The Week's Top 20 in Social Media

Each Friday we're taking a tally of the companies getting heard on social media, 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. Each Friday we're taking a tally of who's getting heard, what they're saying and why it matters.

This week, Facebook and Google swapped spots for the number 1 company in the Social Business Index. While the other players in the top 20 shuffled places, there were few big moves, save Reuters continuing its bullish march up in the ranks, rising seven spots to number four. We took this as an chance to widen the scope of this feature to look at the most exciting moves in the Social Business Index's top 100. At number 48, The New York Times eclipsed every other company except Hasbro in making the biggest jump up the ranks by latching on to a major news story, Qaddafi's death. Time Warner also turned a crisis into an opportunity, and reappeared in the top 20 for the first time in a while. We talked to the people behind the winning strategies, and they told us their secrets.

The biggest mover in the top 100 this week, moving up 26 places in the ranks, was The New York Times.  Social media editor Lexi Mainland who suggested that news of Qaddafi's death and a few tweaks to their social strategy provided the lift. "The main vehicle for the story was our breaking news blog, The Lede," Mainland told The Atlantic Wire. "Rob Mackey laid out all of those videos of Qaddafi in his final moments and tried to reconstruct what happened in those last moments. He was doing a lot of piecing together those stores and trying to tease out what happened." The Times also recently launched a unique new Twitter account called @NYTLive to be used sparingly during major breaking news events, but they chose not to use on the Qaddafi story. "It seemed like the second and third day would give us more accurate verifiable details," said Mainland. And this seems like part of the secret. Mainland reiterated how The Times's social media team is "very cautious" about only featuring verified information across their social media properties. There's an element of momentum in The Times's success, as well. "We have a lot of journalists who are now active on Twitter and I'm totally sure that the Index was just picking up Qaddafi as the spike," said Mainland. "But I think that it needs to be said that more than ever, more of our journalists are actively using Twitter for news gathering, for engaging--and that's very exciting."

Time Warner recently created a buzz on the heels of a minor-slash-major crisis, in their biggest market, New York City. On October 6, a steam pipe set some electrical wires on fire that melted one of Time Warner's fiber optics cables cutting out access to nearly the entire East Village. You can imagine that New Yorkers were not pleased. Time Warner responded right away on Twitter, with customer care manager Philip Blum, @TWCablePhil, leading the effort. Last week, Time Warner's director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon posted photos of the damage and explained what happened on the company's blog, Untangled. The post and photos got picked up by blogs like Gizmodo and kept people chatting about Time Warner across social media. "That probably helped juice the stats a bit," Simmermon told us. The blog sets out to explain how broadband actually works. "[It's about how to] find the story behind the story--where does it come from how does it work, what do the human beings have to do to get the service to you," he said. But Simmermon says the people on his team doing the tweeting and Facebook updates deserve the most credit for being "right there in the trenches digging the ditches for us making sure people get the care they need."

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Time Warner Cable as part of Time Warner, Inc. In fact, TWC spun off of Time Warner Inc. in 2009 and is now a separate company.

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.