The ROI Problem: Why Social Media Week 2015 Wasn’t a Strong Event for B2B

socialmediaweekThe seventh annual Social Media Week was recently held at the Highline Stages complex in New York City, allowing businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the world to convene for five days and discuss the growing importance of social media trends in nearly every industry.

Small Business Trends reports that there were about 11,000 attendees at this year’s event, which occurred in late February, not counting the additional virtual attendees who tuned into lectures through a livestream network provided by a free app.

There were plenty of high-profile speakers and business representatives at the event and plenty of opportunities for small businesses to network, but one thing seemed to be missing: a substantial place for B2B marketers to convene and discuss how social media content distribution is actually becoming one of the most important strategies in B2B marketing.

Even though one of the event’s recurring discussions focused on the recent Federal Communications Commission’s ruling on Net Neutrality — i.e., a major national decision about accessing information — these Social Media Week discussions often turned back to analyses about how businesses can, and should, be able to share data with consumers.

Is it really surprising that B2B didn’t hold such a prominent spot at the event? Probably not: Even though AdWeek has recently stated that nine out of 10 B2B marketers see social media content distribution as an important way to gain exposure, there are still many challenges that B2B marketing firms face when it comes to social media.

Difficulty proving ROI, a lack of time to spend on distributing original written content, and not having a solid social media sharing plan are just three of the biggest challenges that B2B marketing campaigns face, AdWeek states. Poor understanding of social media organizational structures and an insufficient audience on social media websites are the next two most prevalent problems.

Considering that Social Media Week is essentially a convention for people who understand the importance of social media and already know that their target audience (i.e., consumers) are heavily influenced by social media marketing, it’s no surprise that B2B marketers weren’t among the top speakers at the event.

“We notice from our experiences in the industry that social media often gets ignored a lot. Many B2B marketers think that it doesn’t matter,” said Aaron Abbott, Director of SEO and Analytics for Big Drum. “However, LinkedIn is especially important for generating leads and connections — it’s a social network for professionals. Social media is definitely a tool one shouldn’t be ignoring.”

So was Social Media Week really a good indication of how much social media has influenced B2B marketing? It certainly proved that B2B businesses are more hesitant to jump into social media, simply because the risks are greater than with B2C. But according to a recent 2015 projection survey conducted by, about 66% of B2B marketers are planning on increasing spending for content marketing in 2015, and 64% plan to increase social media advertising during 2015 as well.

In other words, social media tools may not be the easiest strategy for B2B marketing, but they certainly provide enough lead generations and positive conversion rates to hold a spot for future B2B campaigns in the coming year.