When I was overwhelmed one afternoon not too long ago, a wise woman gave me a piece of advice I take everywhere I go.

When faced with an overwhelmingly large to-do list, think about it this way: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.

The same sentiment applies to social media.

First, you are confronted with the three major (and dozens of supplementary) social media platforms. Which one should you choose? How frequently should you post? How do you post? What are the rules? How does any one person manage all of this?

Each of those questions are valid, but they should not prohibit you from using social media. Nearly every new initiative begun by an organization has questions like this. Social media is no different.

So your CEO just came to you and said “let’s get on social media.” What do you do? Well, every situation is different, but here are some common sense tips that social media professionals can implement no matter their situation:

Find your audience- what are the demographics of your organization? That will inform what social media sites you should launch. We’ll talk more about this in next week’s blog, but a good guideline to the “big three” is typically this: Facebook is for Generation Xers and older, Instagram is for millennials (particularly female), and Twitter is for older millennials, Generation Xers, and skews male.

Consolidate your content- Before you launch, you’re going to want to start gathering potential content. Build a portfolio of pictures, videos, and articles from your organization that you can start to post. Once you start on social media, it is imperative to post frequently to build momentum. Now is also the time to gather a brand-appropriate profile picture and cover photo.

Build the pages, but don’t advertise- Once you have settled on a medium and consolidated your content, it is time to create the account(s). Flesh out every aspect of your page before it goes public, including the about section, review section, profile and cover photos, and contact information. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform. Both Twitter and Instagram are very easy to operate, but Facebook has many features, so take your time. As you finish fleshing out your page, create your first post. This can be as simple as an image/graphic and the statement “we’re excited to officially launch our *insert social media platform! Join us for the latest news, information, and events from our organization. We’d love to hear from you!”

Notify your coworkers- You’ll want a solid follower base before you take your pages public, so notify your coworkers and ask them to “share” the page on their own social media account. Be sure to invite your friends to like the page as well!

Follow relevant accounts– At this point, you are almost ready to launch. Before you do, be sure to follow relevant accounts from your organization’s new account. For example, if you are a restaurant in Hartford County, follow other restaurants in the area, news outlets, weather reports, local sports teams, and established entities.

Launch the page– Time to connect your social media to your website, send a press release, and advertise your accounts beyond your organization! If you have the budget, place a small paid advertisement on your page (particularly if it is a Facebook account). This will give you the boost you need to start growing!

Build a content calendar- Okay, so you’re launched, you’re growing…now what? Now its time to post consistently. Even if it is just once a day, consistent, relevant content is how you are going to continue to grow. The best way to hold yourself accountable is to make yourself a spreadsheet of what you are going to post each day. With Facebook Scheduler or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts well in advanced, so use this feature!

This blog is getting way too long, but this should be enough to get you started. As always, please send me any questions, or contact me for help at grossocommunication@gmail.com.