Attending networking events and speaking engagements I meet a lot of people with whom I exchange my business card. An interesting situation occurred this week that brought something to my attention. Is receiving a business card the same as getting someone’s permission to be added to your mailing list….? Probably not.

A colleague was gracious enough to inform me that someone with whom I’ve never done business or even met was disgruntled with my company. She had mistakenly thought I had met her at a previous event and added her email to our company’s mailing list without her permission.

In this day of social media, this probably occurs more than we consider. Here are a few Rules of Netiquette that you should adhere to before adding that new business contact into your email database.

1. Don’t put someone on the spot when you receive their business card by telling them you’ll be adding them to your newsletter list. You still need to develop a relationship and build trust. They will appreciate the gesture. Remember, social media marketing is about building and nurturing relationships.

2. Do get their permission before sending a sales email or newsletter. It’s clear that not everyone that hands you their business card is interested in receiving your email.

3. Don’t post your sales offer or business opportunities directly on someone’s Facebook wall. In turn, don’t allow businesses that you don’t personally endorse post on your Facebook. You need to protect your friends on Facebook. With someone else’s product prominently placed on your wall, it creates a false endorsement and is a netiquette no-no.

4. Do make sure you have an opportunity for someone to unsubscribe from your mailing list.

5. Don’t send an unsolicited tweet to someone you don’t know with an affiliate link to purchase your product or service.

6. Do send a personal message along with a Connection request on Linkedin or a Friends request on Facebook. Personalization goes a long way.

7. Do remember, SPAM is a four-letter word, so keep it out of your vocabulary both online and offline.

If someone truly shows an interest in your business, then by all means do let him or her know you have a newsletter in case they want more information. Give them the professional courtesy of deciding if they want more details on your products or services.