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 20 stayed put for the most part, with Viacom staying at the top spot. The top mover was Zynga, which rose one ranking to No. 4, though it should be noted these rankings were tabulated before the social gaming company's flop in the market today. Procter & Gamble climbed one spot, as well, to No. 9, and are positioning themselves quite nicely for the Olympics. But here were some of the more interesting moves lower down the list:

Leave it to geeks to turn Twitter into a chat. Geeknet, which owns a lot of really cool websites like Slashdot and Freecode, had one of the biggest jumps of the week thanks to some savvy tweeting. "ThinkGeek teamed up with ModCloth to host a virtual chat and trivia game." Dachis' Kate Rush Sheehy told us. "While ThinkGeek always does a great job of engaging followers, solving Twitter customer service issues, and posting on-brand content, the Twitter chat was so highly participated that it boosted engagement with their content 6 percent."  This is a sampling of how geeky things got: 

Exactly. (In case you were wondering, Ms. Lovelace is often credited as history's first computer programmer.)

Foot Locker set itself up nicely heading into the Olympics, and given the social media guidelines they have to adhere to--it wasn't easy. Forbes has a great list explaining the "blackout" rules and whatnot that the IOC has enforced. Sheehy told us how Foot Locker got maneuvered in and around those rules. "Foot Locker has been soliciting Instagram photos of fans’ shoes for the past couple of months as a part of their 'Kickstigram' engagement campaign. Recently, they’ve begun asking fans for very specific images - either to celebrate a certain athlete or to capitalize on Instagram’s popular #ThrowbackThursday." Sheehy said. She adds, "As content topics have become Olympics-relevant, engagement has increased 5 percent week-over-week."

And finally, we come to Epic Games which shot up 12 spots since last week's rankings. Some of that, we reckon, is some leftover excitement from the E3 video game convention last month when the company announced the fourth installment in its Gears of War series, Gears of War: Judgment. And though that game isn't being released until next year, Epic took advantage of the buzz by hosting a #Gearsweekend event (with some in-game features). The Dachis Group's Allison Squires tells us, "#GearsWeekend is drawing buzz on Twitter and Facebook, with the majority of conversation happening on the Gears of War Facebook page,", adding that the page has over 35,000 likes.
 

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