To some social marketers, a blank social media calendar is like a blank canvas.

To others, it’s a source of social anxiety and stomach ulcers.

If you nodded in agreement at that last one, then you’re doing it wrong. With the right strategies and know-how, you’ll come to find that brainstorming for social media is way easier than it may seem.

Try a few of these strategies at your next brainstorming session, and we promise you won’t be needing that Pepto Bismol by the end of it.

1). Look at the social media posts that have worked well in the past.

What better way to see what your audience loves than by looking over the content that they’ve already expressed interest in? Think of those top-performing posts as examples that you can follow. They’ll show you exactly what you can do to create successful content in the future.

In addition to showing you what did work, looking at old posts will also help you get a better idea of what didn’t work. Use low-performing posts to your advantage by avoiding the same mistakes in the future.

2). See what your competitors are doing (and do it better).

Your competitors are adapting and evolving to the internet. Can you afford to fall behind?

Use the feeds of your enemies to your advantage. What are they doing that your not doing yet? What sorts of concepts work for them? And how can you do it better?  

Whether it’s an extensive gap analysis or just a quick scroll through their social media activity, you’ll find that exploring your competitors can be a massive source of creative inspiration.

3). Make an inspiration folder.

Whenever you come across something you like on the web, you should be saving it in a folder on your desktop. That way, you can come back to it easily whenever you’re running low on inspiration.

It doesn’t have to be brand-related. It could be something that you find eye-appealing, like a catchy headline, the framing of a photo, or the tone of an article. Chances are, if you liked it, there’s a good reason for it. And having access to these likable concepts will help you harness the strategies behind them.

4). Give Birth to a Big Idea

You’ve done it. You’ve created a revolutionary theme or concept that’s going to rock your social media world.

Or have you?

It’s easy to get hyped about something that you and your co-workers have poured over for hours. But your customers may not feel the same way. You’ll need something big to really rein them in. So what separates a good idea from a BIG idea?

A big idea breaks through cliches and transcends the norm. It uses concepts that have already been used well and uses them better. It adds a fun and creative twist on well-known themes. And it follows this simple formula:

Emotionally compelling content + A primary promise + Unique mechanisms + Intellectually interesting concepts = BIG IDEA

So whenever you’re creating content for your social media calendar, ask yourself this: Does it evoke emotion? Does it make a promise that it’s able to easily fulfill? Is it being presented in a unique, non-cliche manner? And will it grab and hold audience’s attention with intellectually interesting concepts?

Follow this simple formula, and your good ideas will grow up to become big ideas in no time.

Your organic reach is about to get a whole lot better. Now that you’re well-equipped with these pro-level tips, your next social media brainstorming session will be a breeze.

Bye bye, stomach ulcers. You’ve already got this one in the bag.