B2B companies using social media have been overshadowed by their B2C counterparts for a long time. And in part that’s because B2Bs have thought social is just not as relevant to a company with a smaller client-base, with whom far deeper relationships are neccessary.

But this view is changing – and many B2B companies are starting to leverage the opportunities that social offers them.

B2B companies are finally grasping the importance that social media can have on business performance – and the positive impact it can have on the bottom line. 79% of B2B companies now use social media on a daily basis. 64% of B2Bs have a dedicated social media team and 58% say that budgets will be increasing throughout 2012.

This all indicates one thing – that B2B social media is now a valid tool for engagement, for marketing – and for generating income.

But B2B is still very different to B2C

That doesn’t mean that the challenge is the same as for B2C companies though. There are a different set of priorities, different approaches needed, and a different – and often far deeper, level of engagement.

B2B marketers often work in smaller teams, with fewer resources, and harder-to-find target audiences. But there’s still that pressure from the C-suite to get it right, and to start pushing leads down the sales funnel and converting them to income.

Finding B2B companies who have done this stuff right is hard. And B2C case studies – while interesting – just aren’t relevant enough. A case study from Whole Foods Market about social media marketing might give you some insight on how to engage 20,000 Facebook fans with their product – but the rules of engagement are different, and so are the challenges.

This is where I can hopefully help. On my return back to the office last week – having recently returned from #CSMNY – I stumbled across some great examples of companies embracing the power of B2B social media and I thought I would share them with you.

Taken from last year’s B2B Corporate Social Media Summit, the case studies are from Siemens and Microsoft.

Siemens will look at external engagement – and more specifically, the right platforms for you to put your resources into. And Microsoft’s case study shows you how they have approached measurement – and how to track the impact of their social engagement.

You can get both case studies at www.usefulsocialmedia.com/b2b/content.php

Or if you would rather talk than read – then connect with me at @HRollasonUSM or drop some feedback in the comments below!

This post originally appeared at Useful Social Media.