The Internet for Pole Studios
UPA Pole-ebrities Workshop Coordinator, Ben Cameron Hunt, talks about the benefits of utilizing google products to enhance your studio business!
By now, I’m betting every poler out there has used at least one Google service in their pole life in some way; whether it was simply using Google Maps to find an address, YouTube to watch a video, or Google Search to figure out what a pole move is called. Google (and the rest of the Internet) can do so much more for our pole lives, and most of it is free.
How to list your business on Google Maps
Out of all of the free online map systems, and even comparing some of the portable GPS/Map units (such as Garmin & TomTom), Google Maps has the most POIs (Points of Interest, such as business names), the most roads (many map systems are updated only once annually, and many of the new/tiny roads are missed more than one year in a row), the most accurate (tied with Nokia’s NavTeq, which powers damn near every other map system), and has many features that the others do not (admittedly, most of which are just neat, not necessarily useful).
|Google Map with saved places or Points of Interest (POI)|
Google Maps allows signed-in Google users to Star locations (whether it’s a business listing, an address, or coordinates). Starred locations are then more likely to show in a search that possibly pertains to them, and they show on your Google Map at every zoom level, for easier eye-balling of location and distance. Even without Starring a location, you can add any address or business listing to a Saved Places list within Google Maps. You can then share any of your Saved Places lists with whomever you want (individuals or everyone), using this feature, you can make itineraries and share them with others; possibly useful for planning tours.
|Google Map with a business listing.|
For studios, Google Maps allows your business to get put on the map as a POI, for free. Simply go to http://Places.Google.com and get started, using either an existing Google account (any e-mail address used to login to any Google service, including YouTube), or create one specifically for use for your studio. After filling out the information (which can be updated later, if changes are needed), you will be mailed (via real life) a postcard with a pin number on it. Once that arrives, you enter the pin number on the Place.Google.com website and your POI is confirmed. It will let you know what else you can do with it from there, including uploading up to 10 pics & 1 video, giving a short description of your studio, having people submit reviews, and advertising (not free, but a glorious budget system in place, just like Facebook’s).
How to use Google Calendar
Google Calendar can be used by a studio as an alternative and/or addition to the proven Clients.MindBodyOnline.com website that many fitness businesses use to manage their schedules and attendance. Both systems can be embedded on websites, and both are limited in customizing their appearance (even when embedded); the major advantage to Google Calendar is it is FREE.
|Google Calendar web agenda view|
|Google Calendar monthly view|
|Google Calenard alternate agenda view|
Regardless if you choose to embed your Calendar, anyone can view the Calendar online (if you choose to allow this), and if they are logged in to any of their Google accounts, they can add your Calendar to their real-time subscription list, allowing them to stay up-to-date with any additions/changes to the calendar. You can set view/edit permissions (based on e-mail addresses) for the calendars and their entries, independently.
YouTube is not just for uploading and sharing videos. You can customize the look and layout of your Channel, and every video can have its own permissions (Private means you have to give the YouTube login e-mails of anyone you want to be able to watch it; Unlisted means it is completely hidden from the Internet with the exception of Playlists, but you can Share its specific URL with people; Public means it shows up in searches and Playlists, at which point the Title of the video is super-important for the sake of accurate searches, please do not simply leave the Title as the original filename of the uploaded video… put some key words in the video Title, and keep it simple). As long as the video doesn’t have copyrighted audio in it, you can even monetize it using AdSense (a Google service that allows you to make TINY bits of money when people view your Google content, depending on how they interact with the ads on it). As a habit, in the Description of every video that I upload & share, I put the name of the location, a link to its website (or Facebook page), and links to other pertinent entities involved. This helps with searches and also to generate traffic to the appropriate websites.
|Youtube channel layout|
Blogger & BlogSpot.com
This is Google’s blog service. It is quite easy to use on a computer, but quite limited when using on a mobile device. It, too, can utilize AdSense to help generate TINY bits of money. Because you can use hyperlinks in your blog entries, it can function as another website for pushing traffic to your main website. I encourage everyone to login and play around with it to see if it can be useful to their pole needs.
Everyone and their imaginary dead dog uses Facebook (except Russia, they use http://VK.com ). Most of Facebook is free, or at least it was; by the time you read this, another feature has probably been changed to free-but-you-should-pay-to-get-better-results. Still, it’s a huge advantage to exposure/reach for your pole studio or simply your popularity/fame in the pole world. If used optimally, Facebook can make your pole world experience VERY well organized.
If you are using it to simply network with other polers, I strongly suggest creating either a separate People page just for your poling (as I did), and/or thoroughly go through your security/privacy settings to make sure that your non-poling male friends can’t use your profile to help them stalk female polers. I originally kept my poling profile wide open, so that people could do their own version of a background check on me before Messaging or Friend-Requesting me (I’m a guy, in the pole world, I completely understand the confusion and hesitation to take me seriously, so I try to make it simpler to remove that skepticism); but then it became obvious that some of my Facebook Friends were being stalked by male Facebook users who Subscribed to my page. Hell, even in the last few months, I have received Friend Requests from Facebook profiles that, at first glance, appear to be girls; but thanks to my paranoia, after further inspection of the bits of their Profiles they did NOT make private, they appear to be imaginary or dubious people. Not many people from Arabic-speaking countries seem to be in the legitimate Facebook poler circles, and especially when their name is masculine, I am so very pretentious about adding them, and likely Block them instead. The same goes for who I Approve for my Facebook groups. I’m not trying to make everyone as paranoid as me, but do put thought into your security/privacy on Facebook, and conisder using nicknames or less specific names, like how Pantera Blacksmith and Jenyne Butterfly make it damn near impossible for their pole world to cross over into their real world uninvited.
You can additionally and/or alternatively create a Fan page (Athlete/Entertainer/et cetera). This Fan page can definitely help with the security/privacy, and is more ideal for networking with people that you don’t necessarily plan on following, but rather just want to network and tag whenever apt.
You can create a Location page for your studio, which will allow people to use it as a location for Check-ins and pics/videos. It can also be used to help promote classes and workshops. It also allows it to be “tagged” as the location on Event pages, which will show a Bing mini-map at the bottom of the Description with the address and everything. DO IT!
Event pages… LOVE them! Regardless of what your thoughts are pertaining to actual attendance based on Facebook Event “attendance”, just by having a well-worded Event page created, using the minimum amount of words whilst still covering every possible pertinent question, an event such as a pole workshop can be known to everyone that could possibly be able to make it. This does not guarantee filling each workshop, but it does help guarantee that everyone who could have made it, did. This is a science, mostly economic. Creating an Event page at least one month prior can help ensure that those who would want to attend can afford it, and can schedule off of work. Having a method for potential attendees to prepay helps keep them dedicated to your event, even if something more interesting (to them) comes up. Also, by looking at your own Facebook Events calendar (and especially at my Pole-ebrities’ Workshops Google Calendar), you can avoid scheduling an event chronologically adjacent to a nearby event, helping to prevent your potential attendees from having to choose between your event and anything else. Anyway, in closing, use Event pages as often as possible; but PLEASE put thought into how you word them, especially the title. If your event is a pole workshop, then PLEASE name it like such:Pantera Blacksmith workshops @ Brass OvariesThis allows someone typing the name of the pole-ebrity to also see that there are Events starting with their name; and anywhere you see the Event title, you always see the date & time just below it (so please don’t put the date or time in the title, and please mention the studio name). I’ve seen so many Event pages titled like:”workshops” or “pole workshop” or “workshops in NYC” or “Pantera”
Upon (or after) creating the Event page, when it asks for Location, please do find, as a tag, your studio’s Facebook Place page. If you do so, and said Place page was filled correctly, it will show an interactive mini-map just below the Description complete with address. Recently, Facebook add the feature to add Buy Tickets to Event pages… use this if you have a link to purchase tickets online.
QR codes (Quick Reference) are two-dimensional bar-codes that smartphones and some other scanners can read. Most smartphones need an app that reads them, and those apps are free. Instead of being just numbers like the old bar-codes, it can hold letters and other characters to help quickly share complicated website URLs or even a whole paragraph of information. I have three on my business cards, and one large one in the studio’s front window (so that people can scan it from their car to see our website, which has our schedule on it) Use these as much as possible.
Please do message me for anything else Internet-related. I want to help reduce the costs of ALL things in the pole world. Ben@unitedpoleartists.com