When you have your goals in mind the next thing you need to do is listen. Monitor what is being said about you, monitor what is being said about your area of interest, read about some of the tools you are considering, and see what other people in your niche are doing.
Listening directs you to where you can accomplish your goals. It teaches you about the success of others and the failures/tribulations that you can learn from. By taking the time to monitor and track conversations/interests you will be set up to target your audience, know where you need to set up outposts, know where you need to participate, and gives you some ideas to what tools you should begin to look into.
My favorite part about listening is that it tells you what your potential connections want, what they are interested in, and what they are knowledgeable about. It helps determine the type of content you should consider generating and what value you can add to the community. If you listen intently with an open mind you can craft what you need to include in your social media strategy, what is getting covered well elsewhere, and how you can set yourself apart from the marketplace.
Now that you know what your niche wants, where the conversations are happening, and what networks the conversations are taking place on you can apply this knowledge to your goals.