Is Your Gmail Social? How to Use Gmail Daily to Build an Engaged Community

If you use Gmail then here is a strategy I use daily to quickly and easily build an engaged community of people who want to read and share my content.  

Is Your Gmail Social?


It involves a simple program called Rapportive. It's easy to integrate with Gmail and it is a major part of my approach to building rapport with subscribers and readers of my blog.

It makes email social.

It's easily incorporated into your daily email routine.

And it takes just a “click” or two.


Let's take a step back for a moment and look at the word Rapport.  What does it mean?



Is Your Gmail Social?

See that?  Relation…connection…harmonious relationships…..links…. communicating well….

Rapportive is all about establishing rapport with your contacts by connecting with them on social channels, where appropriate (from right within your inbox). It's that simple!

Rapportive can take your Gmail Inbox to a place of one way blasting to an interactive basic CRM.

How Do Rapportive Describe it?

Is Your Gmail Social? How to Use Gmail Daily to Build an Engaged Community -

Here is how I use Rapportive, at its most basic:

Let's take my friend Janina.  She runs a fabulous business – the funky Piccadilly Markets in Geelong).

Janina is also very business savvy and she helps small business owners start, run and succeed with craft-based businesses, including social media strategy, start-up advice and everything from budgeting to marketing.

Let's say Janina emails me, or she subscribes to my email list for the first time.  I don't necessarily know her (let's pretend I don't…I do know her, and she's great, but let's pretend I don't).

Janina is already a qualified “contact” as she has either emailed me directly or she has emailed me via my opt in form on an email management system.  Either way, she sends me an email. Normally, all I can do is email her back via Gmail (or my email system).

But with Rapportive, I get more options.  This is how Janina's profile appears with Rapportive plugged in to my Gmail. A little box appeard on the RHS showing “social” information about Janina.

Janina Lear - Is Your Gmail Social? How to Use Gmail Daily to Build an Engaged Community
Rapportive suggests ways to connect with Janina – I can even add notes about my contacts (which are private).

Janina's contact information includes:

  • her smiling photo/avatar
  • her email address (which I already know)
  • her location in the world (ie city, country etc)
  • her  G+ and Twitter profile links (many contact records usually show G+ and Facebook as well) – including a preview of her LinkedIn profile (depending on what she has authorised, and what is being pulled in)
  • any other additional information that she has put up for public view on social media.

Here is another example from one of the creative team at Curalate, Brendan Lowry – a great guy.  Yesterday I realised I had not connected with him on G+ despite having connected on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.  How did I know? I could see it on my Rapportive bar, so in one click, I could add him to my circles.

Brendan-Lowry-Gmail-Rapportive Is Your Gmail Social? How to Use Gmail Daily to Build an Engaged Community

Now I can do many things with this information, but I like to approach it slowly so that I am not “social stalking” my contacts. I don't start following them on every platform,  because

(a) who has the time for that, and

(b) it is kinda creepy.

This is how I use Rapportive: 

  1. If the contact has a Google Plus account, I immediately add the contact to a G+ Circle. It takes one click. It is a nice “hat tip” to the person to get a new follower, and they may recognise me because of any contact we have had or they are following my blog. It is a nice, simple gesture.  It establishes…wait for it…..rapport!
  2. I might follow them on Twitter – depending on who they are (this will depend on your approach to Twitter and who you like to follow.)
  3. I may connect with them on LinkedIn.
  4. I take note of where they live.  I have an email that goes out to my new subscribers thanking them for their subscription and asking them a simple question about what their business is and how I can help them.  If they reply, this location information is great for sending a genuine, interested email back.  It might be a location I have visited, or know something about or it is on my bucket list – it doesn't matter – it shows I am interested in them.

I don't email everyone back and I don't add everyone to every list.  You need to use your discretion. If it is someone I have communicated with, then yes, I deem it ok to send them a LinkedIn request and/or Facebook friend request (with an attached message).

But, if I don't know them well and they are connecting with me via my email subscription for the first time, I may merely add them to my “Subscribers” circle on G+ (and may follow them on Twitter). Please note that this only works if you have your email subscribers sent to your inbox – something that I recommend as you grow your list, but you may choose to turn it off later.  

There is plenty more that you can do on Rapportive.  You can write notes about a person (a bit like a simple CRM) and you can mention shared interests to establish Rapport.

The best part?  It's FREE.  Yep. Free.

So, if you want to start playing with Rapportive and establishing better connections with your contacts, all you need to do is follow these instructions by going to the Rapportive website.

Is Your Gmail Social? How to Use Gmail Daily to Build an Engaged Community

 What about you?  Do you have a system for establishing (and keeping) “rapport” with your contacts other than sending emails? Have you tried Rapportive?  Will you now?  I would love to hear what you think in the comments below! 

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.