social media how toAre you on Google+? Are you aware of the insight you can gain from social content?

Google+ is a relatively new platform for businesses and marketers.

While the concept of circles is a great way to keep in touch and interact directly with a specific niche, there’s one feature that doesn’t seem to get that much press, and is actually quite beneficial to businesses. It’s called Ripples.

What is Google Ripples?

Ripples is a feature that shows you interactive graphs of everyone who has shared a specific post. Ripples is only available on posts that are sent out to “Public” and only displays those who shared the post publicly.

ripples example

The Laughing Squid posts funny and interesting blog posts on Google+.

As any marketer will agree, it’s important to have a visual representation of how well your content is performing on social media platforms.  Not only does it give you a clear picture of data, but it also helps when conveying that data to those higher up in your company.

Unlike with other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where some of the more exciting and informative tools are third-party apps, Ripples is built directly into Google+ and requires absolutely zero configuration.

In this post, I’ll show you how to view Ripples, decode the data and use this data to your advantage.

How to Use Ripples

First, find a post that has been shared with “Public” and has at least a few shares. To get started, we’ll take a look at a recent post by Starbucks on their official brand page.

In the top right-hand corner of every public post, you’ll see a little arrow. Click that and if a post has had some shares, “View Ripples” will show. Clicking that will open up a detailed graph of all the people who shared.

view ripples

Starbucks shares the story of Dan who brings coffee to cancer patients.

starbucks shares

People enjoyed the story of Dan, who brings coffee to cancer patients.

As you can see with the screenshot above, Starbucks received 17 shares total and the graph is showing the 9 most recent. Scrolling over top of a bubble and someone’s name will display a little box that shows what they said in their share, if anything, as well as link to their post.

starbucks shares hashtags

Paul added two hashtags to bring more attention to his share.

Now, while this is a great way of visualizing who shared a post, the real gold is in the fact that people who helped contribute more shares by their circlers sharing are displayed as a larger bubble.

This makes it easy to identify who has some potentially extra clout and is helping get your posts out there to even more people. Small businesses and big brands can use the Ripples feature to very easily see not only who’s sharing their content, but also who’s helping beyond that.

Find Your Influencers

Every business has its influencers—people who contribute quite a bit to your bottom line both online and offline. In social media, an influencer can be someone who shares a lot of your content and drives interaction.

In any instance, finding these influencers is important to making sure that you maintain and further build a relationship. While there’s very little data on Google+ to discover at the moment, aside from how many people are circling a person (which isn’t necessarily the best metric), Ripples are the beginning of the analytics likely to come.

red bull ripples

Red Bull benefits greatly from sharing their extreme sports videos.

As we stated in the beginning of this post, visually seeing that data is important, as it is much easier to decode than sorting through text or having to jump from profile to profile of those who shared your content.

The circles concept on Google+ aids greatly in this instance, which leads us to the next tip…

Group Your Influencers

Over time, you’ll get an idea of who shares your content the most and who helps contribute beyond in that aspect. With Facebook pages, you unfortunately can’t use the Lists feature, which is only available to those who have a personal profile.

With Google+ however, both individuals and brands have the ability to create circles.

This is great because now you can group your influencers into their very own circle and make sure to nurture the relationship with them. Send out exclusive content, interact directly, start a hangout with just that circle, you name it.

social talk

Hangouts are fantastic for relationship-building and great discussions.

The topic of influencers shouldn’t take all of your focus away from everyone else in your audience, but knowing who in your audience aids a step or two beyond will give you that extra edge when it comes to using the social network for your business.

What do you think? Are you investing time into Google+? How are you using it? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Sam Scholfield

    This is a great tool that Google have provided. It is a shame that they have hidden it away. This isn’t only good for viewing your influencers, you can also find industry influencers by looking at posts by the leading companies in your industry and viewing who is sharing their content. 

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  • danohart

    Oh I look at Ripples all the time. Such a great visual. Good post Mike. I hope to see more of your tips here. Great stuff.

  • Mike Stenger

    Thanks Dano.

  • Moin Shaikh

    Excellent! One thing for sure, this ripples will surely become performance measurement tool for g+ marketers in near future. But one question mike, if you have heard and used google analytics’s new social tracking code, could you figure out if ripples are better than it? I mean google analytics has always been a major analytical tool for web masters and now with introduction of google analytics social tracking code one is able to track fb, twitter and even g+ stats. Do you think these both are different? Except for a visual difference? Google analytics has more to do with charts and graphs of visits and ripples is concerned directly with content stats. Any other big  difference if you have noticed so far? 
    And yes, thanks for the insights, i’d definitely use ripples and would comment back here again with words of thanks soon! – Moin

  • Ahtt2121

    I think the focus of a Social Networking site should be its users and not advertising. What good is a great advertising strategy without a strong user base. I do not see how Ripples will attract more users or make users stay. 

  • Mike Stenger

    Ripples are good, but you’ve gotta take into consideration that they’re only one data set whereas the social tracking with Google Analytics is multiple. Also, you’re not able to see how many visits were made to a post through Ripples. I’m really hoping to see analytics here soon for Google+ and integrating them into Google Analytics would be pretty fantastic.

  • Mike Stenger

    That’s not the point of this post. Ripples are more of a tool for marketers, not the average everyday user.

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  • Phyllis Khare

    Nice post Mike. I like having the ability to show a nice visual along with all the more rigorous analytics. Ripples fits the bill. Creating a circle of supporters is a great marketing strategy. Sharing this on all my sites!

  • Fraser

    I’d take that a bit further, this application is ideal for execs/c-levels who don’t get it, or potential investors who need visual before they commit…. 

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  • Mike Stenger

    Thanks Phyllis. Hope you have a great start to your week!

  • Mike Stenger

    Good point Fraser. Visual data is very important when trying to communicate social and results associated with it, to those who make the decisions in the business.

  • @Lisa

    I like the idea of finding influencers in my industry, and this tool seems to do just that.  As a marketer, I   Influencers are our referral sources  and so vital for all of our businesses- B2B to B2C.  As a marketer, I appreciate the visual representation too.   Thanks for sharing this article!

  • Mandy Kilinskis

    Great post, Mike!

    Ripples is hands down my favorite feature of Google+. That beautiful, visual data is easier to digest than regular analytics. It’s nice to see how your content flows between users – definitely a feature I’d love to see on other social networks. 

  • Jacqui Gage-Brown

    Mike I’m new to learning about Google+ and am not personally using this platform (yet!). Thank you for highlighting this feature and using the visual illustrations to show how to access this information.

  • Mike Stenger

    Thanks Mandy.

  • Rosemary

    Another new medium for a newbie to master – thanks for the heads up.  Rosemary, Grandma’s Footsteps

  • Des Walsh

    Very nice feature. Thanks for highlighting it and for the practical strategy you outline for making good use of it.  

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    Very insightful post Mike! Ripples is a great feature for marketers and I like your suggestions for using it more effectively. Interesting to see if Google will add more insights into it in the future.

  • Ram Krishna Shukla

    No doubt this is a step towards integrating the efforts with analytics stats

  • Neemesh

    This information is very useful, I have never used ripples but after I saw your graphical
    presentation i am sure i will start using this its amazing i think it will be very helpful, pls. share
    such information always as many of us use Goggle,twitter, face book , and
    many other social networking sites but very few of them are aware
    of such features pls. share this type of information, also can you
    share some tips as to how a new comer in marketing should find new clients
    either B 2 B or B 2 C by networking sites for his product or services,
    the reason is we don’t know who Exactly

     is looking for our service or product
    and unless you don’t your prospective clients how can you contact them
    what should one do to trace his client on net ?

  • Mattias Gronborg

    Thanks for a very informative post, I like G+ very much and I use it to explore new worlds online. I like the visual way Ripples present the analytics. I’m really looking forward to see how this evolve. 

  • Lee Jackson

     It’s about building relationships with influencers!

  • Joe

    Marketers should really take advantage of opportunities like this, not only to send out exclusive content and nurture relationships with big influencers, but to further understand who’s consuming that data. Being able to receive instant feedback can go a long way in making sure your message is being delivered the right way.

  • Ccindy043

    Thanks Mike. the ripples are something I am going to use.

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  • John Davy

    Very cool post. Shows me I have loads to learn!
    Just started working with G+ and looking forward now to having a play with the info

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  • Tommaso

    This is a great plus of Google + 😉

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  • E-course Girl

    Ooo very interesting! Google+ is going to be huge, and now is the time for business owners to get comfortable there. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Tod Hirsch

    Mike, awesome post on Ripples. I’m really starting to love Google Plus! Who knew. I just finished this video tutorial on Ripples. Hope it adds to the conversation.

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