NEW YORK: Brands in the grocery, fashion and retail categories are currently attracting the greatest number of followers on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, a new report has found.

Famecount, the online research firm, conducted a study to ascertain which companies were most effectively connecting with consumers via these social media portals.

Starbucks took the top spot overall with an index score of 69.2%, having long been regarded as a pioneer in terms of leveraging emerging digital platforms to engage its target audience.

The coffee house chain now has more than 7.5 million fans on Facebook, over 900,000 followers of Twitter and 6,588 on YouTube.

Coca-Cola was in second on 53.1%, having recently revealed that its approach to social media is based on the "4Rs" - reviewing, responding, recording and redirecting.

At present, 5.7 million netizens are tracking the soft drink giant's activity on Facebook, while just 29,261 are doing the same on Twitter and 7,628 on YouTube.

Skittles claimed third on 48.2%, having previously redesigned its website so that it only featured relevant user-generated buzz from a range of new media services on its homepage.

Some 4.8 million people had signed up to express the fact they "liked" the confectionary brand on Facebook, with 2,608 receiving its "tweets" on Twitter and 738 affiliated to is YouTube channel.

By contrast, Whole Foods, in fourth, has primarily built its social media success on Twitter, where 1.8 million consumers have registered their interest in the natural and organic grocery chain.

One of the main reasons for this result is that the company often uploads unique deals which are restricted to this group.

Its network of advocates on Facebook has reached a more modest 260,000, while 1,362 web users have joined its dedicated page on YouTube, giving Whole Foods an overall total of 47.6%.

Oreo, Kraft's cookie line, completed the top five, with 4.7 million supporters on Facebook, falling to 1,400 on Twitter and 7,400 on YouTube.

Red Bull, in sixth, has made the biggest impression on YouTube, with nearly 69,000 people having taken on the status of "subscribers" and viewing a variety of interviews, ads and extreme sports clips.

This is supplemented by the energy drink's four million fans on Facebook, and contributed to its final rating of 47%.

All the other members of the top ten had considerably larger fan bases on Twitter than Facebook, with these figures standing at 1.7 million and 51,000 for Zappos, the online retailer, respectively.

JetBlue, Dell and Woot all similarly boasted around 1.6 million followers on Twitter, but none had more than 250,000 fans on Facebook.

Elsewhere, Victoria's Secret made two separate entries into the top twenty with both its trademark brand and Pink extension receiving large amounts of attention on the web.

Threadless, Etsy, H&M and Zara were among the other fashion operators to make this list, as did Adidas, the sportswear specialist.

McDonald's, the restaurant chain, also formed part of this cohort, as did Southwest Airlines, the air carrier, and Windows Live Messenger, which is run by Microsoft.

"It is interesting to see established offline brands perform so strongly," said Daniel Dearlove, the founder of Famecount.

"Social networks are helping them to tap into wider audiences and strengthen communications with existing consumers."

Data sourced from Famecount; additional content by Warc staff