Constantine von Hoffman has depicted a crystal clear picture in this article.
I have been a great fan of Second Life, and still continue to be. I believe that it has a great value for people and companies.
Constantine makes some important statements in his article:
“marketers continue to rush to the virtual world of Second Life despite the increasing evidence they don’t really know what to do when they get there” and “companies are approaching the site like a traditional marketing channel”
Second Life is a different (marketing) channel that may improve your visibility, and, possibly, bring some money in your company. To be successful you need to know how the system works, what are the communication channels that people is using there, you need to know how to approach it and how to make your virtual presence live in the Second Life ecosystem.
That basically bring us to the next statement in the article: “[Second Lifers] expect more creativity, more inspiration, and not vertical influence the old and traditional way of the 60-second spot”
That’s absolutely true. “If you are not authentic, and do not offer anything to the community, you are likely to be ignored“.
Lot of lessons to be learned here.
Your company may have a legitimate willing to have a presence in Second Life. You have to be careful and you definitely need to have a plan. Just let some of your (marketing) employee live in Second Life for a couple of month. Let them understand how it works, what people are doing, what are the possibility and what are all the interactions between different Second Life community.
Build a marketing plan for Second Life, following the Second Life rules.
The first thing I noticed about some companies in Second Life is that their presence is most of the time a simple building with some branding on it. If you fly around a bit you will see that there are a lot of buildings in Second Life, but how many of them do look like real life buildings? In Second Life you can build pretty much anything and you are not tied to the laws of physics. You can build a floating building, a spaceship, a zen garden if you want. Just do it.
Second thing. In Second Life people like to aggregate and talk, maybe dance and have fun. Let them do that in your place. If you want traffic that’s the way.
Be creative. Let the Second Lifers enjoy your place with something different. You can script every single object and you can create funny games and virtual scenarios.
Make your presence a live presence. Be sure that someone is always present in your place to help visitors, maybe simply talking to them.
Be careful on what you can really do in Second Life. Second Life has limitations and every single long time user know them very well. If you want to be successful, get informed and understand the limitations. One simple example: you may want to organize events in Second Life. you may do that, and you may be successful. Keep in mind that on a single island it will be difficult to host more than 100 avatars (much less depending on complexity). That’s a known limitation that you need to be aware of. Be sure to distribute your event in different places to be sure to be able to host a big number of avatars.
Talk with people who understand Second Life and who is aware of all the limitations and may help you finding the right solutions to your problems.
The knowledge is already in the system. Just find it out and make your company presence an enjoyable experience for your visitors and a profitable business for your company.
Why do I blog this? Just wanted to share some thought on this subject.