Strategists and full-time social media professionals sit comfortably within digital marketing agencies or in-house teams developing campaigns, managing online communities and producing creative ideas that generate virality and connect with consumers via social media. Planning is essential and consideration at every level of the campaign is required in order to effectively deliver results.

The starting point of this approach is to audit the social landscape, understand the conversation taking place about the brand online before a social media campaign can begin. Conducting a social media audit will ensure that your brand or product enters the online conversation just as you would do in real life – knowing the context of what is being said. The primary purpose of a social media audit is to determine the conversational landscape, as most of the content you distribute will be geared towards the people in this landscape you need to find out what they are saying.

We have written a Social Media Audit white paper about how best to go about conducting a listening audit, which has also received coverage in the Guardian Media Network.