Social media can be really effective in generating business for you, growing your own learning network, and getting useful feedback. It doesn’t have to be frivolous.

What are your goals for using social media? Try to keep them SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound.

A typical goal might be ‘use a series of tweets to encourage people to read and comment on my blog post about a new service’. It’s certainly specific (but could be even more specific – what do we mean by ‘people’?), it’s measurable (by using Twitter’s native analytics, and your blog’s stats), it seems to be achievable, it’s realistic (you’re not trying to go viral here), but it’s not time-bound.

So let’s start by fleshing out what we mean by ‘people’. It turns out we mean people in the local area who are interested in reading groups. And we want feedback on our blog post by the end of the week, so we’ll factor that in.

That leaves us with this: “Post a series of tweets, aimed at people in the local area who are interested in reading groups, asking them for feedback on our blog post about our new reading group network by the end of the week.”

That’s a solidly-defined goal, and gives us a springboard for the actual content of the tweets we’re going to post, along with who we’re going to target. We can set up a tracking URL so that we can see how many people clicked on the link then – using Google Analytics – compare that with how many people signed up for the event using the web form.

Further reading: Digital Strategy: The Cube Method [Two Bees], How to Set Measurable Goals [Unbounce]

Next: content planning