As if marketing your martial arts school wasn’t complicated enough in the age of social media, Google had to jump into the mix with Google+.
And if you’re like millions of other Google users, you likely signed up for it as soon as you heard about it, and then had no idea what to do with it. So, your Google+ account just sort of sits there, collecting dust like your mother-in-law’s treadmill.
The thing is, Google+ really isn’t all that complicated. However, this is a product created by Google, a company full of brainy software engineers. And quite honestly, they are not known for designing their products with the average end-user in mind…
(Google sort of expects people to just figure their products out, which is kind of dumb – but then again, they’re Google so I guess they can pretty much do what they want.)
Regardless of the relative merits of Google’s apparent intellectual snobbery, I’m about to explain a few simple ways that you can use Google+ to market your martial arts school, without a lot of work and without a lot of technical know-how. But first, let’s talk about why it’s important to use Google+.
Google+, So What?
I thought the same thing too, at first. Then, Google flexed their considerable might and made Google+ a major part of their search ranking algorithm. What that means to you and me is that getting your site included in and shared upon the Google+ network can help your site rank higher in Google, thus getting your business more exposure overall.
Look, we all know that the majority of consumers these days are checking out businesses online before they buy. Well, Google+ can put your business dead center in front of your buying audience, if you use it properly.
For starters, what you formerly knew to be your Google Business Page (and before that, your Google Maps listing) is now known as Google+ for Business (see what they did there, they added in a “+” sign so you’d know there was a connection – subtle, Google, very subtle). This is the result of a massive project by Google to create the world’s largest online business directory.
Even if you haven’t set up a Google+ profile, it’s very likely that your business has been included in this directory. And that’s reason #1 for using Google+. See, Google allows you to control what’s on your Google+ for Business listing via connecting it to your Google+ profile. Then, by logging into your Google+ account, you can manage your Google+ for Business page.
Also, there’s this thing known as the “+1” button, which I’m sure you’ve seen on various websites. +1 is Google’s answer to Facebook likes. And, since Google gets to decide what factors are most important for determining who shows up at the top of the search engine rankings, what do you want to bet that getting “+1-ed” is now a way to help boost your rankings?
Besides all that, Google+ has recently become the #2 social network in the world. That’s a huge audience you simply should not ignore. And, while the majority of us are still figuring out how to use Google+, mark my words – Google will continue to force it down internet users’ throats until nearly everyone uses it in some way, shape, or form.
So, I suggest you get on the bandwagon now and get a head start on using it to promote your business.
Four Simple Ways To Use Google+ To Promote Your Business
First, Fill Out Your Google+ Profile
Go to http://plus.google.com/, and either login or create a new account if you don’t already have one. Now, move your mouse cursor to the upper righthand corner and click on your photo (or where your photo should be) and then click on “View Profile”.
Now fill that bad boy out with as much information as allowed by Google. Be sure to add a personal photo, a cover photo, links to your websites, information about what you do and things you like… pretty much all the standard social media information.
Next, Start Adding People To Your Circles And Posting Content
Then, once you have your Google+ profile pimped out, start adding people to your circles. “Circles” are how you connect and communicate with other people on Google+. You can find my Google+ profile here, so feel free to add me to your circles first.
When you view my profile, you’ll notice that I am primarily using my Google+ profile to promote my web design firm. You’ll likely want to use it to promote your martial arts school, so make sure that the information on your profile is mostly related to your business.
Once you have added people to your circles, start posting updates to your Google+ account. Think of updates on Google+ the same way you post updates to your Facebook wall. However, it’s a good idea to stick with business topics exclusively until you get the hang of using circles to exclude certain people from your more personal posts.
Then, Connect Your Google+ for Business Listing to Your Google+ Profile
Go to http://www.google.com/+/business/ and click on “Create a Google+ Page”. It’ll walk you through the process of creating a page, and also search to see if you’re already on Google+ for Business. If so, then you’ll need to go through some steps to claim your business listing.
It’s best if you’re near your business phone (the number included on your listing) at the time you do this, since Google will robo-dial you to verify that you are the owner of the business. Once you’ve claimed your business, you should be able to start managing the content in your listing.
Just a strong word of caution here; optimizing your Google+ for Business page is equal parts art and science. If you are at all unsure of what to do with it, I suggest you get some help. I’ve optimized the listings for many school owners over the last few years, so if you need help feel free to contact me. I’m not cheap, but the results and greater exposure are worth the investment.
Finally, Add A +1 Button To Your Site
Remember, getting “+1-ed” is a good thing, so you want to encourage +1’s on your site. Adding the Google +1 button to your site will help encourage your site visitors to +1 your site, thereby recommending your content to their circles.
You can get the raw code for adding the +1 button to your site here, but if you aren’t familiar with basic HTML coding I suggest you get your web designer to do it for you.
Hopefully this article has helped you unravel the mysteries of using Google+ for promoting your business. And if you need help with marketing your martial arts school, click here.