CEO Marcel LeBrun on how companies should listen, monitor and engage with customers
I‘m still getting out from under the atomic dustbin that is my home office. It’s been an insanely busy year, from the relaunch of Socialmedia.biz as a distributed consulting firm to the launch of Socialbrite.org as a nonprofit learning hub to my organizing the Traveling Geeks trip to London last July, so I’m just now getting to a number of fantastic video interviews I should have published weeks ago.
I sat down with Marcel LeBrun, CEO of Radian6, the well-respected social media monitoring company — he calls it “a listening and engagement platform,” which is an apt way to describe it — at the 140 Character conference in New York. Another in Jeff Pulver’s Twitter-centric 140 Character conference series is taking place in Tel Aviv today.
— Marcel LeBrun
Often, brands start out by trying to use interruption-based push marketing approaches on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t work. “More and more companies are realizing that the social Web is transforming how they interact with customers,” LeBrun says. “They’re starting to listen to those conversations and engage.”
Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo
In our chat, LeBrun describes the Yellow Brick Road for brands — a five-step strategy that companies should apply when entering the realm of social media:
• Step 1 is listening. Your brand becomes the sum of the conversations about your company.
• Step 2 is where you move to the responding stage. “You need to let people know that you’re listening,” LeBrun says.
• Step 3 is where you move into full participation once you understand what your customers are saying about you.
• Step 4 is the stage in which you tell your story. “You give people a glimpse into the passion behind your vision and the people behind your company,” he says.
• Step 5 is where you take a broader look at your company’s place in the sector and “start contributing value to the kinds of things your community cares about,” he says.
Social media and ROI
LeBrun reminds companies that when incorporating social media, return on investment must be based on your business goals. “The social Web is moving its way into every business function that touches the customer,” he says. That includes customer support, PR, marketing, sales and other areas. So you have to look at social media in context: What does it cost to do customer support with social media vs. customer support with a traditional call center?
There’s a dizzying array of both paid and free social media monitoring services in the marketplace today. Nielsen Buzzmetrics and TNS Cymfony are among the other big players in the space; LeBrun says their specialty is providing research reports and in-depth analysis of influence metrics over time, while Radian6 is more focused on conversation engagement on the real-time Web.
Based in New Brunswick, Canada, Radian6 helps brands aggregate all the conversations taking place about your brand — in blogs, on video sharing sites and social networks, on micro-networks — and then helps you analyze those conversations and determine how to respond. It offers a Web-based dashboard that lets you set up topics, offers metrics around those areas of interest and then provides workflow tools to help you assign tasks to different colleagues or employees so that you can record who’s engaging with whom.
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- More on using Radian6 to collect Video Views (webmetricsguru.com)
- Is Social Media Worth Your Time? (blogs.harvardbusiness.org)