eBay clinched the No. 1 spot among the top 50 ranking of social brands, for most effectively and consistently engaging customers via social media channels, according to Alterian's inaugural Social Media Reputation (SMR) Index. Apple was second on the list, followed by Google, BlackBerry, and Amazon.
The SMR Index gauges brands' social effectiveness using a scoring system consisting of two elements: reach (social noise around the brand) and satisfaction (popularity). Also factoring in the "recency" of social interactions, the index then ranks companies on a scale of 1 to 100.
With a score of 92.29, eBay's win over Apple (88.61) and Google (87.00) was likely the result of the auction site's long-standing use of customer forums (starting in the late 1990s), corporate blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, according to the report.
Among other social tools, eBay has adopted Facebook's Open Graph so customers can split the cost of a gift and pay for their share via Paypal. The company also takes a social approach to internal communications, featuring blogs, forums, and discussions boards on the company intranet.
Below, the Top 50 Social Reputation Index (SMR) Index, developed by Yomego.
Overall, the tech sector dominated the top 50 brands: BlackBerry took the No. 4 spot (85.25), followed by Amazon (83.58).
In the No. 6 spot was Gucci (83.55), the highest ranked non-tech company, followed by Ford Motor (81.67) and MTV (81.55). Other tech brands, Samsung (80.06) and Yahoo (79.18) rounded out the top 10.
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"This research shows that brands that rank the highest are those that engage with customers through the right channels, listen to what they are saying, and respond to them transparently and effectively," said David Eldridge, CEO of Alterian.
"Surprisingly, brand giant Coca-Cola, which is ranked in first position in the Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking system, has come in at 24th. Even though the company has implemented a number of social media tools to engage with customers, both consumers and businesses, it goes to show how important it is to engage with their audience in the right way."
About the index: Each brand was given a ranking based on its Social Media Reputation (SMR) score measuring the social media "noise" around a brand (how many people are talking about it) with its popularity (if mentions are positive or negative), and "recency" score, which provides a topical adjustment (i.e., a brand that is being talked about now has a higher recency score than one talked about in the previous six months). Human analysis is applied to each score to ensure it is accurate (to take into account sentiment such as sarcasm or slang that could be wrongly interpreted by an automated system) and to analyze relative influence of various channels. Scores were tabulated using data up to January, 2011.