There are train tracks a few miles from my house. On most days I forget they are there, as they’re far enough away that I don’t see them daily, and rarely get stuck at a crossing. I do, however, occasionally hear the horn. When the conditions are just right I will hear the blast of the horn come through the trees, over the hills and across the tops of the houses into my office as I’m working in the early mornings. Rarely do I hear it when the fog is in, or even when there is cloud cover, but on the few clear mornings, the sound of that horn bounces through the atmosphere and reminds me of the tracks three miles away.

Success in social business is much like that train horn: conditions need to be right in order to be heard. Luckily, we can control some of those conditions more easily than we can change the weather. In order to get your voice through the filters and noise of the social internet there are a few things you can do to tip the conditions to your favour, much like the clear skies helping the train horn carry miles across the valley:

  • Get the lay of the land; learn the valleys and peaks. Watch and see how everyone interacts to determine the etiquette in the space.
  • Start small by just adding people you know to your networks.
  • Don’t be a tourist for too long. Watch and listen, but begin sharing things you find interesting.
  • Begin curating your networks to include people who share things relevant to your interests or business.
  • Continue sharing things you find and start adding in your own expertise and ideas.
  • Engage in conversation with your network to build deeper relationships.
  • Continue curating your networks by adding your target audience. By this point you should have an established presence that will help show value to anyone who may look to follow you.
  • Be active, slightly provocative, and consistent in your voice.

Now, when you sound your horn, the message will fly further than you may have ever expected. You’ve taken the right steps to tweak the conditions to your favour and build the atmosphere to support not only visibility of your message, but hopefully others sharing it as well with their own curated networks to amplify far beyond the rail crossing of you and your immediate followers.