Our friends over at CMSWire recently asked for our perspective on these questions:

“Are there proven metrics to demonstrate ROI from B2B social media marketing campaigns? If so, what are they, do you know case studies of success, and ultimately, is social media a worthy avenue for B2B marketing to begin with?”

We decided to share what we told them with you, too. Here’s what we said:

Social media is a worthy avenue for B2B marketers. As a matter of fact, buyers are not giving B2B marketers much of a choice. They are increasingly turning to social media to learn about solutions that can help them, and then using it to research which vendors they should consider for a given solution.

If you, as a B2B marketer, don’t understand this dynamic is happening and choose to under invest in social media, then you are putting your company at a huge competitive disadvantage.

With that said, there’s no question that generating a positive ROI from social media is a challenge for B2B marketers. I believe this is because most B2B social media initiatives are still in the investment, NOT the return stage.

Meaning, by and large, B2B companies are still figuring out their content strategies, building out social media channels, putting in place the right tools to track and attribute social media results, and learning how to engage prospects in a way that leads to, well, leads. And all of that takes time and isn’t easy to figure out.

Now for those B2B companies that have robust content operations, high quality social channels, and integrated social media and marketing operations, they are absolutely seeing their social media efforts move the dial for their businesses. That means they can measure social ROI in a way that’s consistent with how they do so for other marketing programs.

For example, they can look at the value of referred website traffic, landing page clicks, email signups, etc. coming from social media, and then compare against what they’re investing, and optimize, accordingly.

More advanced B2B companies are also building cost-efficient social media strategies by using contributor content models, leveraging social marketing technologies, focusing efforts on the most relevant social channels and encouraging social participation by employees.

Who are examples of companies doing B2B social media the right way?

My firm’s social insights research on B2B marketers shows that a number of marketing vendors including: HubSpot, Salesforce, KISSMetrics, Moz, and Unbounce are doing a great job of combining high quality content with robust social channels.

Is social media marketing working for them? I’d say so. What about positive social ROI? Getting there for sure.

(You can read the full article that CMSWire did on this topic here)