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.

Last week was characterized by big movers and stay putters, but lately, the Social Business Index is dominated by little shifts. Facebook regained the top spot from Google after with the launch of its buzz-worthy but buggy iPad app. Twitter continued catapulting up the ranks, making it into the top three for the first time. And as caffeine-powered beverage companies held their own in the top ten, Dr. Pepper surged to No. 19, breaking the top twenty for the first time thanks to a controversial, some say sexist ad campaign. There's nothing like a little anger to fire up a social marketing campaign.

Facebook flipped into the top spot this week ending Google's three-week-long rally. It's been just as long since the social network announced some major upgrades like the Timeline and frictionless sharing features, and the data crunchers at the Dachis Group say that Facebook's partners are partly behind the shift in momentum. The deeper integration is on display with Facebook's new partnership with eBay. "The partnership between eBay and Facebook, which allows third parties to build new social shopping experiences for consumers and retailers, offers a new and customized way for people to shop online," Dachis analyst Allison Squires says, who gives Facebook a nod for "staying ahead of the curve and giving customers something to talk about. Facebook's new and buggy iPad app announced this week, is another example.

Jumping eight slots to take the bronze slot this week, Twitter is the Social Business Index's most valuable property, lately. Having only been added in September, Twitter's rise to the top has been meteoric, however, good news keeps coming for the micro-blogging service. This week, the launch of Apple's iOS 5 with Twitter integration boosted Twitter's brand. Twitter had been neck-and-neck with fellow newcomer to the index, Thomson Reuters, but the Dachis Group says the Apple news sent them over the edge. "When people wanted to talk about iOS 5 or Steve Jobs, Twitter was more often included in that conversation than Reuters," says Squires. "Additionally, Twitter has the upper hand in audience size, with over 10 times the following of Reuters."

With the launch of their new diet soda marketed to men this week, Dr. Pepper makes its first appearance in the top 20 since we've been watching the Social Business Index. As we noted last week with Kraft Foods wire-bristle-in-the-macaroni scandal, controversy makes food good conversation. The new "not for women" Dr. Pepper has stirred up skeptic since the company announced it back in February, but the official release sent people to watch the commercials and comment on YouTube, yell about the sexist approach on Twitter and share their thoughts on Facebook. "Needless to say, its interesting angle to declare that the drink is only for men, therefore isolating over half of the population, but it seems this tactic is driving a buzz battle among the sexes," says Squires.

Wal-Mart was struggling a couple of weeks ago to stay in the top five and now it looks like they might be on their way out of the top ten. The Dachis Group tells us that they're fading on Facebook, but the big box retailer has an ace up their sleeve for the Halloween candy season. "The brand has announced that it will have a local Facebook page for each of its 3,600 US stores," says Squires. "This will likely have a positive effect on social performance--and on their score."

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.