Han Solo had Chewbacca. Batman had Robin. The Lone Ranger had Tonto.

Han Solo had Chewbacca. Batman had Robin. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Every amazing hero always has a sidekick to watch their back, help them get things done and smooth things over in the journey. The social media world is no different. There are the dominant social networks we all use like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Then, lurking somewhere deep in the pixelated shadows are a group of other less known apps, programs and networks who don’t get as much of the glory. Getting to the know the social sidekicks is the difference between just using social media and being a pro. Using them as companions to the big social networks will make a huge difference in your output, and the quality of the work you produce. These lesser known names are what you can use to make the most of power features, get less done with more and push your brand and presence up a level. They aren’t the names you see in the digital spotlight, but the heroes wouldn’t be able to do without their trusty sidekick right by there side. Bit. ly/Whichever way you choose to use Twitter, sharing links is likely a huge part of that. Bit. ly offers so many great features and shortcuts, that we can’t imagine using Twitter without it. Sure, Bit. ly makes your links smaller so you can have more characters to Tweet but it’s the analytics and tracking features that really make Bit. ly useful. It’s possible to find out how many people viewed a link you shared, and tailor your content to your audience depending on what’s popular. You can see the geographic location of who’s clicking, along with the referring site and the Twitter client they’ve used to open the link. It’s especially useful to check out how many people view your links on mobile devices, so you can see if it’s worth making more mobile friendly content. All the click data can be parsed and viewed in nice looking graphs broken down by date range, clicks or by link. For the smart Twitter user, all this information is gold. With some careful analysis, you can always serve up exactly what your Twitter followers want to read. EvernoteIf you are a blogger or content creator, Evernote should be your constant companion, sitting up in your browsers toolbar. A huge part of being a writer is reading, and Evernote makes sure you get the most value out of all the reading you do. Whenever you come across an article, blog or site that you find interesting, you just click the Evernote button, and it will be stored for later. It’s the way that Evernote allows you to tag and organize what you find that makes it such an unbelievable companion. After using it for a while, you’ll develop a set of personal tags and categories for subjects that interest you. You can also shoot photos of something you see out in your daily life, and drop it into Evernote to use in a post or to remind you of an experience later on. The next time you’re ready to write about that topic, just fire up Evernote, and you’ll have a huge list for inspiration. The fact that this app is available for all mobile devices, in the cloud and syncs across multiple platforms means that wherever you’re writing, you’ll have access to your reference material. No blogger or writer should be working without Evernote. SkitchAt many points throughout your social media day, you probably interact with images. You may need to add a photo to a blog post, see something interesting you want to view later or share an image in one place or another. Skitch to the rescue! Skitch is the ultimate image sidekick app. It can grab screenshots, and whole screens as well. You can open just about any image file, re-size it, annotate it, add arrows, text and effects to it. Skitch will let you instantly upload the file, and provide a link to share it, all with a click. Anything you might need to do with an image in the social media realm, Skitch can handle. It also handles it in the most simple, efficient way possible. ClipsDo you ever find yourself bringing a quote, a link, or bit of information from one social network to another? You see an interesting quote on Twitter that you want to share with your Faceook friends, and then upload a link you find on Google + to your blog. Grabbing, sharing and moving information is a huge part of what social media is all about. It can be a pain. Unless you’re using Clips. Clips lets you grab, cut, paste and hang on to a multitude of snippets in your clipboard all at once. You pop it open, and it displays what you have in a nice, easy to see visual grid. Then you grab what you want, and put it where you want to share it. It’s a really simple idea, but a supremely useful one. You can tackle things alone, but any hero will tell you that a sidekick makes it all work better. These are a few of our indispensable social media sidekicks, when we’re out in the digital world playing hero. What sidekicks do you have on your desktop that you can’t live without? Let us know. We always want to expand our posse.

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