Like I said before, social networking is about building community. Think about the kinds of people and businesses you gravitate toward in your own personal social networking experience. Whose tweets do you follow? What pages are you a fan of in Facebook?

So what are they doing to engage you? Most likely they’re using social networking as a platform to develop relationships with their customers and potential clients, NOT necessarily to sell their product. It’s a common misstep people make when they dive into Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn — over-promotion — which leads us to social networking etiquette tip number two:

Don’t just promote yourself — Your tweets can just be links to your website, sales page or shopping cart. You have to provide value and engage people online just as you would if you were building a business relationship in person. If someone comes in and all they want to do is promote, promote, promote, that approach is likely to go nowhere. You have to look at social networking as a platform where you can answer questions, provide quality customer service and valuable information, and as a place where you can listen to your target market’s concerns. You have your website and/or storefront to sell things; your social networking should be about building community, not sales.