This week during #bufferchat, we had a blast with Jennifer Sable Lopez, the director of community at Moz! With Jennifer’s insights and expertise, we discussed how to go about developing your audience on social media, from identifying a target audience to powerfully engaging with them. Read on to discover all of the wonderful tips and advice from the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, every week on Wednesdays, 9 am PT/Noon ET/5 pm UTC, for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. It’s a fun time!

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How can you figure out your ideal target audience? How specific should it be?

From Jennifer:

  • You have to start w/ research. Look at demographics & psychographics of current followers, or of competitor’s followers.
  • Think about what makes someone interested in your product, brand, organization?
  • Start w/ finding a few “ideal” folks, then see what they pin, who they’re connected to on LinkedIn, what they tweet.
  • Use (a Moz tool) bio search to see how people label themselves.
  • Create a starting point based on what you find. This isn’t your end strategy, but a place to begin.
  • Wow! I’m absolutely loving all the responses to the first question!
  • Let’s be real though, if you don’t have specific goals set, NONE OF THIS MATTERS.

From the community:

  • “You have to research, look at demographics, find patterns. Your target audience will surprise you. Do. Not. Assume.” @CarrieKintz
  • “Be as specific as humanly possible. You should know your ideal audience just as well as you know yourself.” @sola_eclipses
  • “It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘gut instinct’ — But talking to real people and digging into the data can reveal all.” @TheCoolestCool

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

How do you measure the engagement or involvement of your audience?

From Jennifer:

From the community:

  • “Love . I go off of views and clicks. What content gets more engagement? What doesn’t really work for us? Etc.” @imhappyimsam
  • “Engagement can be measured through tools, but to make the most of that you need goals specific to you/your brand.” @emilyenroute
  • “Don’t measure! Talk to people, and you’ll get to understand what they are liking and not liking! How does it feel?” @MattMadeContent

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

What strategy has been most impactful for you in growing an engaged audience?

From Jennifer:

  • TEST ALL THE THINGS, AND THEN TEST THEM AGAIN.
  • The biggest impact comes from testing, and trying new things!
  • It can be super easy to find a method that works, then just keep doing that. But that will make you go stale.
  • Also, if something isn’t working well, we stop doing it. And test another way. Whaaaaa?! So simple right?
  • I’m loving the talk about being “consistent.”

From the community:

  • “Stop trying to do all the things on all the channels. Use your resources wisely. Choose social networks where audience is.” @denverish
  • “Giving our 100% online audience a place to meet face-to-face with conferences & smaller events.” @emcgillivray
  • “Be a part of the community! Don’t just share and ignore. Join conversations and be an active member.” @Josewats

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

How can you – and why does it make a difference to – identity your social media influencers?

From Jennifer:

  • I’ve recently began to question how much we all focus on influencers. Anyone can influence another person.
  • But when you need to prioritize, “influencers” are a good place to start.
  • But I’m not a fan of only caring about “Influencers” – anyone can influence 🙂
  • One way is to check “influence” though is w/ Social Authority in .
  • BTW Social Authority in Followerwonk focuses on retweet rate of an account. So how often are people RTing their tweets.

From the community:

  • “Track those who respond/engage with you most often. If nurtured properly, they will become the megaphone for your voice.” @Heysarao
  • “There are different influencers in each vertical. Find them with tools like and others and be genuine and real!” @socialeyze
  • “Influencers are like wingmen at a party. They introduce you to the right people and always say the right things about you.” @lafitara

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

How can you activate your most involved audience members to help grow your community?

From Jennifer:

  • Want people to help you grow your community? GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO CARE ABOUT.
  • What is your audience passionate about? YOU need to care about that too.
  • At Moz we focus on giving back to the community as much as (or more) than what we expect from them.
  • I’d like to give a shout out to TAGFEE & how it helps us at Moz be true to ourselves.

From the community:

  • “A quick custom response image is a nice surprise/delight tactic. They become an advocate & share = their followers see you!” @AlannaHonigman
  • “Be authentic, remember them, + provide ways to participate. Real relationships will lead to growth.” @spyder_trap
  • “The most active users in the community inherently grow the community. As long as you add value you will grow with them.” @EliteYouTubePro

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Are there times you feel reaching a smaller audience is more beneficial than a wider audience? Why?

From Jennifer:

  • It really depends on your goals, but a small audience can be highly influential. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
  • Having a small audience means you can be very specific about your actions, content, etc.
  • On the other hand you can use a large audience to help you find segments.
  • It all goes back to knowing your goals and what your org actually cares about.

From the community:

  • “Reaching thousands who don’t care is rarely better than reaching hundreds who will become your greatest ambassadors.” @TheCoolestCool
  • “Regardless of the size, I want to reach the RIGHT people. Smaller can help if you need specific insights.” @lifeofaworkgirl
  • “Being an introvert; as much as I appear an extrovert, I cherish a smaller audience for constructive criticism.” @danielleirogers

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

How do you dig beyond the surface into your audience’s needs and wants?

From Jennifer:

  • Ok this is going to sound crazy.. but… ASK THEM.
  • If you’re having regular conversations w/ the community, you’ll know what they want.
  • What the heck!?!!? It’s already been an hour?!
  • I’d like to thank everyone joining for all the valuable insights! So much awesome going on here!
  • And thanks to for inviting me 😀
  • Don’t forget to check out & my crazy dance: haha
  • This was way too much fun!! <3

From the community:

  • “I am currently reading Ask by Ryan Levesque to help me create a survey to really dig deeper. Great read so far!” @lindsayaleson
  • “Ask via newsletter survey, pay attention to comments, engage in Twitter chats to keep up on trends, meet in person.” @catjohnson
  • “By being transparent with them. Your transparency will lead them to open up and become transparent to you.” @HarmsWayChad

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Jennifer and Moz and to everyone who participated in this great chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern. Join our new Slack community with over 1,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!