Posted by caseyhen

Two weeks ago today, Google released “Ripples” for Google+ and most of the world went on with their daily activities. Personally I thought it was just another one of those features that was interesting but nothing I could really use. That was until this Whiteboard+ video which I filmed with Rand. Both Rand and I were blown away at the amount of data a Ripple gives you and what you can do with it.

What is a Ripple

The definition of a “ripple effect” is: a spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event. When it comes to Google+ a Ripple is an interactive diagram that shows how a Google+ post spreads as it’s shared by users. You can find the Ripple of any public post using the dropdown to the right of the post.

You can quickly see who the top sharers of your content are, the timeline for which it was shared and other statistics. A quick look at this post shared by the Dalai Lama shows that there have been 1,414 recent public shares of this post. You can zoom into each circle and see the sharing within different circles.

At the bottom of the page, Google shows you the top Influencers, stats about how the post spread and the different Languages of the sharers. We’re going to dig into how to use the Influencer information to help you get your content shared by the right influencers, not only on Google+ but on other social sites as well.

Make That Ripple Effect Happen

Sometimes getting an influencer to share your content can be very difficult, if not impossible. Ripples provides an easy way for you to investigate who are the influencers of the influencers. Let me give you an example of how this might work in a real world situation. Let’s say I write a blog post on Google Analytics and am hoping to get Avinash Kaushik to share it, since he is a leader in the Analytics area. However, I don’t have a direct relationship with Avinash, so I need to find someone approachable who does.

Step 1 – Find an influencer

Look at Avinash’s Google+ page and see what type of content he is sharing with his circles. Find a post that he shared that has quite a few shares and view that Ripple. Look for a Ripple where the original poster has an account that is in a reasonable amount of Circles. Below is a Ripple I found that is perfect since it was originally shared by user with a small but strong following.

Since Avinash shared Michael’s content, there is some form of trust between Avinash and Michael. Even if it’s a fluke, there is a good chance that Michael may be an influencer on a different social network and could still be worth contacting.

Step 2 – Make a connection

Reach out to Michael and make a connection. All of his contact methods are displayed in his profile on Google+. Most users have linked their Google+ account to their Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts which gives you plenty of ways to reach out and make a connection. Establish some sort of “relationship” before asking him to share your content. I suggest that you provide something of value first or other comment on something he has posted as the first point of interaction. 

Once a connection is made, share your content with him via Google+ and ask him to share. With luck he will share your content and it will catch the eye of Avinash and he will re-share it exposing it to thousands of more people than you had before. Even if Avinash doesn’t re-share it, you did get Michael to share your content and expose it to another group of people outside of your norm. Plus there is a chance that he will expose your content on other social networks which he may have more visibility on.

Step 3 – Rinse and repeat

Obviously you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket with Michael. Continue to see who Avinash is re-sharing and reach out to those people as well. Soon you will have contacted a large number of people who Avinash trusts and the chances of him seeing your post are much higher.

Another Ripple Effect Example

Below is a Ripple of a post recently shared by Cyrus Shepard. His post was re-shared by Jason Morrison which then John Muller of Google shared. Now even though only one person in John’s circles re-shared it, it was still put in front of a much wider audience thanks to John’s share.

Future Ripple Uses

If Google+ continues to create things like Ripples that share large amounts of data on how users are interacting with your posts, I could see Facebook stepping up their game with the current version of Insights. Think about if you could see how your Tweets were shared and what effect power users have on sharing your content.

Lastly, Ripples is “very experimental” according to Google which means that their is no clear vision where this is going. There have been no rumors of this ever making it to an API version or anything beyond what the current Ripple version does. Do you have any plans to use Ripples and how do you plan to use it?

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