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.

Google kept the top spot this week on the index, with a solid lead on News Corp. who rose to take No. 2. just ahead of National Amusements, a a global movie theater empire, which to take No. 3 from longtime holder Coca-Cola in what was a weak week for the beverage industry on the whole. Facebook wins the prize for the biggest climber at the top of the index this week, climbing 12 spots to No. 10, though based on what we know about Facebook's performance, it doesn't take much on the company's behalf — even a new company blog post can mobilize its gargantuan user base. A pair of newcomers in the top 20, the BBC at No. 11 and Sony at No. 14, turned our heads with striking performances during a time of both economic turmoil in Europe and an early rush to holiday shopping everywhere. Though its further down in the ranks, NASCAR is the big winner this week, with an impressive 44-rank jump to No. 64.

Making their first appearance in our top 20, the BBC is surging up the index on the heels of aggressive, breaking news coverage, notably the ins and outs of the European debt crisis. "While news coverage of other topics (i.e. Michael Jackson's Doctor's guilty verdict, Joe Frazier's death, and debate over the United Kingdom's border policy) garnered considerable engagement, they pale in comparison to the volume that the news from Club Med generated," Dachis analyst Joe Pinaire explains, "The fallout from BBC's barrage of tweets on the interconnected subjects garnered much attention from their followers, who amplified and weighed-in on the resignations." Meanwhile, news broke this week that Dr. Who, the BBC series with a massive, weird and passionate cult following, would be made into a feature film. We'd venture a guess that the fanatics for firing up the conversation and building some brands love helped the BBC's ranking as well.

With Black Friday just a week away, it's no surprise that Sony has been ramping up engagement in order to get a jump start on the holiday shopping season. With an active global network of serious gamers at their fingertips, Sony is focusing a number of these efforts on Playstation products. "Several PS games have come out in recent weeks and releases are planned through Black Friday," Dachis analyst Kate Sheehy told The Atlantic Wire. "As new games have come out, the brand has kicked up the number of outgoing brand posts and tweets over the past several weeks, albeit only slightly." Sheehy continued to give due credit to Sony's massive Facebook and Twitter presence. With its 18 million Facebook fans, and 1.1 million Twitter followers, Sony's ability to double-down on driving conversation when the time is right makes total sense. In related news, the PS3 turns five-years-old on Friday. Happy Birthday, PS3!

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing — aka NASCAR — enjoyed a gangbusters week on its many social media channels. While NASCAR has long touted its social media prowess and encouraged drivers to build their own followings, this surge was all about the timing. "The jump coincided with the last races of the season — the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," explained Sheehy. "NASCAR was busy firing off messages right and left across their social pages — on Facebook they posted invitations to each race and commentary after each event was over. They also tweeted play-by-play commentary of pre-, during-, and post-race happenings." The conversation will surely continue through Sunday when NASCAR crowns this season's champions. Having recently put into place a five-year plan that includes a strong focus on digital and social media, the organization also operates its own social network for superfans called NASCAR Nation. At the community portal, fans can upload photos and videos of race day fun and earn badges for doing so. There's also an area for so-called "Missions" which basically amount to targeted requests for uploaded content. The prize? More badges. With tons of different sharing options, the growing library of user-generated content keeps NASCAR buzzing. It's nearly 300,000 Twitter followers and 2.4 million Facebook fans don't hurt.

 

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.