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The major players in technology ranked highest in the first 50 Top
Brands in Social Media league table from Alterian, a social media
marketing specialist. In the No. 1 spot is online auction site
eBay, which ranked ahead of computer maker Apple, which placed second.
Google, RIM’s BlackBerry and Amazon rounded out the top five.

eBay beat big guns Apple and Google due to the company’s long standing
engagement with their customers through forums, which were introduced
in the late 1990s, corporate blogging, Twitter and Facebook, the report
noted. Quick to adapt to new social media offerings, eBay has adopted
Facebook’s Open Graph so customers can split the cost of a gift and pay
for their share via PayPal. The report noted the company also takes a
social approach to internal communications, featuring blogs, forums and
discussions boards on the company intranet.

In 6th position, Gucci was the highest ranked non-tech company,
followed by Ford (7th) and MTV (8th). Other technology brands
rounded out the top 10–Samsung placed ninth in the rankings and
beleaguered search engine company Yahoo took the 10th spot.

The social media data and analysis for the index was provided by
Alterian’s social media analytics tool SM2. According to David
Eldridge, CEO of Alterian, the research showed 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.

“Surprisingly, brand giant Coca-Cola, which is ranked in first position
in the Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking system, has come in at
24th,” he said. “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.”

The Social Media Reputation Index was developed by social media
specialist agency Yomego. Each brand was given a ranking based on its
SMR score which measures the social media "noise" around a brand (how
many people are talking about it) with its
popularity (whether what those people are saying is positive or
negative). It then adds a "recency" score, which provides a topical
adjustment (so a brand that is being talked about now has a higher
recency score than one talked about last six months ago).

Human analysis is then 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 different channels. The brand is then given an overall SMR
score out of 100.