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.

The Social Business Index is getting a good shakeup as 2012 leans into spring. The top twenty is seeing some new companies, including World Wrestling Entertainment. There's otherwise big movement in the bottom half with companies like Time Warner, Discovery and Mars slipping half a dozen ranks. Otherwise, the warm weather is leaking into marketing campaigns, as consumers start to think about fun sun activities, like sports and ice cream. 

Remember wrestling? The fake sport company WWE (formerly WWF) that hit its peak popularity in the 1990s is surging in social media this week thanks to innovative uses of the theatrical elements that make wrestling entertaining in the first place. WWE jumped 16 spots on the Social Business Index this week and is now in the top ten. "This week’s lift was catalyzed by two television events (Wrestlemania and Monday Night Raw), but what really caused the rankings shift was the interplay of current and past wrestling legends on the screen combined with an online content blitz," said Dachis Group analyst Brian Kotlyar. And blitz is a perfect word to use, as WWE didn't necessarily do anything particularly innovative in order to build buzz around their events. Their social media team was just plain diligent and efficient. The company tweets roughly once an hour -- a mix of links back to photos and videos and retweets of WWE wrestlers' content -- and updates its Facebook page at least half a dozen times a day. The frequency and well balanced variety end up giving voracious fans just the excitement they crave.

Sometimes weird works. Vodaphone shot up 18 spots to No. 28 on the Social Business Index this week, thanks in part to a pretty unusual but seemingly very successful advertising campaign called Vodafone Zoozoos. While some TV commercials are in the mix, Vodafone Zoozoo live on Facebook and they're humanoid, quasi-real life cartoon characters. Vodaphone promoted the campaign heavily this week and fans tended to respond with thousands of likes. There's a heavy focus on sports -- especially cricket -- and so Vodaphone's able to link the Vodafone-branded Zoozoos to current events in a pretty graceful fashion. More traditionally, the company saw huge engagement with a get-well-soon post for injured cricket star Sayed Yousuf Shah in Egypt. Coupled with contests and regular postings about pop culture, Vodafone managed to get people talking which, for a telecommunications company, is exactly what ought to happen.

This was the week of Instagram and Wendy's managed to get a boost in the rankings thanks to a single photo. Zooming up 14 ranks to No. 103, the fast food chain simply put an Instagram photo of fries dunked in a Frosty on Facebookand fans responded in droves. Nearly 7,000 of them in fact. What really helped is posting the photo on Wendy's subsidiary Frosty page for its two million fans to see. It wasn't so much that the picture was pretty, Dachis analyst Allison Squires explained: "Both the Wendy's and the Frosty Facebook pages appealed to their audience through this picture by sparking a playfully delicious debate." But seriously have you ever tried it?

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.