Today is the day for the Social Networking conference hosted by NLab. First speaker of the day is Steve Clayton: "Social Networking for Small Businesses - Lessons from Microsoft?"
How to establish trust between big business and local consumers?
How do consumers find info? Show of hands - who uses the yellow pages? no one. People use google (and microsoft live search) and blogs.
There's a really big difference between a blog and a website for businesses.
Microsoft put a video out for a game Gears of War and instantly it turned into a hugely viral marketing tool. The audience mashed it up and turned the video into a social device, a tool for communication (see here and video mashups here)
Hilarious microsoft ipod video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4313772690011721857
The best bit about the web, finding something unique to say and start conversations with people on the long tail.
To get high on google: either pay to appear high on the right hand side or have lots of people linking to you to appear high on the left-hand side.
Stats: *70% of small businesses have a website *2 out of 10 small business websites do not have company contact details or product/service info *info isn't updated
Think of small businesses that blog and then do well - English Cut, Savile Row - 4 years ago there wasn't much demand for a £3000 suit but bumped into Hugh MaCloud who suggested he set up a blog. Rather than try to sell suits the plan was to talk about tailoring, how to buy cloth, how to cut cloth etc... now sells suits to royalty and has more business than he can manage...all because of a blog which engages conversation.
Microsoft now has 4500 bloggers.
Through constant engagement, linking to others, facilitating conversation Steve moved up in the google listing.
The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
Small is the New Big by Seth Godin - means you have something unique, you can be agile. The web and blogs in particular give you the platform to do that in an incredibly powerful way.
Twitter - the new pub, a place where all your friends are. Need to build up the trust quotient. If the buzzword bingo is a bit tricky, a jungle of new-fangled terms and ideas, Steve suggests common craft for ideas explained in "plain English."