Social media blogger Rich Brooks says a lot of social media advice “is framed as ‘universal truths’ that every business must follow. But even the most good-intended advice is often off the mark when it comes to your business.” Check out some of these “rules” you should question as you use social media for your own business.

Claim 1: Social media has changed everything. Brooks says, “Yes, we’ve got shiny new tools, and consumers can give more public, vocal feedback on your products and services. However, leads still need to be generated, sales need to be closed, and invoices need to be sent. Furthermore, networking didn’t start with LinkedIn. Before there was social networking, there was real-world networking. And it came with drinks and hors d’oeuvres.”

Claim 2: You can’t sell in social media. Brooks says even with how powerful and inexpensive advertising can be online and on social media sites, it doesn’t mean you should go out and spam everyone you can. Actually, it can even get you banned from these sites. The trick is to put the right message in front of the right person in the right social medium.

Claim 3: You need to have a lot of followers. Brooks says, “In defense of this particular piece of advice, the bigger your network, the more people you can reach. All things being equal, that’s a good thing. If you ask a question expect more answers if you have more followers. There’s also the matter of ‘social proof’: we often ‘trust’ someone with a lot of followers or who gets a lot of comments on his blog or video.

“But social media is not an arms race. It’s better to have 100 followers with whom you regularly engage than 10,000 who never pay attention to you. Likewise, if you’re following tens of thousands of people, how many can you truly engage with? The rule of diminishing returns is at work here.”

Rich Brooks is president of Flyte New Media, a web design and Internet marketing company helping small businesses succeed with SEO, blogging, e-mail marketing, social media and websites that sell.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day!

More tips: