links by using the trending features that track the current conversation.

Alternate browser choices: Rockmelt and Flock.

hootsuite

Hootsuite: Twitter, Facebook & lots more

8Sites supported: Twitter, Facebook (including Pages), MySpace, LinkedIn, WordPress and Foursquare, to name a few.

Our current favorite, Hootsuite, organizes your social networks with avatars, letting you easily select the sites you want to post on. It’s easy to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts from a visually appealing dashboard that you can also sync with their mobile app for easy transitioning from desktop to cellphone. Hootsuite offers two versions. One is free and aggregates up to five social network and two RSS feeds; it stores stat history for 30 days and is ad supported. For $5.99 a month, your organization can enjoy unlimited capabilities for a single user, with each additional user costing $10 per month.

Platforms: Desktop, BlackBerry, Android, Chrome, iPhone, iPad.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck: Connect with your contacts

9Sites supported: Twitter, Facebook (including Pages), MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare. Networks with a compatible Twitter API, such as WordPress and Tumblr, are also supported.

Tweetdeck is a one-stop sharing shop. It’s possible to manage each individual post and choose the websites to update or schedule automated future posts via this real-time browser. Tweetdeck automatically loads all of your social networking accounts, shortens links and provides drag-and-drop media sharing, among other things. This free download has also created Deck.ly, allowing you to exceed Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Platforms: Desktop, Android, Chrome, iPhone, iPad

Multiply: Social shopping

10Sites supported: Twitter and Facebook.

Multiply provides a place for you to collect and share your thoughts, news, links, calendar, photos and more with friends and contacts both on and off the site. This social shopping network also acts as an easy-to-use, simple way to connect with your audience and share your posts with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.

FeedBlitz: Easy feeding to email & IM

11Sites supported: WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, LinkedIn, Skype and other messaging and emailing services.

Aside from the ability to auto-cross-post, FeedBlitz offers easy feeding to email and instant messaging services, making it simple to blast your newsletters or updates to all sorts of contacts. The messaging element allows you to personalize your updates by sending them directly to your followers while also posting to the social networking sites of your choice. Just remember: Sending your contacts a blog post via email is fine. A Twitter or Facebook update via email? Not so much.

Sendible: For larger campaigns

12Sites supported: Facebook (including Groups, Notes, Pages, Posts & Status), Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, LinkedIn, TypePad, Blogspot, Blogger, etc.

For larger campaigns or to link multiple users, check out the paid service Sendible. Sendible allows you to update all of your blogs and favorite social media sites without leaving your personalized dashboard. Ideal for larger campaigns managed by several people, this paid service allows for scheduled, customizable cross-posting by multiple users spanning a variety of macro- and micro-blogging websites. After a 30-day free trial, plans range from $9.99 to $99.99 a month based on the number of users, posts, social networks utilized, etc.

Cross-post on the go with these mobile apps

The following apps specialize in enabllng you to cross-post from your mobile device:

13Seesmic offers a free download for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry & Windows 7 phone, connecting you to sites like Twitter, Facebook, GoogleBuzz and more via the Ping.fm service listed above.

14Available for $1.99 in the iTunes App Store, Pingle connects your iPhone to your Web identities through your existing Ping.fm account and allows you to update your location, post photos and respond to conversations across multiple services.

15Android and Danger users can download AnyPost, a free app in the Android store that also uses Ping.fm’s capabilities to easily update and track multiple social media accounts.

Explore cross-posting for your email program

Finally, consider looking into whether the email program you use supports cross-posting to social networks. For example, NutshellMail from Constant Contact is an easy way to consolidate email, Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

Have other suggestions for cross-posting tools? Please share in the comments!

Update: Here’s another tool that you should consider: Amplify lets you cross-post your updates to several platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, Tumblr, Google Buzz, WordPress and more.



Original by Kim Bale who was recently the community outreach specialist for The Extraordinaries. Follow her on Twitter at @balekimb.

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