This week's Wall Street Journal Report discusses using twitter to land investors in your small business. Emily Glazer writes in "Finding New Investors, In 140 Characters or Less" about how New Orleans' own Naked Pizza's use of Twitter led to more than 8,000 investment inquiries. They also note a pretty effective conversion rate of nearly 25% of those inquiries turning into some kind of investment.
The owners of the company don't design their social media messages to speak directly to potential investors, but rather, they aim to start "a conversation in which like minds will engage", which ends up being investors at times. In the post-Katrina era of New Orleans, Naked Pizza took their frustrations at being unable to expand and began to use social media to address those concerns. But as Josh Bernoff of Forrestor Research Inc. noted to Ms. Glazer, trying to get investors through social media is "sort of like putting up a poster on a telephone pole: 'Invest in my company' ... You might reach a lot of people, but you don't know who they are to begin with."
In my work with small businesses, it has always been the most creative companies and individuals that are able to leverage emerging technology to grow their business. I do not claim to have that same level of creativity, and am often envious of those clients who do something that makes me smack my forehead and ask myself why I didn't think of that first.
So while it may be that "social media" is the current trendy wave to market a new business, I'm sure there is something else out there right now that someone is doing that will make us all smack our foreheads in a few years and ask why we didn't think of it first.