How Can SMBs Drive Value From Social Media?

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This week while attending CRM Evolution – which once again surpassed all expectations – I had the pleasure of sitting down with TheaterMania, a New-York based Sugar Professional customer that’s looking to take their CRM initiative to the next level.

During the course of flushing out details around reporting functionality and an additional rollout to include customer service, an interesting social CRM angle surfaced that nicely highlights how smaller SMBs are trying to get their arms around the business values that can be derived from the Twitters and LinkedIns of the world.

In TheaterMania’s case, that includes YouTube and online reviews. The company is a consumer destination site for theater information and tickets for Broadway, Off-Broadway and theaters nationwide. Content includes listings, editorial coverage, newsletters, reviews and video content. Like any multimedia site, consumer driven content and reviews is beginning to become a sales engine for the industry.

As our CEO pointed out, TheaterMania is looking at another layer of inbound lead generation that’s being driven by the social Web…being able to track online community reviews of Broadway musicals and shows while at the same time redirecting some of those conversations back to TheaterMania….but without having to reinvent the social wheel on their own site via custom-built forums. Rather they’re looking to map and garner what’s already out there.

I think issues such as these are representative of the business initiatives that smaller companies are starting to engage in to drive value from social CRM. Social CRM can be a daunting undertaking, so the real question becomes how does an SMB with limited IT resources and bandwidth drive value from it? It comes down to starting off small and working your way up by picking and choosing those battles that a company can afford and can win, and based on those experiences, continue to expand outwardly as the business environment dictates.