The Week's Top Twenty in Social Media

Google scores a win by taking the top spot on the Dachis Group's Social Business Index

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The social media sphere is an increasingly noisy place, especially for brands. But hiding somewhere in the static, some companies are sending strong signals that reaches their customers in innovative ways. The Dachis Group has recently begun a real-time ranking of which companies have the most effective social strategies with their Social Business Index. Each Friday we're taking a tally of who's getting heard, what they're saying and why it matters.

Media continued their dominance at the top of the charts with Google got a rare win over social giant Facebook which fell to an unfamiliar No. 2 slot. But it was the fast-moving beverage industry that showed the most activity. Thanks to their viral secret formula ad campaign, Coca Cola continued their climb up the ranks--they were the biggest mover last week jumping 12 places to the No. 8 rank. With double digit jumps in the rankings this week, however, their caffeine-powered competitors at Hansen Natural (owners of Monster Energy Drink) were close behind at No. 8, followed by a surging Red Bull at No. 12 and Starbucks are catching up at No. 15.

Buoyed by lots of chatter around the launch of the Android-powered Amazon Kindle Fire, Google edged out Facebook for the number one slot this week, but precedent shows that it might not last long. Erik Huddleston at the Dachis Group says the two companies are neck and neck. Right now, they are separated by less than a 1 percent difference," he said. "They flip-flopped a couple times last week, but FB always came back. The interesting question will be whether Facebook's juggernaut social status can withstand YouTube and Google+ on the social front combined with Mobile/Android and the traditional SEO/search chatter."

With the biggest jump in rankings, Red Bull had a great week in social media. The energy drink company's Art of Flight campaign, a snowboarding video with accompanying soundtrack, is bringing real world conversation onto social networks. Red Bull created a custom Twitter account to promote the movie and worked hard to insert the handle in various conversations. Meanwhile, they pulled in millions of views on YouTube from the clips and also saw a good number of derivative, user-generated content like this dance video. "It was mostly offline, but had great cross social platform support, playing up the strengths of each individual platform for maximum engagement," said Huddleston. "This is black belt social strategy--truly a thing of beauty."

It's hard to tell if jumping 11 places on the charts is good news or bad news for the world's biggest coffee shop. At the end of last week, a video of a Starbucks barista ranting (in song) about everything that annoys him about Starbucks customers went viral. Perhaps because of all the bad language, perhaps because he was only wearing his green Starbucks apron, the company fired him and sparked a chain of coverage over what some believe to be a pretty extreme response. That said, the song itself took off, making an appearance on the iTunes music store and pulled in almost 3,000 comments both in defense of Starbucks and in solidarity with the singing barista on YouTube. On other platforms, Starbucks has been working hard to attract attention. They're leading the industry on Facebook, with over 200 wall posts a day from fans, and they recently opened a futuristic social media wall at their Times Square location. But you just can't buy the kind of attention that one disgruntled employee with a video camera and a guitar can attract.

Quite surprisingly, Coinstar has been one of the top performing companies on the Social Business Index for a while, but it's showing signs of flagging. Most of the juice comes from Coinstar's Redbox business that places DVD vending machines in grocery stores. In the past, Coinstar has had good luck engaging on a surface level with their Facebook audiences by posting movie trivia questions on their Facebook wall, but a change in strategy in an attempt to build the brand backfired. "Their conversation strength dropped 23 percent on the Redbox Facebook wall," said Huddleston. "The reason? They played their trivia games less in favor of a user-generated brand love campaign (Hug a Redbox) and some attempts at authentic engagement." Sometimes it pays to be shallow.

Methodology: A project of the Dachis Group, a social business professional services group, the Social Business Index analyzes the conversations on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and othrs. The index, which currently covers approximately 25,0000 companies and 27,000 brands, detects behaviors and activities exhibited by these companies, analyzes their execution and effectiveness at driving outcomes such as brand awareness, brand love, mind share, and advocacy. The Atlantic Wire takes a snapshot of the rankings at the close of business on Thursdays.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.