In his book “Social Nation,” Barry Libert shows just how important emotional and social connections are to attracting and keeping customers and growing a more profitable, viable business. The book provides a toolbox for creating a successful social strategy as well as an assessment that helps you relate your skills and talents in today’s networked world. Here are five rules from that toolbox.

Rule 1: Develop your social skills. Leaders in this new social nation are expected to follow as much as they lead, collaborating with their colleagues while still providing structure and support.

Rule 2: Mind your online and offline manners. How you say something is as important as what you say and can help make the difference in gaining fans, friends and followers. And, remember, technology connects people in faster and more transparent ways than ever.

Rule 3: Listen, learn, adapt. Social intelligence enables you to benefit from all that is happening around you, so you can adapt what you do and how you do it to better meet the needs of your customers and market demands. It’s a good thing to understand what your customers need and want and how they interact with your products and services.

Rule 4: Rely on others for growth and innovation. Friends, fans and followers are instrumental in achieving growth in today’s connected world. Instead of the old method of relying on focus groups that meet behind two-way mirrors, it’s time to engage customers in a two-way conversation to innovate new products and services that matter.

Rule 5: Reward others and you will be rewarded, too. As organizations focus more and more on connections and relationships, customers want to be rewarded emotionally as well as financially. Successful businesses have to meet both needs.

Barry Libert is an author, keynote speaker, and chairman and CEO of Mzinga, a provider of social software, services and analytics that improve business performance.