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 was one for the climbers at the Social Business Index. While Google, Facebook and News Corp. clung to the top three slots, Twitter and Thomson Reuters rocketed up the rankings 81 and 21 slots, respectively. "This time it is all about the social equivalent of link juice from SEO," says Erik Huddleston, chief technology officer at the Dachis Group. Beverage companies, especially the caffeinated ones, are also a making a strong push, with Coca Cola, Starbucks, Red Bull and Hansen Natural, the makers of Monster Energy drink, all in the top ten.

Google passed Facebook in the rankings last week, and it looks like they might be here to stay. Since the launch of the Social Business Index the two companies have jockeyed for the number one slot, however Google created some chatter this week when they tweaked their search algorithm. Furthermore, just over two weeks after opening itself up to all users and adding some new features, Google+ has become a mainstay in social media. According to the Dachis Group, Facebook is having a hard time keeping up. "Facebook is fading," says Huddleston. "I don't know if it will continue, but we could see Facebook back down where they were pre-launch--firmly in the top 50 but not in top ten contention."

Digging in at number three, News Corp. is a very different kind of media company than Facebook or Google, but they're nevertheless able to compete impressively with the internet juggernauts. Two recent events have been juicing News Corp.'s brands: X-Factor's surging popularity and The Simpsons questionable future. However, as Huddleston explains, the media conglomerate is sparking conversations on all multiple fronts. "They have a massive diversified portfolio of properties," Huddleston tells us. "Several of them have tons of deep engagement--National Geographic is an example--plus a healthy does of daily news chatter. News Corp. also has great global coverage, so it is 24/7."

Having joined in full on September 13, both Twitter and Thomson Reuters are relatively new to the Social Business Index, but they're beginning to make an impact. Since last week, Twitter is up a stunning 81 places and Thomson Reuters is up 21 slots. What sets these two companies apart from other media companies--all of whom are better suited to winning the buzz game on social networks because they're often creating the buzz--is the frequency of updates. Both outlets produce fresh content constantly, and as Huddleston explains, even little tweets count. "Twitter is the defacto syndicator of information," says Huddleston who expects the two to top the charts soon. 

There's something appropriate about Kraft climbing 13 places to rank 13 in this week's rankings--they've been a bit unlucky lately. Earlier this week, Kraft voluntarily recalled about 137,000 units of Velveeta macaroni products due to "wire bristle pieces" being found in the packages. A recall of this size is never good news for a company, but the conversation it started gave Kraft the opportunity to engage on social networks and do some damage control which adds up to good news for their place in the Social Business Index rankings. Interestingly, the recall gave Kraft a chance to test their evolving social media strategy. This Mashable report from Thursday explains how the company has been trying and succeeding to make their macaroni brands Facebook and Twitter friendly.

Methodology: 

Dachis Group powers the design, development, management, and measurement of Social Business performance in the marketplace for the world’s leading companies. 

The Atlantic Wire takes a snapshot of the rankings on their Social Business Index at the close of business on Thursdays.