The social media sphere is an increasingly noisy place, especially for brands. But hiding somewhere in the static are strong signals from companies reaching their customers in innovative ways. The Social Business Index from Dachis Group provides a (free) real-time ranking of more than 30,000 global brands based on their social performance. Every week we're taking a tally of who's getting heard, what they're saying, and why it matters.

There's a new king (or queen, or more appropriately in Disney's case, Princess) of Social Media since the House of Mouse has passed News Corp and National Amusements Inc. (CBS, Viacom) to take the top spot on the list (and we'll have more on that in a little bit). As for the rest of the top 20, the only other notable shakeup was Microsoft's surge up the charts. A little under one month ago, we were talking about how the company just broke into the top 40, and now they've surged seven spots into the top 15.  Outside of the top 20, Adobe parlayed the release of a new version of Photoshop into social media momentum, Nestle used Wonka to their advantage,  while Intel played to your social vanities to jump 13 spots.

Intel capitalized on social media's dirty little secret to move up in the ranks: that the thing that makes social media go round is that everyone really just loves to talk about themselves. Aptly titled and sort of sounding like a whine, the company released their  "What About Me" application which, as The Dachis Group's Brian Kotlyar explains,"aggregates a user's social media data into an infographic explaining trends and patterns in their social media usage." (The application told your blogger that he posts far too much about eating and movies.)  And as you may have guessed, Twitter lit up with people talking about themselves, their habits, and were eager to show off their nifty infographics. What contributed to the rest of Intel's bump isn't exactly as exciting or as narcissistic as "What About Me", as the company relied on the tried-and-true method of tacking polls and surveys onto various social media platforms. "This is a classic way to spur significant engagement in a hurry as polls and surveys consistently outperform other types of content from an engagement perspective." 

Adobe's newest version of Photoshop (the sacred tool of bloggers, magazine art departments, and meme creators) was downloaded over 500,000 times in its first week of release, which is quite an impressive number. But its social impact, from the hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and conversations shared by thousands on Facebook and Twitter dwarf that number. In a way, Adobe's social media push does make sense in that plenty of Photoshop's users would be inclined to publicly weigh in on the product considering so many bloggers, journalists, and media types (the kind of people always crowding up your social media feeds) rely heavily on the product. "The unique nature of Adobe's audience absolutely played a role in the brand's success this week," Kotlyar adds. "Adobe's constituency of Web-oriented and design-focused followers gives the company a leg up whenever they make a major announcement or launch a campaign."

The hype-machine for Disney-Pixar's, latest movie, Brave has begun (it helps main character is totally into archery just like the Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen) and it won't be soon before Disney's loyal fanbase starts chatting. But the bump that Disney needed last week to take the top spot in the social media rankings was thanks in part to its older films: Lion King and Finding Nemo. "Last week one particular image of a beloved character, Bubbles, garnered 42,946 likes, 959 comments and 2,815 shares," Dachis analyst Allison Squires said, pointing to Disney's expansive and extensive viral reach. Squires does mention that many of the comments and shares that Disney images produce are the equivalent to "Squuuuuueeee ________!!!! (insert name of beloved tertiary character)". Disney's boost was also helped by ABC family showing the classic and hand-drawn Lion King last week, which ushered in the release of its sequels on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download. 

While the first three of our movers and shakers gave you something to play with, gaze at and brag about, Nestle actually moved up this week by taking something away. By announcing that they were revamping the chocolate in Wonka bars, they turned the existing and soon-to-be extinct remaining bars into a hot commodity, and churned out a viral marketing ploy aimed at brand loyalists and those with a weakness for novelty, which they dubbed the "Last Chocolate Giveaway."  And one more thing that you may not have possibly known about Nestle and its products, there's apparently an underground cabal whose only goal involves running the coffee-drinking world and plotting whole milk's demise a Coffee-mate advocacy group known as the Brew Crew which helped hype Free Flavor Friday (sorry, it was on March 23rd), where people inundated Coffee-Mate's Facebook page in hopes for a free bottle of the creamer.  "One example of the Brew Crew’s advocacy in action is when they tweeted about the event, commented on blogs, and wrote Facebook posts proclaiming their love for various flavors and their gratitude for free Coffee-mate," Squires told us, adding that Nestle's combination of promotion and announcements "are a solid recipe for social success."  Having the candy-consuming holiday known as Easter right around the corner also helps. 

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 others. The index, which currently covers approximately 25,0000 companies and 27,000 brands, detects behaviors and activities exhibited by these companies and 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 end of the day on Sundays.