Google+ is a powerful social media network. There aren’t nearly as many people on Google+ as there are on Facebook but there are active users, many of whom love animated images called GIF images. Google+ has a neat feature which allows animated GIF images to play right in your stream as you are scrolling through posts. Most posts on Google+ that go viral (or make it to “what’s hot”) are animated images (or HDR images). Of course, anything can get hot and posting animated images are considered useless or even annoying by some users.
How do things go viral on Google+?
Without getting too scientific, things can get to “what’s hot” based on the number of comments, +1s and shares they receive. If you put up a post that gets 20 +1s and 20 reshares within 30 minutes of it being posted chances are it will make it to what’s hot. That said, I‘ve seen posts make it there that have only 3 +1s, so who really knows; Google isn’t disclosing the hot algorithm. What gets hot for you is different than what gets hot for the guy across the street. Things can go hot if they are posted publicly. People discover these posts when they are following you or by finding your post via hashtags. Sometimes, as in this case, a post can be right into a community. Community members who shared the post out into the public got a lot of interaction with it on their own stream. This triggered the post to go viral. Here are the ripples showing the shares of a viral GIF:
What is the value of going viral?
When something is hot it displays in the streams of users who do not have you circled. In other words, even if someone isn’t following you, it can show up in their home stream. Hot posts seem to remain hot for around 24hrs. A hot post (of a GIF) that reaches over 100,000 people typically results in a 10-20 new followers. Some might say this is increasing their follower count. Some might be happy they’re getting brand visibility. Some might say getting hot is worthless. Some might be thrilled to increase their content views. If your post contains a link to it and gets shared 500 times, you should expect approximately 250 views to your website (of course this will vary depending on the type of post shared and if people are intrigued into clicking through for more information or not). Getting hot on Google+ is quite a bit different than going viral on Twitter. One other benefit of going viral is the SEO value. If your post is in link form and is shared several times these are more links back to your site. The social signal value is anyone’s guess although I do have clients ranking well in search from naturally using Google+ to market their content.
Speaking of Twitter… One of my favorite examples of value from a viral post on social media was when Oreo “won Super Bowl XLVII”. There was a power outage at the super bowl and Oreo instantly put out a tweet that said “Power Out? No problem.” Then there was an image attached of a cookie with text that read “You can still dunk in the dark”. People went crazy and everyone was craving Oreo Cookies afterwards. You can see this tweet here.
What does a viral post on Google+ look like?
Recently we had a cat GIF go viral on Google+. This post was placed into one of the Caturday communities. If you’re not sure what Caturday is read What is Caturday on Google+? The average post in this particular community gets around 20 +1s. This post went hot and by the end of the day had around 2,500 +1s, Over 400 reshares and around 175,000 views.You can see this post here and view the ripples here on Google+ ripples.
In addition to the above linked viral post, there is another one gone viral right now. Yes, it is a cat GIF. If a cat GIF gets shared on Caturday and reshared X amount of times within 30 minutes of first being posted, it goes to “what’s hot” and shows up in lots of people’s streams, much their pleasure, or annoyance. Anyways, here is the post, and it is viral right now. Looks like this will end up at around 1,600 +1s, but that is just a guess based on how long it stays hot for: