If there’s one downside to social media, it would have to be the lightning fast pace at which everything operates. The landscape of content on Facebook, Twitter, etc. changes rapidly, and certain posts can even go viral overnight. With all that considered, it can be hard to make the most out of social media without a few tools to aid you.
There’s more to social media than simply following huge feeds of endless updates. Social media profiles can be a great way to obtain first impressions of new acquaintances. Social media can also be useful for marketing and exposure. These endeavors once took up a lot of time and effort, but the following browser plugins will ease that burden off of your shoulders.
The result? A convenient way to navigate and implement social media that requires nothing more than an email account for integration.
Rapportive [Firefox, Chrome, Safari]
We’ve covered the features of Rapportive before, but this plugin is so effective at what it does that it deserves to be mentioned again. In a nutshell, Rapportive helps you to know as much as you can know about your email contacts by pulling data from their social media accounts.
What kind of data is shown? First, you’ll see their profile picture — a wonderful feature because putting a face to a name can work wonders for a relationship, both business and personal. You’ll also see locational data, which can be helpful in cases where a meetup might be desired, as well as professional details like their current job and LinkedIn profile.
But perhaps most useful is that Rapportive will embed the various social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) right next to your email inbox so you can keep up with their latest online activities.
Rapportive supports Gmail, including the OS X Gmail client Mailplane.
PowerInbox [Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE]
PowerInbox is a plugin that embeds your inbox with interactive social media features. You might be wondering whether you really need interactive features in your email — emails are inherently static, aren’t they? — but these features can be used in several ways to bump up the productivity and security of your inbox.
For example, PowerInbox will automatically validate emails that come from trusted social networks by displaying the network’s icon — useful when you receive a lot of notification emails and want to avoid being scammed by “lookalike” emails.
But in terms of interactivity, PowerInbox goes further. Ever wanted to view social media feeds, comment on Facebook photos, post tweets and updates, or accept friend requests from right inside your inbox? With this plugin, you can do just that.
PowerInbox supports Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo! Mail.
Xobni [Firefox, Chrome, Safari]
Xobni — that’s “inbox” backwards if you didn’t catch it — is a plugin that aims to “make your inbox smarter.” A somewhat vague declaration to be sure, but the plugin does have some pretty cool features that do indeed beef up your inbox. Not all of its goodness comes in a way that’s related to social media, but it does do social media integration.
The most obvious example is the way in which Xobni displays various social media profiles for your email contacts. Admittedly, it isn’t all that different from Rapportive and PowerInbox. In fact, it’s arguably less advanced than both of them, but Xobni is a good choice for anyone who wants this feature but doesn’t like either of those plugins.
Xobni’s other features mostly involve user interface tweaks aimed at improving your inbox workflow.
Xobni supports Gmail.
WiseStamp [Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE]
WiseStamp offers one social-media-in-your-inbox feature that none of the three plugins above have: dynamically embedding social media data into your email signatures. There are web-based services out there that do the same thing, such as BrandMyMail, but WiseStamp is more convenient since it’s a plugin. No third-party sites necessary.
In other words, if you want your emails to generate inbound traffic to your social media accounts, spicing up your email signature with WiseStamp is one of the best ways to do so.
WiseStamp has a free account option that allows you to promote your latest posts on Twitter, Google+, Etsy, Ebay, Pinterest, etc. as well sharing your various social media profiles and customizing your email signature.
WiseStamp supports Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo! Mail, AOL, and others.