Six Ways Second Life Can Help Market Your Brand
Learn how Second Life can creatively support your marketing campaigns.
Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.
The dust has settled on the virtual world hype storm, but does that mean marketing in the virtual world Second Life is over?
I'm a big fan of Second Life. My avatar -- Cybergrrl Oh -- has worked as a Second Life reporter and even hosted a Web-based Second Life television show called REAL BIZ in SL where I got to interview representatives from organizations including IBM, Dell, Cisco, and yes, even Playboy about their Second Life initiatives.
But how do you sift through the media hype and the backlash that inevitably happens with any new technology to figure out what Second Life can realistically do for your business and brand
Inside Second Life
Like any marketing effort, you need to first identify your business goals and the audience you're trying to reach. You may be surprised to know that the average Second Life resident is around 33 years old, and though the demographics in SL do skew a bit more male, women are very strongly represented inworld – the term that refers to the world inside Second Life.
The goals that are best supported in Second Life include:
- Building brand awareness,
- Building customer loyalty,
- Tapping into social media in more creative ways,
- Directing traffic to your website or blog, and
- Enhancing your traditional and Internet marketing efforts in an immersive, three-dimensional way.
Like many marketing or public relations efforts, Second Life doesn't always directly increase sales, but it can bolster all of your other marketing efforts to produce some measurable results. But make sure you keep your expectations grounded and realistic.
Second Life Marketing Tools
There are many useful and effective marketing tools within Second Life itself that can help you reach out to residents and even target the right audience. Some tools you can use in your SL initiatives include:
1. Groups - You can form an affinity group for your company, organization, or brand to build a fan base. You can send notices to group members to announce inworld events. You can also join specific groups where you're allowed to announce events or try networking with other group owners to promote those events to their groups.
2. Real Estate - You can rent or buy virtual land and create the perfect venue to showcase your brand on that land. I recommend starting out by borrowing or renting land with a facility until you know you're ready to make a longer-term commitment within Second Life.
3. Second Life Calendar - At SecondLife.com you can add your upcoming SL events that are open to the general public. This calendar is Web-based so can reach outside of Second Life itself.
4. Personal Invitations - No matter how many events I hold in Second Life and how much overall marketing I do inworld and on the Web, I still find the most powerful driver of people to my events is a personal, individual invitation to each one of my Second Life friends. You can actually build an invitation that friends can download and open – referred to as “rez” in SL. You can even include freebies in the invitation, such as t-shirts or fun branded objects. But that being said, I find a simple IM on the day of an event goes a long way.
There are many other interesting ways to market in Second Life that require real world participation inworld, strengthening your SL networks, and working cooperatively with other residents. Just jumping into Second Life after spending a lot of money on an agency that guarantees you big results isn't wise. Take time to become familiar with SL, cultivate a following, and provide real value to residents in order to make your mark successfully.
Second Life on the Web
My favorite part of Second Life marketing is actually the additional exposure you get on the Web because of your inworld efforts. Second Lifers are avid users of all kinds of social media tools and if they like what you're doing, they will blog about you or post notices about the things you're doing inworld in a variety of outlets. Some of the social media sites where Second Lifers are active include:
Facebook - There are a multitude of Second Life-related groups with active participants, Facebook pages with Second Life residents as fans, and Facebook events being used every day. I have actually added two Second Life-specific friend categories to my own personal Facebook account: Second Life Women and Second Life Men.
Blogs - Second Lifers are some of the most prolific bloggers and because they tend to follow one another's blogs, they have a tight blogging community.
Plurk - Second Lifers seem to really love Plurk, a microblog competitor to Twitter but you'll still find a lot of Second Lifers tweeting away and using an image of their SL avatar as their Twitter icon.
MySpace - While Facebook seems to be the preferred general social network for Second Lifers, there is still a strong SL avatar presence on MySpace.
LinkedIn - Believe it or not, many Second Lifers have created LinkedIn accounts for their avatars. And yes, I have one as well for Cybergrrl Oh with over 250 connections to other people's avatars, each with their own virtual world resume. I've also started several LinkedIn groups related to Second Life and belong to several more.
I've barely scratched the surface of the layers of Second Life participation in the social mediasphere and haven't even mentioned the Second Life-specific social networks and Web tools. We'll leave that for another show.
Bottom Line: Once you cut through the hype and the naysayers, you'll find that Second Life can provide effective social media marketing tools in a three-dimensional world.
That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279.
The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com.
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Second Life - http://www.secondlife.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com
MySpace - http://www.myspace.com
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com
Plurk - http://www.plurk.com
Cybergrrl Oh Blog - http://cybergrrloh.blogspot.com
Cybergrrl Oh on LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/in/cybergrrloh
Cybergrrl Oh on MySpace - http://www.myspace.com/cybergrrloh
Second Life image courtesy of Google Images