Top 100 social brands named: Dell and Nike top table

Launched this morning is the Social Brands 100 table that has ranked the top 100 social media brands and published some key insights all of which you will find below.

No surprise to see Dell at the top it has shown leadership here as has the second and third placed brands Nike (Nike Plus to be specific) and Starbucks. In Fourth is UK mobile brand Giffgaff, which I will be honest and say I have never heard of, and in fifth is BestBuy UK

The Social Brands 100 has found that 99% of the brands in its ranking are active on Twitter, making it the most popular online outpost for social brands. No real surprise. It is in many ways the easiest to get going on. Not necessarily to do well though.

The survey, which ranked brands based on their ability to engage with connected communities, found geo-location outposts are not yet integrated into the social mix with only 22% of the ranked brands using the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla. More interesting still is that 45% of those who have started these using these services are now inactive.

The Social Brands 100 survey was conducted by Headstream over a three month period from November 2010 when nominations were crowdsourced on Twitter.

Are there many surprises in the top 20? Well some less familiar names maybe, but that is probably reflective in part of the different social media orbits we drift in. Aside from surprises there are many brands whose high ranking is well deserved. Innocent Drinks is there for instance at seven, BBC Radio 1 at 12 and Asos.com at 14. Take a look below for yourself and tell us what your take is.

Ten key insights from Social Brands 100

1. Social brands don’t just send messages, they create value for people and communities.

2 Social brands are happy to exchange rigid control of their brand for greater involvement with people.

3 Social brands manage their brands in a more human context. It is less about the word of the brand guidelines and more about the spirit of the brand, often replacing formality around tone of voice in favour of expressing brand character, values, purpose and cause.

4. The types of content that social brands can create categorised as providing
information, utility, entertainment, reward, incentive or something that reflects a person’s character and what they value. Brands are still totems to what we believe,
reflecting our personality.

5. Timeliness of response is a critical indicator of social enablement. Social brands are agile and responsive to the needs of people, relishing opportunities as they arise.

6. Being appropriate in social doesn’t mean using a lot of brand outposts. The use of brand outposts is driven by what is most relevant for the community.

7. Negative and positive sentiment is acknowledged and accepted by social brands

8. Social brands create, develop and encourage behaviours that mirror community or individual behaviours. They meet and exceed expectations, often delighting people in doing so.

9. Social brands are true, compelling, authentic and transparent.

10. Social brands simplify their intent and continually act against it. They have established what they want to achieve and ensure everything builds towards this commitment. To be a social brand you have to be a good brand, a good employer, make good products, provide good customer service and have a moral centre to your purpose by those that represent you.

Researchers quantitatively evaluated a whopping 30,000 tweets, posts, comments and likes and an independent panel of experts scored each brand and social media monitoring partner Brandwatch provided social media data analytics.

Kirsty Weston, head of social communications at Headstream, said: “We wanted to find out what really makes a brand social. The bad news for some is that we didn’t find a simple answer to this question because these brands engage in a diverse range of ways appropriate to their communities.  The best examples, however, do stand out for commercial gains they’ve made from good use of social.  It’ll be interesting to see where social brands sit in relation to geo-location outposts in a year’s time, as they start integrating the virtual and the real.”

You can download the full report on the Socialbrands100.com website to download the full report and you can follow @socialbrands100 on Twiiter here.