Three simple tactics for getting measureable business results using social media.

Approximately 73% of online adults use some form of social media. Chances are your next hiring manager, client, or strategic partner are either using social media, or one of their close connections are. As professionals, we now have previously unheard of free access to decision makers. So, it’s just a matter of joining a social network and then adding people, right? WRONG!

The primary reason most professionals who attempt to use social media for business don’t actually see any real results in the form of job offers, new clients, or business opportunities is because they don’t have an actual plan in place.

Set Measurable Goals

Why are you using social media? Are you wanting to connect with hiring managers in the oil and gas industry in the state of Texas? If so, how many would you like to connect with per week? Do you have a goal of making $5000 in sales per week from social media leads? Perhaps you want to increase your websitetraffic by 50%over the next three months using social media.

It’s imperative that you know why you are in the space and what you want as a result of spending valuable time on social networks. You may have more than one goal. Record your measurable goal(s).

Who is Your Target Market?

Who exactly do you need to connect with online to help you achieve your measurable goals? Don’t only list the job titles, but include demographic information. Knowing who you need to connect with will help you select the best social network(s). While professionals can use four  social networks, it is a more efficient use of time to focus on the one to two that will yield the best results.

Now use Google to look at the demographic information on the networks you would like to use and explore the networks themselves to understand their key features. Choose the network(s) that consist of  your target market and will best help you accomplish your goals. For instance, if you’d like to sell $2000 in clothing merchandise to tweens, LinkedIn is not the best social network for you. If you’re wanting to connect with C-level executives in the manufacturing sector, Instagram would not be a logical choice.

Measure Results

Prior to using social media to build your personal brand, attract clients or acquire a new position, ensure that you have items in place to help you measure your results. Use free tools like Google Analytics to observe how much traffic you’re getting from Facebook. Ask customers how they heard about you. Ask head hunters what made them contact you. Create different coupon codes for social media and print advertisements so that you can track the customers who came from social media separately.

This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.