Google+ pulled the wraps off three new features today and for the first time, I’m really starting to see the shift from same old to something new.
Two of the new features, What’s Hot and Ripples are all about expanding your social media world. For marketers, this is a big step away from the one-way conversation of Twitter and the me-centric world of Facebook.
The title of this new feature couldn’t be any plainer. Google+ now provides a stream dedicated to the trending topics. The list will appear at the bottom of everyone’s profile stream, or it can be viewed as a stand alone stream by choosing that option from the sidebar.
This feature works for marketers in two ways. First, on the content side. If you create a piece of interesting, shareable content you now have a better chance of being seen site-wide, not just by your followers. Google+ says they’ll make an effort to keep the content diverse, not just the usual suspects. Right now, though, it’s pretty much all talk about their new features but there is a cool Chewbacca dog photo that you won’t want to miss.
What kind of content will land you in the What’s Hot spot? Everything from a funny photo, to an informative how-to tip, to commentary on a controversial topic. There’s honestly no telling. So start putting things out there and see what clicks.
The second way What’s Hot works for marketers is on the commenting end. By commenting on What’s Hot topics, you’re hooking your wagon to the most talked about posts on the site. That’s exposure and that’s always a good thing.
Which leads us to:
Ripples are a graphical representation of how a post spreads across the site. At first glance, it’s a fun toy. Share a post, then use the Options Menu to locate View Ripples. Using the zoom tool, you can change the level of detail and locate your own bubble! I know that sounds childish, but no one can resist finding their own name on a public display. For more fun, start the timeline video at the bottom and watch how the post spreads. It’s a lesson in social media sharing!
Like What’s Hot, Ripples works for marketers in two ways. Influencers show up as large bubbles on the graph, bubbles that everyone will see and potentially click on when they visit the Ripple. If you are your brand, that’s brand recognition right there.
More importantly, Ripples are a new way of measuring engagement. On the most basic level, you can see which of your posts are being shared and by whom. Influencers who shared could become brand advocates. Add them to your circles, include them in your plans. These are the people who were willing to spread your word without any prompting. Imagine what they can do with guidance and / or a perk.
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Google+’s third update is called Creative Kit. It’s photo editing software with a twist. Use it to add effects to photos, change colors, crop and fix. It’s fun, but hardly groundbreaking.
But there’s more. In order to further their goal of community interaction, Google+ has added a Halloween tool to spookify your photos. Share them with the hashtag #gplushalloween and they become part of the public stream.
How does this help the marketer? In the same way responding to a Twitter hashtag. It’s a way of tossing your name (and brand) into the communal pool. If it’s good enough for Snoop Dogg, then it’s good enough for you.
Have you tried any of the new Google+ features? I’ve been sitting back watching since I joined the site a few months ago, but I found myself pulled in by the Halloween Creative Kit and the Ripples. I hate to say it Google+, but I think you got me.