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 top half of our Top 20 has stayed the same, but it looks like we have a party crasher in the form of Unilever--the company that brings us things like Dove soap, vaseline, and Ben and Jerry's.   The NFL has surprisingly stayed still even though its season has gotten underway, while it seems like EA couldn't hold onto that Madden momentum. Here's how things look outside of the Top 20:

Let's make this simple: Limited owns Victoria Secret, which helped boost the company closer to the Top 20. What's not as easy to explain is how Victoria's Secret did it.  Nope, the Fashion Show isn't until November. And nope, as the Dachis Group's Cameron Marshad tells us, it wasn't due to Fashion Week or Fashion's Night Out. So what gives? Well, it all boils down to giving people a choice. "Victoria’s Secret has posted a number of photos showing two items they sell, asking the viewer: 'This Or That?', with links to each item shown. These posts garner between 20k and 70k Likes, as well as 1k to 5k shares," says Marshad. And just in case you were thinking it, the "this or that" don't always feature models in underwear. 

Subway is giving a lot of things away, and when that happens people want of course want in. The reason they're being so generous, is because they're celebrating their "Subprize Party"--marking the company's birthday. Marshad points us to this video which has garnered some 1 million views, which is good. But there's still room for improvement, she says. "Posts like these are published on a daily basis...Each post garners roughly 2k Likes and 50 Shares," says Marshad, adding that they've only tapped the surface when it comes to engaging their fanbase. Marshad explains, "Subway has only managed to engage 1/160th of their audience roughly 100k 'People Talking About This' compared to their 16m fans." 

Tata! Ta-ta! That's fun to say! You're probably familiar Tata's signature brand, Land Rover, which helped boost the company up the ranks this weeks. No, that commercial which featured a competing bird photographers doesn't seem like the reason (Seriously, we'd love to meet the ad genius who thought "Buy this Land Rover because you like taking picture of birds!" was a good idea), but rather, as Marshad explains, Land Rover parlayed the oft-criticized Google+ into social media clout (klout?). "Land Rover has utilized Google+’s various photo features, specifically in a post showing the evolution of the Range Rover which showcases beautiful photography using the slideshow feature. This post was ‘plus’d’ nearly 90 times," Marshad told us. So what's that mean exactly? "The great thing about Google+ is its effect on search results. When Google+ connections of those people who have +’d this post search for “Land Rover”, this slideshow will appear in the search results."

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.