Visualizing the way your company’s content is shared across the Google+ social network is more than a fun fact or interesting curiosity. This insight can help drive your social strategy, inspire new content and point you in the direction of social influencers whose shares can have the greatest impact on your business.

Ripples generate graphics to demonstrate how content is shared within the Google+ platform. In this third post in the Get to Know Google+ series, you’ll discover three ways to use the interactive Google+ Ripples tool to see how your content travels through social networks.

1. Use Google+ Ripples to see who has publicly shared your content or links and what they’ve said.

Google+ Ripples provide useful social insight.

Each user who shares your content is represented in the Ripples graphic by a circle. When a circle appears within another circle, as in the circles above, it means the innermost user(s) has shared the content after seeing it posted by the person in the outer circle. This insight can help you determine which of your own followers have the influence to inspire others to share the content they’ve posted.

When users reshare a link from your Google+ Page, they have the ability to add a comment of their own. These comments are displayed in the Ripples sidebar. Or, simply hover over the user’s name in the Ripples graphic to see their comment pop up.

2. See how a post or your website URL has been shared over time.

At the bottom of the Ripples graphic, you can actually animate the graphic, which will display how the post or URL was shared over time. Here, you will also see a line graph that shows the peaks and valleys of sharing activity over the timeline. This is a great tool for marketers who want to see how their website URL, or specific pages on their site, have been shared.

3. See content insights and statistics for Google+ shares.

At the bottom of the Google+ Ripples page, you’ll find a collection of statistics about the post or URL in question. This section contains three types of information:

  • Influencers – See which users generated the most subsequent shares with their post about your content or website.
  • Statistics – See how a post spread publicly, with information on the average “chain” length (the number of times a post was shared and reshared), the longest chain, and the average number of shares per hour.
  • Languages – The different languages in which your content was shared.

How Can Google+ Ripples Influence Your Social Strategy?

Once you see what people are saying about your content or links, join the conversation or leave a +1 on their share. It’s a great way to show you’re actively listening.

Reach out to your influencers – those who regularly share your content and inspire resharing amongst their communities. Offer incentives such as early access to demo new products, or exclusive offers, to convert this influential fan to a brand advocate.

Use Ripples to easily see at a glance which of your content types, formats and topics generates the most activity and gets the greatest reach. Consider adding more of this type of content to your content plan.

Check out your competitor content and websites. See who influences their fans and determine how you might be able to tap into that resource.

Google+ Ripples is a great tool for your social media arsenal, though it does have limitations. The greatest of these is that it only tracks and displays public shares, so there may be more going on than you have access to see. Even so, it’s incredibly useful, especially for those who find it easier to digest information in a highly visual format.

Are you using Google+ Ripples? Share your comments or questions!