ROI_SMGraphics_LG I was treated to a demonstration of the Radian6 platform the other day and was able to see for myself the level of functionality and capability of the product.  It showed me just how far this technology has come and instilled in me thoughts about how far I think it can go.

Mind you my involvement in advanced applications and enterprise solutions spans a few decades, having worked with Computer Associates handling large accounts for database and development tools and then handling a global responsibility with MicroAge for enterprise systems management (ah… I remember Paris…)

That perspective combined with time in using and consulting in the use of social media applications has given me a perspective on what organizations large and small will need to show a positive return on the investment they make in media that leverages social components.

Listening In this episode, Marcel and I talk about how there can be experts when the application of social media as a foundational strategy in marketing is only months old.  I agree and he points at a previous conversation between us where I suggested that when anyone calls themselves an ‘expert in social media,’ to just run the other way.

Here at the Social Media Bible, we’ve listened a lot, learned a lot and have tried a lot.  Our experience is growing, but we will be the first to say that we think there is a lot more to be discovered in how to use social media in a business context.

Marcel suggests that there is something more important than the mechanics of just setting up an account somewhere and diving in.  He suggests that when you fail to listen first, you miss the conversations that your brand cares about.  You need to listen first to hear what is it your community talking about.  He encourages listening for your brand, listening to the community and listening to your competitors before you try to respond and engage.  Only when you understand the conversations and can add value in the interaction can you start telling your own story and doing so in the context of the conversation.

Guy Powell has returned from Southeast Asia and adds his comments about how the community overseas is moving to more fully embrace social media and speculates on how a brand can be put at the same level as the individual in the online conversation by raising the level of trust.

Play / Download Marcel LeBrun Episode 4 Podcast Here

To support the effort in uncovering the ROI question in social media, we’ve set up a Fan Page at Facebook, a LinkedIn Group, a Google Wave and a special discussion group on the Social Media Bible Ning site.  Come join us and let us know what the pressing issues are in your efforts to determine an ROI in your social media presence.

Here are links to the previous segments in this series –

Episode 1 – How Social Media is Affecting The Fabric of Corporate America

Episode 2 – Hold The Phone!  The ‘Social Phone’ that is

Episode 3 – Three Levels of Involvement and the Different Models