Nearly everyone that has jumped into social media has, at one point or another, realized it can be extremely time-consuming. That's the nature of the beast. But it doesn't have to be. You just need a plan.

Here are what I consider the Top 10 Habits of those that use social marketing efficiently and effectively:

1. Participate. Obviously. But really, update your status. Add some photos so friends feel like they get to know you a little better. Mix personal with professional, comment, share, etc.

2. Find and USE tools that save you time. and HelloTxt are both tools that let you broadcast your status updates to most of the different social networking sites you may be a part of. And even sites that used to be strictly Twitter clients, like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, now give you the ability to update multiple sites. Forget logging into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. every time you want to update your status.

3. Have a set time limit for your social marketing efforts. It's much too easy to look up and realize you've spent two hours catching up and chatting with friends, and haven't gotten anything else done (guilty!).

4. Connect with people across several sites. This lets you establish a presence on the web. Heck, they'll see you everywhere! And when they do, you'll stand out in their minds just that little bit more. They'll automatically feel they know you better. And they just might come to think of you as the expert, when they see you interacting and sharing valuable information with others.

5. Find an experienced social media/internet marketing virtual assistant. Now, this may sound like shameless self-promotion, but hear me out...It's much easier for us to go in and take care of a lot of the little tasks that take up time, without getting distracted. We know how to make the most of your social marketing efforts, and can make suggestions for improvements. So think about it, okay?

6. If you're into submitting news stories to boost your social news site profile, find a news story that is popular on one site and consider submitting it to another site that it would do well on. This works well on niche sites, that do not have quite the same level of activity as the larger, general news sites.

7. Find the sites that are working best for you, and concentrate on those. Just because I'm encouraging you to be social doesn't mean you need to be active daily on every single site that exists. Focus on the most important ones (the ones where your clients/readers/JV partners/etc. are), and drop by the others as you get time.

8. Take advantage of tools like RSS Readers. My preference happens to be Netvibes. Instead of browsing from one blog, to another, to another, you can focus on headlines, and finding the stories that are important to you. You can then click through to comment, submit, stumble, etc. Use tabs in your RSS reader to separate out different subjects. Then you can focus on one subject at a time, and not get distracted.

9. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. Want more people to comment on your blog posts? Go out and actively comment on others (see #8 above to avoid distraction!). Want more Stumbles, Diggs, social bookmarking submissions? Regularly submit quality content of others to these sites.

10. Last, but certainly not least, know why you're there. Maybe this should even be #1? What is your intention for the site? Are you looking for more newsletter signups? Do you want more exposure for your teleseminars? More clients? Make sure you know why you're doing it before spending any time. Then set your profiles up to focus on that. Have your updates geared towards that. The more diluted your message, the fewer results you will see.

There you have it. What I think are the Top 10 Habits of Super Effective Social Marketers!

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Zwar is a Marketing Tech Coach, and owner of, a coaching & virtual assistance company. She and her team help entrepreneurs create web-savvy marketing plans, and have the tech-smarts to support them through blog design and maintenance, social media, ecommerce, search engine optimization and more. They help you connect the "what to do?" with "how to do it?"and finally grow your business online using all the tools you hear about, but don't quite understand. Marketing Geeks Inc. provides virtual assistance support, training, and DIY marketing packages for every level of entrepreneur.