Growing Social Media Engagement with Bali Buda


Bali Buda is an island institution, with a chain of restaurants and shops that have been selling healthy food and wellness products since the 1990s. I recently spoke with Bali Buda’s Social Media Manager, who incidentally, is also the owner’s seventeen-year old daughter, Jasmine. Brenda Ritchmond, the owner, encourages her children to join her business in their particular areas of interests: the eldest sister manages the Sanur location and another sister, a keen baker, helps create new recipes for baked goods. Jasmine’s interests lie in social media, so she has assumed the role of running Bali Buda’s various social media channels, primarily the Facebook and Instagram accounts.


LA: How did you start running the social media for Bali Buda?

Jasmine: I started because I knew we didn’t have [a social media presence] and I was the social media gal in the family. I’ve been managing it and growing in organically.


LA: When you say you were the social media person, what do you mean by that?

Jasmine: I was the most active social media user in the family.


LA: How did your Mom feel about you taking over the role, given your youth?

Jasmine: She had some doubts [initially]. So far, I’ve proved that I’m pretty all right with the role.


LA: What kind of successes have you had? What are you most proud of?

Jasmine: Reaching the 10,000 followers mark on Instagram. Growing the followers overall [on all the social media channels.]


LA: What do you focus on?

Jasmine: I’m trying to focus on engagement between Bali Buda and its followers. Building a relationship with [our customers].


LA: How do you do that?

Jasmine: I’m trying to get followers to have a conversation in the comments or focus on what they are interested in. Then they’re more active on the account. Also, the more engagement [you have with your followers], the more Instagram rewards you with [higher positioning]. They’ll give you more attention on their site.


LA: What sort of questions do you ask people?

Jasmine: The most simple ones. The most easily answerable questions, like, ‘What’s your favorite drink today?’ Or, ‘How are you doing?’ Or, ‘What kind of solution would you like to start?’ Very simple questions that will catch people’s eye and be easy to answer.


LA: Do you tend to get certain types of feedback from your followers or do they ask questions all over the place?

Jasmine: For more personal questions, they will privately message us. But most feedback is ‘Oh, I love your products and the info you give’ or they’ll be coming soon to Bali … many of our followers are tourists and are planning to visit our outlets when they come to Bali … they say they are excited about coming to visit us.


LA: Do people leave feedback about specific feedback and products?

Jasmine: Definitely. If I post about a certain product, they’ll tell us how much they love it.


LA: Do you get people complaining on your social media feed?

Jasmine: On Facebook, they will usually privately message us [with complaints] instead of [leaving negative comments].


LA: What are your favorite aspects of Bali Buda’s social media channels?

Jasmine: I love getting photos [of our products or stores] from travelers and bloggers, particularly the beautifully aesthetic photos that professional bloggers take … that’s my favorite part.


LA: Tell me about any relationships you’ve built with bloggers or travel writers.

Jasmine: Usually, they come to us for collaboration. Sometimes, you can create a friendship [or lasting collaboration]. Both of you can get something of benefit [from the relationship]. Bali Buda can get more views from their followers, crossing over [to our site.]


LA: Do you pay bloggers?

Jasmine: It depends. If they’re here for the long run, sometimes we do. If they’re just passing through, and just want photos to share with their viewers, then sometimes we give them free meals.


LA: Do you find that building those relationships has increased your social media following?

Jasmine: Definitely. Especially, if has to do with giveaways.


LA: Do you do giveaways at Bali Buda?

Jasmine: Not much on our accounts, but if bloggers want to do giveaways, we can help [promote them.]


LA: What would you like to do with the Bali Buda social media in the future?

Jasmine: Grow a bigger engaged group of followers, as that’s a good marketing strategy in this [digital] era.


LA: Do people come into Bali Buda and give you feedback about your social media?

Jasmine: It usually works the other way. They see the Instagram account and then come into Bali Buda because they’ve seen us there. Or Facebook.


LA: What do you wish more people knew about Bali Buda?

Jasmine: The values that we try to [promote]: real food, organic food, our sustainability programs and the charity work that we do. There’s quite a list of what we do [in the community] and we do put that out there sometimes.


LA: On your own, you are involved in youth development and environmental programs … like the Clean Up Bali initiatives. Is there cross over? Do you use Bali Buda as a platform to publicize your own environmental work?

Jasmine: Usually, if the other organization will also publicize an event, then Bali Buda will do cross-promotion.


LA: Do you use any social media analytical tools?

Jasmine: Instagram has a new feature for its business accounts that will tell you where your followers are from, what gender and how much engagement and new followers you’ve gained the past week.


LA: I know Facebook offers the same tools to its business accounts. So you primarily use the free analytical tools that Instagram and Facebook offer?

Jasmine: Yes.


LA: Do you do your social media posting in real time or do you use any type of scheduling service?

Jasmine: Facebook has a scheduling service, which I use. Instagram doesn’t yet. With Instagram, I just post when I can or at times when you have the highest number of people using the site.


LA: Do you see yourself making a career in social media?

Jasmine: Yes, I’ve actually thought about it and I do know people who do this for a living. I could definitely do social media as a side job [regardless of what else I do in the future.]



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