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Google+ Ripples: The promise of shared intelligence

Recently we have had two blog posts about Google+: 4 things to know about Google+, and Google+ brand pages: Why SEO is dead.

Now, let’s talk about Google+ Ripples, the first set of metrics from Google about Google+. It’s not enough, of course, but still worth parsing for its hints at what is to come from Google, and offers users relevant information about the use of circles, Google+ influence, and how data is spread.

Article source – Google+ Ripples: The promise of shared intelligence

ComMetrics - CyTRAP Labs - guest blogger - Debra Askanase - THANK you for a great blog post.This is another guest post by Debra Askanase. She addresses the new Google+ Ripples feature, rolled out October 27, 2011, and its hint of data potential for marketing and engagement.

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What is Ripples?

Ripples offers data visualization over time of how your posts are shared: when, by whom, and to whom. Once a post has been shared even once, an option to view the Ripple will appear in the drop-down menu to the right of the post. Google adds a time stamp video to Ripples that visually shows the spread of a post over time. Put simply, it shows the ‘ripple effect’ of the content that you post.

But why is it important? It’s all about moving people to action.

1. Know your influencers
Whether you work for a nonprofit or a brand, you want to know how your social media activities can move supporters, followers, and fans to action. Ripples tells you who amongst your followers has real influence that moves people to act. This is especially important when thinking about campaigns and audience segmentation.

For example, I posted a link to a ComMetrics story about Google+ brand pages to my Google+ profile. It was shared six times (five public shares and one private or limited share).

Ripples shows that Janet Fouts was the most influential sharer of this post, since she influenced three other shares. This tells me that Janet is interested in this type of information, can influence others to share, and may also be influential within other social networks.

If I were running an organization, I’d find out more about my strongest Ripple influencers, create new circles for them, and further segment them by their areas of interest. (For an incredible Ripple, check out this one started by the Dalai Lama.)

2. Find new influencers
If you know your audience, use Ripples to find new fans and supporters. Start with your known ‘superfans’, those that love you and share your information on other social media channels or platforms. Look at who is sharing your superfans’ posts, find those influencers, and circle them. Cultivate those ‘friends of friends’ by thanking them, mentioning them in posts, and asking for comments.

Is there someone you are trying to reach? Find them on Google+ and find out who influences them by looking at their re-shares. Are you trying to find new fans? Search for a hashtag on Google+ and look for posts that have a lot of shares. And don’t be afraid to tag Google+ users in a post if you really want to engage them. Social media is all about engagement, so find those you want to know, circle them, and engage them in a real way through conversation and sharing of their posts.

3. Know what people want to share
ComMetrics - CyTRAP Labs - participate in our poll - your vote counts - THANK you.Knowing what people want to share is highly valuable information. What resonates deeply with your stakeholders? What will spread more awareness about your cause, brand, or products? What appeals to which audiences? This information will help you further segment your marketing, identify niches, and refine your messaging.

Be aware, however, that Ripples illustrates only one aspect of this content feedback loop: what people want to share publicly. Ripples will not show what people want to talk about, either. A post may have 23 comments but no shares. Another post may have 15 shares, but they are private or limited shares which are not viewable as Ripples. If your organization deals with sensitive issues, the latter may be the case.

If your SMART (specific, manageable, actionable, relevant, trending) goal is deep follower and fan engagement, then your strategy is to generate more comments than shares.

4. Watch out for a Google+ search algorithm
On Facebook, highly shared content is a significant part of EdgeRank, the algorithm Facebook uses to determine how prominently posts will be seen within fans’ individual newsfeeds. At this time, the Google+ news stream algorithm is real-time. However, I wouldn’t rule out an algorithm similar to Facebook’s in the future or its effect on how high your post shows up within a Google+ or Google search in the future.

5. Remember the power of clicks
ComMetrics - benchmark your social media efforts - use our tool.Google+ is an important part of Google’s SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, affecting the future of search. According to Google+ ad guy Christian Oestlien, 77 percent of brand-centered content is being shared by users – NOT brands.

Moreover, clickthrough rates on a search result actually go up when users see their friends’ faces next to it. If your strategy involves driving your fans to a website, then shares of your content must be an integral part of your overall social media strategy. Google+ posts appear in Google’s social search results, and the faces next to them will certainly influence clicks.

Tip: Search for more information about social media and more effective marketing, Google+, Facebook & Co from CyTRAP – ComMetrics (click to query).

For now, all we can do is wait and see what Google does, and hope we’re not left eating their dust. An uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it?

Disagree? Sure. Leave a comment!

About the author
This post was written by guest blogger Debra Askanase. She is an experienced digital strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. Debra writes about the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofits on her blog, Community Organizer 2.0.

TL:DR. @ComMetrics with guest post by @askdebra: Google+ Ripples: The promise of shared intelligence | Tweet This

More information about this topic:
- About Google Ripples – Google Help
- How one Google+ user created what could be Google Ripples’ largest graph so far
- Google Ripples and why brands will love it
- What will Google+ mean for your organization?

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