Social media is all the rage right now. Facebook, myspace, etc., are part of the American landscape. Some people use it for business. Some use it for family. Some use it for fun. You really need to know why you’re there so that you can handle it appropriately.
If you’re there for fun or family only, you’ll probably want to limit the number of clients or customers you befriend.
If you’re there mostly for business, you might want to limit the number (or type) of friends and family members you befriend.
I actually use facebook for both. I don’t really conduct business there. That’s actually against company policy. What I do, however, is let my customers know that I’m on facebook. If a customer sends a friend request I accept it. I consider it a way for them to get to know me. It’s also another way for them to contact me if they need anything.
If you’re connected with customers through social media, you need to make sure that your online persona matches your business persona. They shouldn’t be shocked by what they see in your posts. If your customers are fairly conservative, those pictures of you partying with the band might not go over well. Be careful of posting strong political or religious messages. I’m very open about my Christian beliefs, but I don’t discuss doctrine online. I also don’t discuss politics online. It’s just too easy to be misunderstood or inadvertently hurtful.
I’m not suggesting that you not be yourself. I’m just suggesting that you think about what you want to project and why you’re on those social sites before you accept invitations to connect online.