Gini Dietrich

10 Things to Consider As You Move to Google+

By: Gini Dietrich | July 5, 2011 | 
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Something interesting is happening with Google+. We’re all freaking out because we can’t import our Facebook and Twitter friends (you can export Facebook friends into Gmail now, if you’re patient and have a tiny bit of tech savvy).

Here we’ve spent years (in most cases) building communities on something we don’t own and guess what? Our friends and fans aren’t moving to the newest platform with us. Or they are but we don’t know it because not only do we not have their email addresses, we don’t have their Gmail addresses.

This is why it’s so important to build community on a platform that you own. Sure, you need all the social tools and the content curation and the fun apps that make your stuff look cool, but they all should drive people back to something you own.

In this case: A database.

Following are 10 things to consider as you add the newest social network to your toolbox.

  1. Who are your customers, prospects, and referral network? You have to know this. And you should be building a database of everyone’s email addresses. You can do this through blog subscriptions, newsletters, and registered content. Yes, you need to have Twitter and Facebook and (now) Google+. But you have to be driving those people back to something you own, where you can collect their data. We don’t know yet what or if Google will be providing businesses, in terms of data on its customers, so best to collect it yourself now
  2. It’s hard work and you must be willing to do it. And this doesn’t mean just on the social platforms. It means with content and building community and engaging your audiences and stroking their egos by commenting on and sharing their content.
  3. Your content had better be good. If it’s not all good, publish only that which is. If that means you only publish a blog once a week or a white paper once a quarter, so be it. If you’re charging for content, price it accordingly, but make sure it’s better than anything else in the industry. Find different ways to share your content. Things such as an Instagram feed of photos from work, a Tumblr blog of those photos, a podcast series of two minute segments that help your audiences, or videos that show how your product works in the real world.
  4. Video. I mention video above, but there had better be tons. And it all needs to be on YouTube and then embedded on your blog and your website. We do this in the sidebar of Spin Sucks and on the home page of Arment Dietrich. It’s easily shared in about, oh, three seconds. Don’t worry about making it professional or snazzy (sorry, Tony Gnau!). Buy yourself an HD camera (I have a Flip, though they’re going to be extinct soon, and it cost me $150) and start shooting stuff. Even your phone will do.
  5. Access. As a consumer, how exciting is it when the CEO answers your email or allows you to voice your concerns? Steve Jobs (though not very good at it) does this and it blows people away. Granted, we’re not all Steve Jobs, but people want access. Maybe it’s once a week or once a month. Add the element of surprise and do something simple like answer the customer service line or return emails. It will go a lot further than any PR, advertising, or marketing campaign.
  6. Virality. I’m not saying you can plan to make something viral, but you never know what is going to go so you have to do a lot. What will spread (cough, a blog post about nothing, cough) is what you least expect so don’t be afraid to put something out there that isn’t perfect. People like to know that we’re all human.
  7. It’s not about the numbers. It’s about making the web work for you 24/7. It’s about monetizing new products and services via the social platforms. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 followers, or 100,000. If only 50 of those 100 or 100,000 buy, those are the 50 you need to engage. And let’s be real. Wouldn’t you rather have 50 percent of your followers to buy than less than one percent?
  8. The A-list sucks. You’re not a star. None of us are. Read Geoff Livingston’s guest post about this on Danny Brown’s blog. Think about it. Absorb it. And then do business just like you’ve always done…by treating your customers, prospects, and advocates like human beings whose opinions matter to you.
  9. Add in some personal. No one likes to talk to the person at a cocktail reception that can only talk about work. The same goes online. I built a Tumblr blog of the recipes I create. People love this. It’s automatically shared on Twitter and I get as many, if not more, comments on that stuff as I do all the business content I post. And I tweet maybe once a day; every other day most times.
  10. Grow from the bottom up. Just like in real life, we all have to start somewhere and that means the bottom, in most cases. You want to look like you’re all about your community; your customers, your prospects, your advocates, your influencers, your stakeholders, and your employees. If you look like you’re in it only for the money or you’re only using the social tools to push your message, no one will care and no one certainly will give you any access to them, including an email address.

And, above all else, make sure one of your goals is to build your database. Don’t abuse it. Don’t spam people. Have it in cases such as moving your community to a new platform. Or for an emergency such as Twitter or Facebook dying.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Get something outside all of the above to manage your contact, maybe its gmail hotmail or something but twitter peers are often so different from FB which are probably going to be different from circles that you will need something resembling circles to make sense of it

  • PeterGault

    @faybiz Agreed – Hopefully contact & content management will be integrated within google+ … Maybe Hootsuite or one of the other profile managers will get a steroid juice-up and get it incorporated.

  • TMNinja

    I am amazed at all this Google+ talk… It seems to be on all the blogs right now.

    Just one problem… most people still cannot get in.

    Will the Google+ scarcity only drive the buzz? Or will it cause interest to fizzle out?

  • bsarich

    I just finished reading the A-list article before coming here…I agree with the points there, and you’re right…it’s all about the database!

  • RipcordLabs

    @ginidietrich Great blog! We will certainly be retweeting that! 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @RipcordLabs Oh thanks!

  • Thank you! I just want to add an extra “Amen” to #8, but your whole list is very important stuff that should never be overlooked. One fun tool that I can recommend for helping to keep your own database is Constant Contact – which can be backed up into a number of different formats every so often to be non-platform specific. Plus you get to send out e-mail to everyone once a month or so as a kind of side benefit. 🙂

  • I guess it’s pretty much like anything – be where you need to be, and be there well.

    Google Plus won’t be for some folks, much like Twitter isn’t, Facebook isn’t, YouTube isn’t, etc. If it’s useful and makes sense, go for it – if not, just as good an option. 🙂

  • I started from scratch on Twitter, so when I eventually get on Google + I will have to start from scratch there too. Oh well.

    I just want to see how all of this shakes out. I am just keeping my eyes open and seeing how this all turns out.

  • ScottHepburn

    The most important bit of info here is in the first four paragraphs: Own a database. We’ve become so addicted to social platforms — and to platform hopping (Oooh, shiny!) — that we’ve neglected one of the most valuable assets of any business: An email list.

  • <i>You’re not a star</i> My mother disagrees with you. She thinks I am amazing. But the point about the database is well said and even more important is to remember that if you don’t own it you are playing with fire.

    Facebook shut down a friend’s page for reasons that were never clearly explained and countless hours of work were lost.

  • BoHussey

    @ScottHepburn Actually have that article open on my desktop… thanks for the recommendation

  • HowieSPM

    @NancyD68 Get used to it Nancy. Because it is going to happen again and again. I think whomever can set up the right importing tool will make a lot of money.

    But also look at a new network as a fresh start. Uncluttered with waste. It is clean. You can decide who should be with you there. I bet plenty of Twitter connections you rarely engage with or see their tweets. Same for Facebook.

    I do think if the Telecoms are smart they will figure a way for us to connect with people across social networks without having to belong to each of them.

  • HowieSPM

    @TMNinja I think timing is everything. Remember Facebook was College only for quite some time. I think the real problem with Google’s strategy is it needs to be a network the average Joe and Jane can use. Starting with only the smartest techies might not be best way to go. Quora tried that and who is really active there much these days.

    If I was Google I would use a short testing period just to iron out the bugs then let her rip!

  • HowieSPM

    Don’t you make fun of my A List. I mean you are on it. So is @DannyBrown and @geoffliving just because I don’t publish it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And now everyone is going to be badgering me for the list so they can ignore everyone on it. I mean there is really just a few people. @Gumby , @Sean McGinnis@waynegretzky

  • @HowieSPM @NancyD68 The one thing I’d change about google plus? Make it more open source, more like an RSS feed. And I think something like that may be coming some day. There are a lot of players (telcoms esp) who would benefit from that!

  • Yes. Give me the fortune, keep the fame, like BlackStar says. It’s hard work building a tiny little cult, but if you’re good to them and they’re good to you, it’s worth it. Fame does Not translate into dollars, and the exchange rate is Miserably poor. Google+ has the strength of being built for the people you’re Really close to in some way. I don’t know that I’d abandon one for the other. But it can never be over-estimated that the database is king. How would Facebook and Twitter have gained virility without the scores of mobile or email notifications?

  • ginidietrich

    @PeterGault @faybiz Yes, I thought that’s what I said. But it should be an outside customer relationship management software. We still use Outlook, but we’re going to outgrow it very soon.

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM @TMNinja I think they’re going to open it up in the next few days. They’re really ironing out bugs quickly. I’m still on the fence about it, but the reason I blogged about it is because you’re essentially having to start from scratch…unless you have a database you can import.

  • ginidietrich

    @bsarich It makes me crazy that people want to have Facebook pages instead of websites or YouTube channels instead of incorporating video into a website or blog. WHY would you give everything to a platform you don’t own?

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid Totally agree with the Constant Contact recommendation. I’m a big fan!

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown And my favorite word of late? FOCUS!

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid @HowieSPM @NancyD68 And start building your list of fans, friends, and followers so when something new is launched you can import easily.

  • ginidietrich

    @ScottHepburn I hope people read this the same way you did. It IS the most important part. Even if you never email the list, at least you’ll have it to import to the next shiny new tool.

  • ginidietrich

    @TheJackB Well, I think you’re amazing, too. But two of us a star doesn’t make.

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM Oh I’ll make fun of your A list if it includes @DannyBrown and geoffliving !

  • ginidietrich

    @Tinu I’m with you…I’d rather have the fortune!

  • @ginidietrich @PeterGault you said it your way, we said it our way… outlook? that dinosaur? well are you using 365?

  • ginidietrich

    @ScottHepburn Long time no see!

  • ScottHepburn

    @ginidietrich Yeah, I pop up once in a while 😉 Trying to tweak my biz plan so I don’t keep selling limited hours. I need to scale up!

  • ginidietrich

    @faybiz @PeterGault I have no idea!

  • @ginidietrich Actually I disagree. Do you remember the old EF Hutton commercials

    http://youtu.be/SX7ZEotoFh0

    So all we need to do is create our own version of EF Hutton and we are golden. 🙂

  • steveelaine

    @ginidietrich thanks for posting Gini. Ps your name autocorrects on my Android to hobo.

  • ginidietrich

    @TheJackB HAHAHAHA! OK! Let’s do it!

  • @ginidietrich @HowieSPM @DannyBrown geoffliving When I grow up I want to be an A-lister like everyone else…

  • Evyfindstheway

    @ginidietrich Are you? That is so much work integrating contacts from different networks. Is #G+ Circle really worth network migration?

  • ginidietrich

    @ScottHepburn I know that feeling.

  • ginidietrich

    @steveelaine Hobo?! Come on! Can’t I get something creative?

  • ginidietrich

    @Evyfindstheway I can’t decide yet. I haven’t created any circles because I don’t know how I want to organize. It’s A LOT of work.

  • steveelaine

    @ginidietrich means nothing in the UK!

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  • Gini,

    You’re right; we all must own it.

    We have to exert some control.

    After all, it’s our stuff.

    The Franchise King®

  • Evyfindstheway

    @ginidietrich I also saw your comment Google + or -. I have strangers adding me to their circles as well. Did you figure that out? #G+

  • ginidietrich

    @steveelaine It means homeless person here

  • ginidietrich

    @Evyfindstheway It’s like Twitter. They can add you. You don’t have to add them back.

  • ginidietrich

    @FranchiseKing Right on!

  • Evyfindstheway

    @ginidietrich Thank you Gini. Good luck to both of us figuring Google+ out. I wonder how long it takes to reach the same amount of #FB users

  • PhilipTater

    @heidicohen Thanks for the RT, it will be interesting to follow Google+ and its emergence in an increasingly crowded space

  • ScottHepburn

    @ginidietrich Social (and now Google Plus, especially) could have a big impact on SPAM and opt-in compliance.

    Right now, my GMail account is set up to add every person I interact with via email to my Contacts. Most social networks already allow you to automatically search for existing email contacts on their network and add them.

    As networks rise and fall, come and go, the importance of “The List” becomes more and more important. The ability to export/import your contacts into the latest social site is what keeps your network intact.

    But my portable contact list lacks two key features: Opt-in permission and unsubscribe.

    What happens when I try to convert my personal contacts into a mailing list? Do I have to offer my friends the ability to “opt out” of emails? And if they opt out, will I inadvertently omit them the next time I take my social activity to a new network? How can I offer opt-in/opt-out to my list (which is required for email) while preserving my ability to connect with them on social channels?

    Maybe I’m overthinking this…anyone else wanna weigh in?

  • steveelaine

    @ginidietrich I know that! 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @RTRViews Sending the coffee IV drip to you

  • ginidietrich

    @steveelaine Oh! Ha!

  • steveelaine

    @ginidietrich you laugh funny !! 🙂

  • Jmodio

    Should I feel out of place not having used Google+ yet?

  • ginidietrich

    @Jmodio Yes! Loser!

    HAHAH! No. It’s not open yet. I keep seeing a big red YOU CAN’T INVITE FRIENDS YET, which is kind of irritating me.

  • ginidietrich

    @steveelaine That’s true. I do!

  • geoffliving

    @ginidietrich Rutrow, Shaggy!

  • SNAPBOi_TYE

    @utahREpro http://youtu.be/iiiW-oOPKj8 Check me out…good music and lemme kno what you think

  • sourcePOV

    Great feedbck, Gini, thanks. Learned some of this the hard way early, w/ NING and WTHASHTAG.

    And yet, I think many of us are very heavily invested in our Twitter networks .. without a net.

    I know it’s early, but would you say Google is simply trying to have a bigger stake in social by replicating the Facebook experience, or are they trying something fundamentally different? Circles doesn’t sound that different from FB friends .. or Twitter lists ..

  • RTRViews

    @ginidietrich Thanks Gini. Maybe I should switch to energy drinks w/ all these new things to do.

  • ginidietrich

    @sourcePOV It’s definitely a cross between Facebook and Twitter right now. I think if people begin using Sparks and Hangouts, the experience will be new and exciting. And they haven’t yet integrated their other services such as Reader, Gmail, and Places, which could give them a pretty significant edge. They keep saying it’s in beta and to be patient so only time will tell.

  • ginidietrich

    @utahREpro I grew up in Utah. My sister is in Orem!

  • ginidietrich

    @RTRViews Or water

  • asronline

    @iizLiz Thanks for the follow on Google+

  • RTRViews

    @ginidietrich You’re right, but I am getting better at that…

  • utahREpro

    @ginidietrich I love how social media makes the world smaller! =)

  • sourcePOV

    @ginidietrich @sourcePOV Ok, I’ll take a look at Sparks & Hangouts .. when I get a G+ ID, that is 🙂 Just hope this doesn’t go the way of Google Wave.

  • KevinBaird

    @iizLiz I’m still migrating from Orkut to Friendster…

  • @NancyD68 @ginidietrich @HowieSPM geoffliving Nancy, you’re already writing stuff that affects people and makes them think differently. That’s A-list right there, miss. 🙂

  • @ginidietrich HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! (knowing wink)

  • allenmireles

    Loved this post. You rock.

  • chuckienorton

    @DanPortnoy ‘move to’! Big expectations eh??

  • DanPortnoy

    @chuckienorton I’m not 100% but it’s basically saying, “Move over bacon, here’s something leaner.”

  • prophetettpdbk0
  • glenn_ferrell

    @ScottHepburn Right on, Scott. If you want to collect water from several streams you dig a reservoir – if collecting people from several social media vectors you need a database. But as Gini says – all this is a lot of work. I got tired just reading this article — and I haven’t even finished my coffee yet 🙂

  • ParkRidgeDDS

    Spectacular…concise and informative…thank you!!!

  • ginidietrich

    @utahREpro I love it, too! I have lots of Utah friends on here!

  • ginidietrich

    @dc2fla You could just say database 10 times and that would work for me!

  • Great post.

    If anyone is looking for a Flip camera alternative, try this one: http://www.amazon.com/Kodak-Pocket-Video-Camera-Black/dp/B002HOPUPC

    The Zi8 is similar to Flip but it has a mic input jack so you can get great sounding audio with a lapel or handheld mic (you can get a good one for $20-$40). I haven’t used the Zi8 yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things and there are enough YouTube demonstrations that prove the audio quality is outstanding.

  • EllenClark

    Great post. I agree you need a database of your own. As an executive recruiter (www.clarksearch.com) I have had my own database of names since 1997. I have over 50k names with almost all emails to match. I am on twitter, Facebook and since Friday Google+. I like that I can start afresh with building my circles in google+. Now I have a place for work contacts. But I won’t be putting in all my database connections. I will use googleplus just for close business acquaintances

  • ginidietrich

    @allenmireles You rock back!

  • ginidietrich

    @sourcePOV It’s beginning to grow on me, I have to admit. I’m doing a few tests with it and, so far, it’s pretty good for driving new blog traffic.

  • ginidietrich

    @ParkRidgeDDS People are going to start thinking my mom is sending you checks to be nice to me. Is she?!?

  • ginidietrich

    @fitzternet Oh great tip. Thank you!!

  • ginidietrich

    @EllenClark I wonder how your boundaries will grow with G+ as you use it? It’s interesting to hear how you already see a business application. In that sense, this is really fun!

  • ParkRidgeDDS

    @ginidietrich …Damn..we thought we had pulled one over on you…on to Plan B…*sigh*…proud member of MUTHERS (Moms United To Honor Eachothers Respective Sweeties )

  • LubinTeamRealty

    @remarkablogger do u suggest building own database as e mail database or text..or both. Many folks use text, not email

  • lauraclick

    Glad I took a quick break from my “social media vacation” to read this! Great reminder, Gini. With the advent of Google+, this is just another reminder that we have keep our own house in order in case the one we’re storing everything in burns to the ground. You’re right – this is a time consuming endeavor, but well worth it!

  • ericrumsey

    RT @TweetSmarter 10 Things you should Consider if you Move to Google+ (@SpinSucks) – http://t.co/QZ1DU9A

  • remarkablogger

    @lubinteamrealty You should always have backups of databases, especially your email list! All good services offer export features. 🙂

  • tweetsynchro

    @ParisBuFF thanks for the rt!

  • tweetsynchro

    @jflyons thanks for the rt!!!

  • Jmodio

    @ginidietrich I’m in now after some friends added me to their circles. Just another network to monitor. I cant wait to see what the business pages will look like once they’re rolled out.

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  • donnelleyhfimv9
  • KyleAkerman

    You couldn’t come up with 2 more bullet points so this could go up at 12Most?

    But seriously, this list is spot on. I totally agree about the need for video content. I just bought the Kodak version of the flip and am trying to get up to speed on editing and sharing techniques.

    And regarding #1, I still can’t believe how many small businesses I encounter that do not do a good job growing and managing their email database.

  • janesheeba

    That’s a wonderful reminder just at the time when a big tech thing is booming up. sure we need to put the right checks to our “rush” and “excitement”. Thanks.

  • 1brikshort

    Great advice for an uber-newbie like moi. Thanks!

  • VilmaBonilla

    @mayhemstudios thanks for the retweet Calvin. Hope you’re having a great weekend! 🙂

  • mayhemstudios

    @VilmaBonilla welcome, you have great weekend too 🙂

  • VilmaBonilla

    @mayhemstudios had some homemade chicken quesadillas for dinner and thought about you but was too hungry to take pics. So good! #foodporn

  • mayhemstudios

    @VilmaBonilla homemade chicken quesadillas sounds so good right now 🙂

  • McLoopy

    @RockTique do you have extra G+ invite…Pretty Please? (Anything is yours at #Starbucks from me) : )

  • Taramichener

    @wordsdonewrite @ginidietrich Sounds intriguing…gonna read it now!

  • wordsdonewrite

    @Taramichener I think you’ll find @ginidietrich’s post useful. So much to know and consider with Google+

  • Taramichener

    @wordsdonewrite @ginidietrich It was relevant wisdom in the social media world & in traditional life-good rules of thumb-thanks for sharing!

  • ginidietrich

    @wordsdonewrite I’m falling in love with G+

  • RockTique

    @McLoopy Let me know when you get an invite from me, I haven’t tried sending any yet…going to give it a shot in a minute!

  • ginidietrich

    @lauraclick Hope the wedding was lots of fun!!

  • ginidietrich

    @KyleAkerman Not you too! NOOOOOOO!!!

  • ginidietrich

    @janesheeba It’s hard to remember the basics when there is so much excitement around a new toy.

  • ginidietrich

    @1brikshort De rien.

  • wordsdonewrite

    @ginidietrich I’m still tinkering. Trying to find the sweet spot that allows me to use it differently than Twitter & FB. #SayNoToRedundancy

  • daviesjs

    @AuroraClinic @wordsdonewrite Nice article

  • mikefj40

    @markivey #11 my kids are stuck on #FB. Another legacy system to maintain…

  • markivey

    @mikefj40 right, how can such a crappy platform get a zillion subscribers (of course, AOL once ruled the roost too)

  • mikefj40

    @markivey my kid’s social graph is a boat anchor that keeps them on FB. Us boomers are more mobile 🙂

  • markivey

    @mikefj40 agree, they could learn so much from us if they only realized what they’re missing

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  • urvin

    Thanks for sharing such informative post certainly keep these things in mind for ahead.

    Just thought of sharing a webinar link on Website Conversion Best Practices for B2B Technology Firms, for details visit url pasted below and yes thanks again GINI for coming up with this post

    ,http://cms.edynamic.net/Driving-the-Conversion-Engine.aspx

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