Gini Dietrich

10 Things to Consider As You Move to Google+

By: Gini Dietrich | July 5, 2011 | 

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.

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123 responses to “10 Things to Consider As You Move to Google+”

  1. faybiz says:

    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

  2. PeterGault says:

    @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.

  3. TMNinja says:

    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?

  4. bsarich says:

    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!

  5. RipcordLabs says:

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

  6. ginidietrich says:

    @RipcordLabs Oh thanks!

  7. wabbitoid says:

    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. 🙂

  8. DannyBrown says:

    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. 🙂

  9. NancyD68 says:

    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.

  10. ScottHepburn says:

    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.

  11. TheJackB says:

    <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.

  12. BoHussey says:

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

  13. HowieSPM says:

    @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.

  14. HowieSPM says:

    @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!

  15. HowieSPM says:

    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

  16. wabbitoid says:

    @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!

  17. Tinu says:

    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?

  18. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  19. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  20. ginidietrich says:

    @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?

  21. ginidietrich says:

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

  22. ginidietrich says:

    @DannyBrown And my favorite word of late? FOCUS!

  23. ginidietrich says:

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

  24. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  25. ginidietrich says:

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

  26. ginidietrich says:

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

  27. ginidietrich says:

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

  28. faybiz says:

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

  29. ginidietrich says:

    @ScottHepburn Long time no see!

  30. ScottHepburn says:

    @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!

  31. ginidietrich says:

    @faybiz @PeterGault I have no idea!

  32. TheJackB says:

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

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

  33. steveelaine says:

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

  34. ginidietrich says:

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

  35. NancyD68 says:

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

  36. Evyfindstheway says:

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

  37. ginidietrich says:

    @ScottHepburn I know that feeling.

  38. ginidietrich says:

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

  39. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  40. steveelaine says:

    @ginidietrich means nothing in the UK!

  41. […] 10 Things to Consider As You Move to Google + — Gini Dietrich.  Gini’s advice in this post is, in my humble opinion, spot on. Garbage in breeds garbage out, and Gini offers cautions as to how you as a user should consider your own approach to Google + […]

  42. Gini,

    You’re right; we all must own it.

    We have to exert some control.

    After all, it’s our stuff.

    The Franchise King®

  43. Evyfindstheway says:

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

  44. ginidietrich says:

    @steveelaine It means homeless person here

  45. ginidietrich says:

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

  46. ginidietrich says:

    @FranchiseKing Right on!

  47. Evyfindstheway says:

    @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

  48. PhilipTater says:

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

  49. ScottHepburn says:

    @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?

  50. steveelaine says:

    @ginidietrich I know that! 😉

  51. ginidietrich says:

    @RTRViews Sending the coffee IV drip to you

  52. ginidietrich says:

    @steveelaine Oh! Ha!

  53. steveelaine says:

    @ginidietrich you laugh funny !! 🙂

  54. Jmodio says:

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

  55. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  56. ginidietrich says:

    @steveelaine That’s true. I do!

  57. geoffliving says:

    @ginidietrich Rutrow, Shaggy!

  58. SNAPBOi_TYE says:

    @utahREpro Check me out…good music and lemme kno what you think

  59. sourcePOV says:

    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 ..

  60. RTRViews says:

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

  61. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  62. ginidietrich says:

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

  63. ginidietrich says:

    @RTRViews Or water

  64. asronline says:

    @iizLiz Thanks for the follow on Google+

  65. RTRViews says:

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

  66. utahREpro says:

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

  67. sourcePOV says:

    @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.

  68. KevinBaird says:

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

  69. DannyBrown says:

    @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. 🙂

  70. DannyBrown says:

    @ginidietrich HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! (knowing wink)

  71. allenmireles says:

    Loved this post. You rock.

  72. chuckienorton says:

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

  73. DanPortnoy says:

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

  74. prophetettpdbk0 says:


  75. glenn_ferrell says:

    @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 🙂

  76. ParkRidgeDDS says:

    Spectacular…concise and informative…thank you!!!

  77. ginidietrich says:

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

  78. ginidietrich says:

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

  79. fitzternet says:

    Great post.

    If anyone is looking for a Flip camera alternative, try this one:

    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.

  80. EllenClark says:

    Great post. I agree you need a database of your own. As an executive recruiter ( 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

  81. ginidietrich says:

    @allenmireles You rock back!

  82. ginidietrich says:

    @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.

  83. ginidietrich says:

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

  84. ginidietrich says:

    @fitzternet Oh great tip. Thank you!!

  85. ginidietrich says:

    @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!

  86. ParkRidgeDDS says:

    @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 )

  87. LubinTeamRealty says:

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

  88. lauraclick says:

    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!

  89. ericrumsey says:

    RT @TweetSmarter 10 Things you should Consider if you Move to Google+ (@SpinSucks) –

  90. remarkablogger says:

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

  91. tweetsynchro says:

    @ParisBuFF thanks for the rt!

  92. tweetsynchro says:

    @jflyons thanks for the rt!!!

  93. Jmodio says:

    @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.

  94. […] Is there a way (as Gini Deitrich says) to “make us more efficient with technology” and replace both email and IM?  […]

  95. donnelleyhfimv9 says:


  96. KyleAkerman says:

    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.

  97. janesheeba says:

    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.

  98. 1brikshort says:

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

  99. VilmaBonilla says:

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

  100. mayhemstudios says:

    @VilmaBonilla welcome, you have great weekend too 🙂

  101. VilmaBonilla says:

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

  102. mayhemstudios says:

    @VilmaBonilla homemade chicken quesadillas sounds so good right now 🙂

  103. McLoopy says:

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

  104. Taramichener says:

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

  105. wordsdonewrite says:

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

  106. Taramichener says:

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

  107. ginidietrich says:

    @wordsdonewrite I’m falling in love with G+

  108. RockTique says:

    @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!

  109. ginidietrich says:

    @lauraclick Hope the wedding was lots of fun!!

  110. ginidietrich says:

    @KyleAkerman Not you too! NOOOOOOO!!!

  111. ginidietrich says:

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

  112. ginidietrich says:

    @1brikshort De rien.

  113. wordsdonewrite says:

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

  114. daviesjs says:

    @AuroraClinic @wordsdonewrite Nice article

  115. 10 Things to Consider As You Move to Google+

  116. mikefj40 says:

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

  117. markivey says:

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

  118. mikefj40 says:

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

  119. markivey says:

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

  120. […] 10 Things to Consider As You Move to Google+ ( […]

  121. urvin says:

    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


  122. […] is released. But once this initial hype died down, users critiqued aspects of G+, in terms of its accessibility and usability, and the high cost of switching over to another social networking […]

  123. […] 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 […]

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