One of the topics people ask me frequently about is social media; specifically, they ask me for how to make the best use of their time. Anyone who has dived into social media knows that it is not "free" — it takes time and a thoughtful effort to make it worth your while.

If you are like me, and seem to be "always connected" — whether it’s Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. — it’s a great reminder that you need to be smart with your time. If you’re not careful, social media can be a time-suck!

So how can you be smarter with your time?

One of the topics people ask me frequently about is social media; specifically, they ask me for how to make the best use of their time. Anyone who has dived into social media knows that it is not "free" — it takes time and a thoughtful effort to make it worth your while.

If you are like me, and seem to be "always connected" — whether it’s Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. — it’s a great reminder that you need to be smart with your time. If you’re not careful, social media can be a time-suck!

So how can you be smarter with your time?

Plan social media into your schedule for one hour a day: 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes late in the day.

The key here is multitask, move fast and don’t get distracted.

If I were a real estate agent, this is how I would do it:

In the morning: First thing after or before you check your e-mail.

1. Turn on your computer. Open seven windows: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your Web site, your blog, your favorite news Web site (i.e., Inman News), and your favorite "drip marketing" social media site (my fave is Hootsuite). Move fast and don’t get distracted.

2. Facebook: Scroll through the page and make three comments on other people’s posts. Post what you are up to that day. Respond to anyone who has commented on you or left you a message. Move fast and don’t get distracted.

3. Twitter. Click your "@" button (i.e., @katielance). Anyone who has mentioned you — thank them publicly. Respond to DMs (direct messages). Scroll through your home page and re-tweet three things of interest. Move fast and don’t get distracted. …CONTINUED

4. LinkedIn: Post your status update and have it feed to Twitter. (Check the "Twitter" box to do so — so easy!) Respond to any messages in your inbox. Check your groups. Not in a group? Join a group and comment on one discussion a day. Move fast and don’t get distracted.

5. Close these three windows: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep Hootsuite.com open along with your Web site, blog and your favorite news site. Pick six to eight links to share that day on Twitter. One can be a listing. The rest must be good content or newsworthy. Pick three links to share for Facebook. Twitter moves faster than Facebook, which is why you need to post more often.

Plug your posts and links into Hootsuite. Space them one to two hours apart. If something is a hot topic you can schedule it to go out more than once. Move fast and don’t get distracted.

In the afternoon hours: Repeat!

Next day: Repeat!

Do this five to six days a week. If you follow this schedule it will become a habit. Also, don’t underestimate the power of commenting and interacting — this is probably more important than posting your own content and links. Social media is just that: social!

BONUS TIP: Plan into your schedule an additional two to three hours a week if you are a blogger. Also plan one time a week to search for new friends, fans and followers.

Looking for more info? Stay tuned. I have something exciting in the works that will be revealed in a few weeks.

I would love to hear how you formulate a schedule for social media — what works and doesn’t work for you. Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

Click here to view the original blog post.

Katie Lance is the marketing manager for Inman News. Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.

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