When you claim your Google Local listing you will also receive a Google+ social media page. That is because Google Local is integrated with Google+.
This is actually a huge advantage, because it means that you can begin working to directly market your Google local page.
Start by setting up your circles.
Google+ allows you to add people to separate circles. When you make a post you designate which circles should see the information. Unless you make a post public, only that circle will see that post.
It can be a little tricky to know who to follow as a business. You want to get your name in front of local people, and you want to grow your following.
I suggest following local people, local businesses, and local organizations. You can set up a circle for each of them. You could also set up a circle to follow other personal trainers (industry peers) just to keep up with the latest news and trends in your industry, but this fourth circle won’t get you much business.
Once you’re on your dashboard you can use the drop down arrow menu marked “Search” to get to your profile. Once you’re on your profile you’ll see a search bar at the top of your page.
You’ll need to type in certain search phrases to find people. For local people you’ll just type the city and state of every area that you serve. It will bring up every public post that anyone in your area has created and you can use those posts to start adding those people to your circles. You can also find local organizations and businesses this way.
Keep a close eye on what they post. You might see some opportunities. For example, if a local PTA member is working hard to bring more health and fitness education into schools you could help out by offering to work with her to create a free event (that would incidentally introduce you to many parents who might become paying customers). Never neglect the networking side of social networking.
You should probably run this search at least once a month. New people join Google+ all the time, and you grow your following by following others, so long as you follow others in a thoughtful and intentional way.
Start posting content.
What kinds of content should you post?
First and foremost you can start sharing your blog posts to a direct and wider audience. But you don’t want to make this the sum total of all of your posting efforts, because it can get boring and tedious. Self-promotion only goes so far.
Change it up, just like you’d change up any good exercise routine.
You can also post pictures, for example. Get a photographer to work with you as you demonstrate certain exercises. That will make great photo content.
You can also post graphic memes that are meant to encourage and inspire: fitness related pictures with different quotes meant to help people get more motivated.
Other people’s stories also make great content. So if you come across a “how I did it” story about a Mom who lost 100 pounds after her third child you could post that with a comment like, “You can do this too!” If she used personal training services to get it done then the content becomes even more powerful.
You could also post articles about the obesity epidemic or anything related to weight loss that you feel is worth sharing.
Quick fitness or nutrition tips, just little text updates, are also extremely helpful.
You can even run contests or promotions. For example, you could post a picture and say, “+1 this for a chance to win 3 free personal training sessions with me!” Sure, the winner may not become a regular client, but they may give you a great referral. You just never know. Just make sure you’ve written up some official rules for your promotions and that you’ve placed those rules on your website. Link to them each time you run a promo.
And if something on your news feed catches your eye, you can feel free to share that as well. Just make sure that it relates to your business in some way.
How often should you post? That’s up to you, but posting three times a week or more is often an effective way to stay at the top of other people’s minds.
Enjoy your ranking benefits.
It’s worthwhile to use other social media networks too, but using Google+ offers a unique benefit. Your status updates are indexed and added to the search results.
Sometimes a Google+ status update achieves high rankings for particular terms before a full website does!
And, of course, people do click on these updates, which leads them to your website or your Google Local page. In short, you vastly increase the chances that someone will see you and do business with you every single time you post a relevant status update.
Not bad for a marketing method that is 100% free.