I spend a lot of time connecting with colleagues and contacts in my professional network on social networks. With smartphones and tablets, you have been provided with the opportunity to access your social media platforms at any given time and place. With mobile devices, it’s easy to keep tabs on your favorite services, you can get on your phone and respond to Facebook notifications, or you can do a quick check-up on the viewing statistics of that YouTube video you uploaded. Make the most of your idle time with mobile devices. After all, you know what they say: “Time is Money.” Social media can be seen as either a beauty or a burden… maybe even both. Will the use of social media make you more effective? There really is no certainty, only opportunity.

I’m frequently asked for tips for making the most of – and managing time on –  social networks, so here are 5 tips I have garnered from around the Web. We can all enjoy our quirks on social media while maintaining a certain level of productivity. Here are some tips on how you can manage your time more productively to make your social media experience a fruitful one. It all purely depends on how you make use of it. Do try out these 5 tips, and let me know how it increased your productivity and efficiency on social media. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with others who you think will benefit from it.

1. Plan Ahead

Instead of racking your brain to determine what content you will share on any given day, do the planning ahead of time. Knowing what needs to be written at least a month in advance can save you time in the long run. When you plan, you do not need to outline exactly what you will be writing, but having a bird’s eye view of your upcoming topics can make writing in the moment much easier.

Remember, it is better to hit the bull’s-eye of a single target as opposed to merely scraping the edges of multiple targets. Quality over quantity.

2. Schedule Posts

This may be a bit controversial, but schedule as much of your content ahead of time as possible. It can take a significant amount of time away from your day-to-day management of social media. That being said, it comes with a caveat: social media is, by its very design, social. You need to interact with your followers daily. Nothing good comes from becoming a machine that only sends pre-scheduled content. Log in regularly to re-tweet,  follow, reply, and interact. Some days you will have more to share than other days, and that is completely normal.

One of the disadvantages of using social media is how easy it is to be lured away from productivity. You should learn how to effectively plot your social media usage by scheduling specific tasks during dedicated time periods of the work day. For instance, establish a certain time frame at different points of the day for checking and responding to notifications. Allot one hour of the day for publishing your posts and another hour for commenting on existing threads. Spend a couple of hours studying your markets’ trends. These are only suggestions and you can choose to be flexible with how you manage your time, but it always proves to be fruitful when you are able to streamline and organize your tasks accordingly.

3. Keep an Eye on Trends

If breaking news occurs, you will likely need to stop or adjust your scheduled content. No one wants to read about your special Friday sale when there has been a tragic event that everyone else on social media is actively watching. On that note, keeping your posts on trend will help keep your social media accounts relevant. People will be searching for trending topics and you want your business pages to show up as part of the conversation, when appropriate. Why upload the same post on Twitter, Facebook and Google + separately when there are tools that enable you to upload to all three at the same time? Some examples of tools that you can make use of are, Hoot-suite and Tube Mogul.

4. Focus on the Least Time Consuming Social Media Outlets

Use Tools That Help You Aggregate Your Social Media Platforms. Surely, you are familiar with the adage “hitting two birds with one stone”. Oftentimes, your work may become redundant when working across multiple social media platforms. It is helpful if you make use of tools that can assist you in aggregating the content of your social media feeds to avoid overlapping data and repetitious tasks.

5. Generate Leads without Spending Hours on Research

Don’t try and be everywhere (always-on); spend the time where it brings you most value.  Here’s how to spend just 30 minutes a day on social sites. Make sure you have notifications ON for the stuff you want to see, people you really want to hear from.

Is social media is giving you more work? For instance you are trying to share stuff you find in one network with another, then try I F T T T . If This Then That lets you set up “recipes” of what to do when a trigger happens, e.g. If I send a tweet, THEN send it to Yammer.

Finally, if you don’t want to be distracted by social networks, then you can block them for a specific time. But here is how to really block time-wasting websites.