Digital campaign of the week: Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK is utilising social networking site Second Life to spread information about its work to a new audience

Diabetes UK's Second Life digital tour
Diabetes UK's Second Life digital tour

Diabetes UK has created a tour of its virtual headquarters on social networking site Second Life. The charity is inviting people to take the video tour so they can see how the site works before they sign up as ‘residents' of the online virtual world. The charity has also placed advertisements in public places in the website's parallel world.

What is it?

Second Life is a virtual world whose members create characters and simulate life in the real world. Diabetes UK has set up a head office in the virtual world so that users can ask questions about diabetes and receive help and advice from the charity's care line. The site also allows users to watch videos about the charity's work and download information sheets about diabetes.

Why Second Life?
The charity wanted to reach an audience that wouldn't actively seek information out but would take an interest in its work. "It's very cost-effective to advertise on Second Life, and it has a very broad audience," says Amanda Neylon, digital media manager at the charity. Diabetes UK has been using Second Life since last year but it has created the virtual tour to entice users who are new to the site.

How was it created?
Diabetes UK worked with digital agency c-scape to create a presence on the site. It has spent between £5,000 and £10,000 on establishing itself in the virtual world.

Does it work?
The charity says its virtual office receives a steady stream of visitors, most of whom download leaflets and factsheets about the charity's work. It is also linked to Diabetes UK's other social media work: for example, a live news feed from the charity's Twitter page is streamed into the virtual office.

Third Sector's verdict
It's a strange way to communicate, but a clever strategy for targeting those who may not otherwise have heard about the charity.

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