Generating sales from social media can be as easy as posting photos of delicious food or enticing experiences—but what about businesses with products and services that aren't as glamorous? Should B2B companies have a social media strategy?

While it’s true that people may not first discover a B2B company on social media (over traditional B2B strategies like email marketing, cold calling, and Google SEO/Ads) it’s

likely that they will eventually seek social media for validation during their buying journey. Little or no activity on a social media account for a period of time may signal to a potential customer that a company is not staying current, and may be the difference in winning or losing a sale.

The following is a step-by-step guide for how to create a B2B Marketing Strategy for 2019:

Decide what to post

The first thing B2B companies need to do to create a social media strategy is decide what they are going to post. The goal is to create consistent, rotating “categories” of content that people will begin to associate with the brand. As an example, Makeshark, a small business marketing agency in Worthington, Ohio, decided on six rotating categories:

1. Shark photos

2. Business quotes

3. Team photos

4. Video segments

5. Design mockups

6. Brand images

This doesn’t have to be an exact science—consistency is what’s important.

Decide how much to post

Next, B2B companies need to decide how many posts you are willing to create, since this is for validation, not sales. A good baseline would be one post a week, or four posts a month on each of the major social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Google Business (automation tools make this easier, which are discussed below).

Make a spreadsheet

There is a lot of fancy social media calendar software out there, and a B2B company can easily spend $500 a month for tools like HubSpot, but a simple spreadsheet will do just fine. Then, create the following columns: “Month”, “Order”, “Content Type”, “Text”, and “Hashtags”.

“Order” is the sequence of that post within a given month. If a company decides to post two times a month, the order will go from “1” to “2” and repeat each month.

Example:

January | 1 | Shark Photos | “Fish are friends, not food” | #sharks #findingnemo

January | 2 | Team Photos | “Meet Dustin with Makeshark” | #columbus #teamphoto

February | 1 | Video Segments | “Small business marketing agency” | #614 #digitalmarketing

Create hashtags

Hashtags help people find new content from pages that they don’t already follow on social media. Instagram lets businesses include up to 30 hashtags, and since users can follow hashtags, it is important to use all 30 (or as close to 30 as possible).

Display Purposes is a great tool for finding high-traffic hashtags. Just enter a hashtag,

and Display Purposes shows 30 related, high-traffic hashtags. Not all the hashtags will be

relevant, so try combining a few different searches. When done, paste the hashtags next to the corresponding “Content Type” in your spreadsheet.

Example: January | 1 | Sharks | “Fish are friends, not food” | #sharks #findingnemo

Create images

The easiest way to create original, bulk content that is consistent is by using Adobe Illustrator. Start by creating a new file with the same number of artboards as the number of posts that were decided on. Then, once inside the file, rearrange the artboards and set the columns to the same number as the content types—this way each type is in the same column.

Create text

After creating all images in Adobe Illustrator, it’s time to go back to the spreadsheet and write a witty caption in each one of the corresponding text cells.

Example: January | 1 | Sharks | “Fish are friends, not food”| #sharks #findingnemo

Schedule posts for the year

Now that all content is created, the last thing to do is schedule all posts for the year to free up time for more sales oriented marketing strategies. Socialpilot is a great go-to software because it can post to all of the major social media platforms, including Google Business, which is becoming a major player for local business SEO.

Dustin Pearce is a Digital Marketing Expert at Makeshark in Columbus, Ohio. Dustin has helped small businesses to increase SEO by 414 percent and grow online sales by over $500,000 annually. Previously Dustin helped build national brands like Hulu, Kroger, Huffy Bikes, and Orbit Gum.