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.

 
After last week's moving and shaking list, this week's social media rankings were a bit more stable. At the top, Sumner Redstone's National Amusements still has the top slot, after knocking Disney off the week before. And it finally looks like Microsoft has shown signs of slowing down, dropping a slot to 13.  Even though the lower half the of the top 20 shifted a couple spots here and there, there weren't any new additions to the list. But there were some big moves which involved some companies going green and some green companies going after hipsters to boost their social media momentum. Let's have a look:
 
 
 
 
At first glance, you'd think the companies getting the biggest push from Earth Day and the green-centric month of April would be conservation-oriented. You know, save the animals, cut down on your energy--all that greeny good stuff. Well, despite not being one of those companies you first think of when thinking "green", GE, in all its appliance-making glory" parlayed the green idea into social media momentum thanks to its eco-centric focus on the company's ecomagination Twitter account  (82,512 followers and counting). Not only did the company hit on the topic of green-friendliness, someone over at GE " then responds to every user who replies to their tweets, showing users that there’s a person behind the account and that they aren’t just asking questions for question sake - they really care about the responses, attitudes, and ideas of their community," says Dachis' Kate Rush Sheehy, adding that community engagement is a tried-and true formula for social media success. "By generating authentic discussions and remaining a part of those conversations, GE gains a very unique position in the hearts and minds of the people in its social communities. "
 
 
See, putting Charles Barkley in drag and plucking his eyebrows did work! Okay, fine, we'll believe you that it's bikini season and there's one company (aside from bikini makers) that is looking to profit from your desire for warm weather (and your blazing insecurities. "Weight Watchers capitalized on this diet-inducing season in social and moved up 12 spots the Social Business Index to 108 overall," Rush Sheehy tells us, pointing to the company's  very share-happy Facebook page. "Over the past month they’ve nearly doubled the number of Facebook posts they push out to their nearly one million fans. If you look through the page, many of the posts are garnering close to 800 shares, with "Success Story" posts (which feature before and after photos) roughly doubling that number.  Granted, the comments range from armchair dieters being judgey on looks to those gleaning true inspiration from the "success stories", but Sheehy notes: 

Taken as a whole, Weight Watchers’ content strategy has been a real win for the Facebook community. With other communities like Pinterest having such success in categories like Fitness and Weight Loss, it makes a lot of sense for a relevant brand to hop on the bandwagon and surface similar content for their audience. 

Just don't call it thinspiration.
 
 
 
Welcome to the top 100 Heineken--our summer parties and the social media list are glad to see you here. The funny thing is, as Dachis' Liz Coutney points out, is that Heineken's week actually started of pretty terrible. And by pretty terrible, we mean, dog-fighting terrible. The details are a bit shady, but there's a photo of a dogfighting ring flanked by Heineken banners that's been circulating. As Yahoo's Claudine Zap points out, its Facebook page was bombarded with people upset with the image. So how'd they turn this around? Well, Courtney points that instead of pretending like it didn't happen, the company thanked social media channels and its fans for bringing the incident to their attention. That allowed the beer providers to focus on other events like Earth day and Milan Design Week.  Heineken also got a push from a "branded experience" at the Coachella festival this month, showing that it is possible to break hipsters from their PBR ways.
 
 


Attention: Avon ladies are not obsolete. "No longer restricted to making house calls in their pink automobiles, Avon reps can now share the gospel of the makeup brand through social media," says Dachis' Courtney. It sort of makes sense with the height of the Haul Girl phenomenon and the never-ending bevy of YouTube makeup tutorial videos, that Avon would get hip and put its own mark on this social media and sharing trend. Check out their Facebook page, and you'll find, as Courtney noticed, "Makeup tips, links and videos posted by Avon get an unusually high number of 'shares'  for a brand with under one million fans. The muscle behind that secondary reach is the advocacy power of Avon reps who regularly re-publish Avon Products content on their own Facebook pages."  That all resulted in a growth of 10,000 new fans for the makeup company, nine spots in the rankings, and success that some businesses wouldn't mind seeing in their own social media strategy.