Sure Google+ can be a powerful tool to share your message with, but this network is in it’s infancy, and even with millions of users your message can be left largely unheard unless you have created circles who care about what you have to say and will share it with their own circles and help you get the word out. What you need to do is dig for people who are sharing a lot, get re-shared often and are interested in what you want to talk about.

Even though this is a Google product and we know they must have a lot of data and information collected on the conversations on Google+ that data is still pretty hard for the users to find. So how can you measure how effective your Google+ engagement is? How can you find the influencers on topics you want to discuss and get them to share your message with their network?

There’s not much out there to give you real information on statistics yet, but here are a couple of ways to find people interested in what you want to talk about and who frequently share information with their own circles and are re-shared too.

Ripples
A couple of weeks ago Google added a new feature to Google Plus called "Ripples". The idea is to give you an idea of how posts are being shared and what the effect of that post is on your network or the network of the person who posted it. Here’s a quick video to show you how it works.

What can we learn from how Ripples work? You can see how being in that "What’s Hot" category can quickly build your visibility, but does it really do you any good if the post being shared isn’t on point with your messaging? A few people may go look to see what you’re all about and it’ it’s all photos of cats and videos about Lady Gaga it’s probably not going to help your business so much. It’s really not much of a strategy to try to make the most ripples possible unless you have something deeper to share that will really attract people for more than a quick hit.

Dig through the ripples in your area of interest. Look for people who are getting shared a lot and see if there is an affinity. Do those people RE-share a lot too? They might be someone to connect to and share with.

Pay attention to your own ripples. Who is re-sharing you? Go give them some love by sharing their relevant content too. Social media is all about reciprocity and never more so than here.

CircleCount
Another tool to look at is CircleCount.com. The initial screens are all about who is most popular and it’s the usual suspects found on most of the social media networks. Guy Kawasaki, Britney Spears, the Dalai Lama are some of the most re-shared and commented people on Google +. Big deal! While those are people who get frequently shared and do actually re share a bit, unless you are a pop idol or a news maker it’s not likely they will re-share your message about your nonprofit or business now is it?

It’s still about the content
Of course none of this means a thing if you don’t carefully craft your messages for the audience you want to hear them. Titles are important and they don’t have to be the title of the a link you are sharing. Darren Rowse has some great tips on writing great titles for log posts and the same carries true here. Use a great title. Make it applicable to the people you share with. locate the best sharers in your network and create a message they will want to share because it’s valuable, fun and fresh to them.

Popular gets you shared, but is it your message?
A quick review of the what’s hot tab on the lower left of your Google+ profile reveals the truth of Google+ popularity. Just like other social networks, what gets shared the most is still videos photos and jokes. That may get re shared but what does it do for your business? Sending one of these once in a while can get your profile viewed, but please make sure your real message is strong when they get there!

What about my Google+ page?
Now if you’ve got a Google+ page as well as your profile you are even more challenged. Currently pages can’t circle people who aren’t following them. That makes it hard to get your message out there at all. One tactic I’ve seen is to share from your page to your own personal account and then that account re-shares with a carefully crafted circle you want to attract to your page. This can work if done consistently and not so often as to drive people crazy.

On your web site
Make it easy for the fans you’ve already got on your web site or blog to share your posts directly to Google+. You can put a Google+ badge on your blog for your Google+ page here. Add a +1 button to your web site to make it easy for people to share your content right to Google+.

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