Today’s post comes from Amanda DiSilvestro, a writer from SEO company HigherVisibility. Amanda regularly writes on search optimization and influencer marketing.  

Most people know the ten or twenty biggest influencers in their industry, but what many don’t realize is that there are actually quite a few people out there who maybe aren’t quite as publicized and popular, but still have a lot of pull within certain communities. Google+ Ripples is one tool that can help you find these influencers.

How Google+ Ripples Work

Google+ Ripples is a feature of Google+ that allows you to see who has been re-sharing the posts you’ve shared on Google+, along with who they’ve been sharing the posts with.

As you might imagine, the way these ripples can look varies greatly based on the number of people who publicly shared the post (ripples don’t show private shares). As you can see in the screenshots below, they can appear complicated:

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Or they can appear to be very simple:

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Those who have shared the post the most often and with the most people will appear as larger bubbles. You can zoom in and out as you wish with the tool on the left hand side of the screenshots. This is particularly useful for those complicated posts because you are able to see the specific names of people who have shared.

A list of everyone who has shared the post also appears on the right hand side. If you put your cursor over any one of the names, you can see what that person said about the post and connect with them easily if you’re interested in building a relationship.

Watch the Post Spread

Under the ripple image, you will have a small graph that will show you how the post has spread across the network over time. If you move the dial to go backwards in time, the ripple image will change based on what was going on with the spread of the post at that time. The screenshot below shows what that first screenshot above looked like on February 24, 2014, along with the dial on the bottom:

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This is more of a cool-looking feature than anything else, but it can definitely give you an idea of who started the ripple and help you manage the information by breaking it into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Influencers, Statistics, and Languages

Lastly, you have the option to look at several statistics. These will tell you who earned the most public shares for your post, the languages that people used to engage with the post, and the length of a chain. The statistics are right at the bottom of the page and look like this:

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How to Find Ripples:

Click the small gray arrow next to any post you see on your homefeed and choose “View Ripples.” Remember that only public posts are shown with ripples, so if someone didn’t share something publicly, this option will not exist.

How to Use Google+ Ripples to Find Influencers

Using all of the information Ripples can offer is actually easier than it looks:

  1. Start with people who have big circles or are explicitly listed in the “influencers” section at the bottom. These are the people to connect with immediately to start building a relationship.
  2. Visit an influencer’s Google+ page and see what content he/she is sharing. View the ripple of the content they shared and discover where the post came from initially. You’ll quickly learn who is influencing your influencers. Consider building relationships with these people and websites, too.
  3. Compare the ripples for different types of posts you’ve shared. Look for trends about which content performs the best and try to find patterns about how things are being shared. Do one or two influencers seem pivotal in getting a post to take off? If so, you might want to manually reach out to them the next time you have something to share.

Bonus Tip: Scott Langdon, managing partner of HigherVisibility says that you should always keep an eye out for some of the influencers you recognize. He said, “You may also notice that one of those very top influencers is connected with someone or something associated with your ripple. Follow the ripple to see where it all started so that you can hopefully have that influencer get involved again.”

In the end, having your posts shared by someone who has a large following (particularly a following that is also apt to share) is a great way to get your posts out there to a larger audience. The image can definitely seem overwhelming at first, but once you understand what the bubbles mean it can actually be fun!

Have you used Google+ Ripples in the past? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.

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This is a post by a Guest Author. Disclaimer: The author's views are entirely his or her own, and don't necessarily reflect the opinions of BuzzStream.

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