Modern marketing teams are focused on generating content that engages the customer and causes them to respond. So content is the what's being said. Social Media channels become the where and how you you are getting your message across. The last part of the 'conversation' is what's being said to you.
And that's where listening comes into play.
In the case of this article, John Foley of Oracle is writing to push a related Oracle product that apparently helps with social marketing. But even so, when you look past the soft sell of the article, he's still spot on - marketing teams need to be listening to the responses of their prospective customers as if each response were the prospect 'saying' something in return. For every clickthrough, like, follow, favorite, etc. a customer performs, they are telling you something about themselves; what is important, what defines their pain, what product they are interested in, etc.
I love this quote from the article:
Social “listening” helps companies tune in to what customers are saying and respond in real time with messages that better reflect their here-and-now sentiments and interests, according to Bradford. And socially-enabled modern marketing delivers information, content, and promotions to on-the-go consumers through whatever channel or touch point they choose.
That last emphasis is mine - customers are not going to go just to your website. They are going to interact as much or as little as they choose using any channel they deem appropriate. That means you need to be both present and interactive on as many channels as you can, based on your social media strategy.
The "real-time" John Foley is talking about occurs when you begin being interactive with your customers. It's the difference between just tweeting once a week and actually involving yourself in a twitter-based conversation with someone.
It's a pretty tough goal at first to engage in real-time - I mean, we all have full-time jobs already, right? But if you're serious, you're going be thinking about how your marketing team can truly create a two-way interaction with customers and not justa one-way socializing of content.