Notes from John Mueller +Hangout July 5th+John Meuller of Google says, "We need recommendations, shares for signals other than links for trusted ranking factors."
John said you need to make your content recommendable and provide users an easy way to +1, share and like your content. It's not +1's or likes that boost your rank, it is the "act of sharing" that boosts your ranking. That real life interaction that Google counts as a quality ranking signal. Make sure that it's easy to copy and past URL and that you use shortened, or bitly style url's, as well. Speculation is that Google is tracking through and aggregating through chrome which could include mining gmail for sharing links and mentions. More information is coming out about this. When you share content or a link to content make sure to bitly those links as well. Any manual links should be "rel=nofollow" as well.
In short "Remove all barriers to share", said John Mueller. Another bombshell "Yes social will help you rank, +1 likes and shares." also "You need a good profile, it's not a matter of buying links anymore. The algorithms are more advanced than that. You need interaction with users on social media. Google will be changing their guidelines soon because of this."
Give incentives to your visitors or ask to get a share, like or plus 1. Use a "call to action" to get shares and likes. Whereas you cannot ask for links, you could ask for shares so take advantage of that with a popup or some type of arrow pointing to it.
This is very important for ranking in 2013 and 2014. If you want to be successful in the future with your marketing endeavors, depend on your social profile on the big 4 (Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) to be the difference in smashing your competitors.