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.

The holiday season is an interesting time for social media. Though the Top 20 looked pretty steady once again, with National Amusements holding on to the top slot for the third week in a row, followed by News Corp. and Google, the companies that doubled down on the holiday excitement managed to earn big dividends. Complex Media -- not Nike -- won big by capitalizing on the excitement of a new Air Jordan re-release and boosted its rank on the Index, while other holiday-friendly companies like the video game studio Electronic Arts and the milk-and-cookies stars at Oreo, a Kraft brand, made impressive gains as well. Elsewhere in the Top 100, Apple and HTC both saw huge gains due in part to a lot of conversations being had on social media about a court ruling that will ban HTC devices in the United States next year if HTC doesn't stop infringing upon an Apple software patent. Then again, smartphones and tablets are without a doubt on a lot of people's wish list for the holidays. We just want a strong glass of eggnog, a warm fire and a good book. 

Sometimes just going big works wonders. Complex Media, a self-described "online advertising network for 20 something males," has one of the most sprawling social presences out of all the companies in the Social Business Index, and standing on the shoulders of Michael Jordan, the firm managed to climb a dozen spots and nudge its way into the top 40 this week. The bulk of the success can be attributed to the insanely viral re-release of the Air Jordan Concord, due to be released Friday night at midnight. "The biggest sneaker release of the year, is creating Apple-esque lines in front of Footlocker and Champs," Dave Mastronardi, an analyst at the Dachis Group told The Atlantic Wire, adding that Complex's 120 active social accounts includes one particularly buzzy one around the release of the Concords. The account for the sneaker news site KicksOnFire.com has exploded with the help of the Concords hashtag (predictably, #Concords). Mastronardi added, "The re-release of arguably the most popular pair of Jordan’s ever manufactured is creating lots of nostalgia and buzz in the Twitterverse from the twenty-somethings who first fell in love with the shoes watching Jordan lead the bulls to the 1995 to '96 NBA championship." He's not kidding. Police had to disperse crowds in some Northern Virginia malls on Friday morning due to the chaos.

Guess what: kids love getting video games for Christmas, Hanukkah and the non-denominational holidays. This in mind, Electronic Arts (EA) kicked its social media team into high gear climbing a stunning 44 slots to break into the top 100 and settle at No. 91. Mastronardi attributes the success in part to well-run Twitter accounts for individual games like the Need for Speed and Deadspace. The campaign for the former, at least, is pretty ingenious. "@NeedforSpeed has taken its Dr. Pepper Code Giveaway to Twitter. Fans must follow the brand in order to receive a randomly tweeted code providing access to game bonus points and special autos," Mastronardi explained. "The time-sensitive nature of the promotion -- the first of 62,400 followers to enter the code wins --  keeps followers on the page and constantly engaging the brand for clues to when the next code will be released." On Facebook, EA saw some solid success with tis sports titles, as fans get psyched up for the Bowl games during the holidays. Madden NFL 2012, for instance, is running a holiday giveaway that requires both a Like and Comment in order to qualify. A single Michael Strahan jersey has so far earned nearly 4,000 Likes and Comments. And even though only one of those fans will win the prize, all of them will receive updates about EA Sports in their Newsfeeds.

Guess what, round two: kids also love eating treats around the holidays. That whole milk and cookies for Santa thing? Kraft's Oreo brand is working that, and thanks to a successful Facebook campaign, Oreo is helping push the entire company 17 slots to No. 26 on the Social Business Index. In general, Oreo is awesome at Facebook, earning over a thousands Likes and Comments on its consistently frequent posts. Dachis analyst Brian Kotlyar told us that one post with a call-to-action to share, earned "a nearly unheard of level of engagement" with over 14,0000 Likes -- the fact that Oreo has nearly 24 million Fans certainly helps. The updates appear to be the main fuel in the Oreo fun engine as the company posts everything from holiday greetings to recipe ideas to cookie-themed games to -- and we didn't realize this was even a thing -- Oreo art. Also, did you know Kraft released Candy Cane flavor Oreos this year? Over 24 million of the brands Facebook page did.

 

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.