The Week's Top Twenty in Social Media

Every week we're taking a tally of who's getting heard, what they're saying, and why it matters.

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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. Every week we're taking a tally of who's getting heard, what they're saying, and why it matters.

Since football is all the rage on social networks right now, companies are climbing the ranks using NFL-oriented strategies. But for most of them it's not enough to challenge the longtime top three: News Corp., National Amusements and Google. Kraft creeped up six rank into the top 15, and thanks to its fascinating reality TV shows, Discovery rose six as well to number 16. Inevitably, the really interesting moves happened further down the list with Proctor & Gamble's Gillette banking big and winning big thanks to a new NFL campaign. And Dr. Pepper saw some success in asking its fans to talk about themselves -- always a good strategy for platforms built on egos.

It turns out that this reality show trend isn't just not slowing down, it's exploding thanks in part to social media. Discovery Communications continued its charge up the rankings, breaking into the top twenty this week with a six slot jump to No. 6. Hardly the biggest mover in this index, it's an impressive move since, as we've said again and again, the real giants on the Social Business Index guard their territory well. It's hard to beat brands like Google and News Corp. For Discovery, the secret weapon appears to be the extent to which new episodes of shows like Planet Earth and Deadliest Catch -- not to mention the longtail effect of reruns and web clips -- spark conversations. That's only half of it, though. Dachis Analyst Kate Rush Sheehy told us that Discovery is tapping into its enthusiastic fan base with games on Facebook. Deadliest Catch has a fishing one; it's really pretty fun. But, Discovery's real social champion last week was Planet Earth," Rush Sheehy said. "Last week, their signal strength rose 177% and volume jumped by 10,000 fans. It’s interesting because their Facebook content strategy involves no frills -- no tabs, no campaigns, just interesting facts. The story which received the most social engagement was about a sighting of the Galapagos Turtle, believed, until now, to be extinct. And for Discovery in social, like the turtle, it looks like slow and steady really does win the race." Let's be honest: Planet Earth is also just fantastic. Monkeys!

Have you heard of @TimTebow? Proctor & Gamble's target customers probably have, since the company is an official NFL sponsor, a marketing choice that's paying off for them lately. P&G climbed 17 points in the ranks this week, landing at No. 32. (Coincidentally, 32 is one of the top ten jersey numbers for NFL football players -- who knew?!) P&G's Gillette brand just launched an "NFL's Greatest Fan" promotion on Facebook, and it's a hit. "In the last two days, over 100 fans have already obliged with personal photos and accompanying stories, resulting in a 186% increase in signal strength for the brand pegged as the 'Official Shave of the NFL,'" Dachis analyst Ellen Reynolds explained. "P&G is an official sponsor of the NFL, but it must still find relevant ways to insert its brands into the existing conversation. Aligning Gillette with the NFL playoffs seems to be a perfect fit." And the timing is perfect, she added, "Loyal football fans become even more committed during playoff season, and what better way to unite a Facebook community than with a little friendly (passionate) competition?" By the way, if you still don't know who Tim Tebow is, read this and you'll understand what everybody is talking about on Twitter.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group provides an interesting case study of how brands can rise and fall on the Social Business Index in a very short span of time. It's on the rise this week, pushing ahead four ranks to a very respectable No. 50. However, just three months ago, Dr. Pepper Snapple sat (somewhat controversially) in the top 20 due to the chatter around its launch of a new low-calorie soft drink marketed to men, Dr. Pepper 10. They've seen some success in taking a very safe approach with a new Facebook-oriented campaign called "Always One of a Kind," an open ended call for people to say why they're unique. "Dr Pepper's Facebook fans got a sneak peek of [a new "Always One of a Kind"]  commercial a day before it hit TV -- a nice treat," Rush Sheehy told us. The sweet taste of victory may be short-lived, though. "Given the pushback over their decision yesterday to close a 120-year-old plant," she said, "the Doctor is going to be hurting for a while."

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.