Above all other forms of marketing, surely social media is the most distracting. One minute you’re logging on to upload a post and the next thing you know, it’s four hours later and you’ve watched three TED talks and become intimately acquainted with what Princess Catherine wore to her latest charity event*.

Here are five tools to help you implement your social marketing strategy without sacrificing your productivity:

Editorial calendar: Building an editorial calendar is a great way to map out what content you plan to share over the next 12 months. By preparing what channels, messages and keywords you’ll use each day, week and month, there’ll be less opportunity to stray from your business objectives.

Scheduling: Book in time to complete your social marketing time each day, just as you would any other appointment. Once you’ve completed what you need to achieve, log off completely instead of keeping streams open all day. If you need to post, tweet or pin during this time, simply schedule these posts in advance.

Push notifications: If response time isn’t critical, turn off all push notifications and alerts, so you’re not tempted to log in while you’re working on a deadline. If your customers use social channels to ask questions or provide feedback, keep the notifications to one medium only (e.g. email) and scan these every two to three hours. You can then decide which messages to respond to immediately and which can wait until your next scheduled social marketing session.

Save it: Use an RSS reader or bookmark articles to read when you have time, rather than opening links and following the tempting trail of stories at ad hoc times during the day. Also make a note of any contacts or companies you want to connect with, to make sure that you are thoughtfully connecting with like-minded brands rather than frantically following everyone that you come in contact with throughout the day.

It’s not personal: This is a tough one, especially if you’re connected with friends on any of your social channels. Your businesses social marketing is in place to engage your audience and boost your brand, not as an excuse to look though your friend’s birthday photos or Martha Stewart recipes on Pinterest. Keep your personal social activity to lunchtime or after work hours.

Do you schedule your social marketing, or is it a day-long blur of activity? Do you have any tools or strategies you’d like to share? 

*You can insert your own personal distraction monsters here.

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