Sasy Scarborough posted an article highlighting some of her frustrations with the new profile system on her blog last week. I confess to finding the new profiles harder to use when I want to contact someone since there is no button to IM right there in front of my face. It also made me want to tear my hair out trying to edit my picks, but I think I have conquered the beast and am ready to share my suggestions with you. After all, your profile is free marketing, if you make it work for you.
First, things first. Go to my.secondlife.com and see what your profile says about you. Does it make it easy for people to know who you are and what you do? Does it promote your business and answer your customers’ questions? Does it tell people how to get in contact with you? Does the feed have recent info about your business? If it doesn’t, you are not making the most of it.
Here you can see that my profile feed has pictures for my most recent blog post. I wish I could say I do that every time, but I don’t. However, if I had a store, I would take a snapshot of my vendor as soon as I placed it in the store, so it was on my feed. Remember, this is visible in world and on the web – marketing your new releases to both audiences. This snap is the web interface, though the in-world interface is very similar.
So let’s walk through the profile and see what you can do to improve your profile and make the most out of it as a marketing tool.
Your profile is not on separate tabs anymore, so you want to use it effectively. I use the Biography and the Real World Biography to provide links to my blogging and social networking. My Real World Photo is the blog banner for It’s Only Fashion. You can click on the edit button in-world to make changes or you can do it through your browser interface anytime. I think it’s easier to do it outside of Second Life with the exception of picks and groups which must be managed in-world.
Your picks should highlight your business. I use numbers to make sure that the blog is first in my picks. You should make sure your store is first. Frankly, if I had a store, I would use the additional picks to show vendor ads of the most recent releases and links to current events that I participate in and would not include other stores.
In the group window, you can deselect Show Group in Profile. I don’t show most of my groups because then I don’t get asked why I belong to one and not another. This also keeps people from asking why I get to blog this event and they didn’t and so on. Of course, I can also elect in settings to limit who can see my groups. I could let no one see them, but if I had a store group, I would want people to see it and be able to go to it from my profile, so it makes more sense to simply limit what groups show. Frankly, some of the more esoteric groups may turn customers off. Why share those interests with the world at large?
What you don’t want to do is just add groups and not consider how they look to your customer. This person has a store group, but it’s hidden after the More button. Don’t ask people to hunt for your groups. They just won’t do it.
So, let’s take a look at some of the settings on your profile. Click the button at the bottom of the menu in-world or on the my.secondlife.com interface. You get three tab. About, Privacy and Notifications. I want to focus on privacy.
If you are not interested in paying close attention to your feed and checking it daily to see what comments and questions have come your way, you might want to deny people the ability to post on your feed. See in the picture above, I could be saying anything and have the ability to simply add it.
If you want to spend time monitoring your feed and responding to feedback publicly, go ahead and leave it as the default, allowing folks to post. However, if you are someone who thinks to check it once a month or less, you should turn off the ability to post so people who want to communicate with you must use IM or notecard. Of course, this makes your feed less interactive and perhaps fewer people will follow you, but if you’re not going to invest the time to keep your feed up to date and respond, it’s risky to leave it vulnerable to comments and complaints that you will not address promptly.
But what if you want to use the feed. At the moment, the only way to add pictures if from within Second Life using the snapshot. So, if you want to add a vendor picture, you will have to take a picture of it inworld. It’s free, though, to snap and upload it to my.secondlife.com – so so it. It also includes the Slurl unless you uncheck the box, but you would not do that, would you?
Using http:// or www. in the text will make it a hyperlink, so you can link directly to your blog, store blog or marketplace from the feed.
So now the profile can promote up-to-date info with the newest blog posts, newest vendor pics for stores and have that information both in-world and on the web at my.secondlife.com.