Baidu Tieba – learn how to use it to build good e-reputation in China!

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It’s no secret that the Chinese love their social media and forums. The number of monthly users for platforms like Wechat, Weibo, and Zhihu more than proves this fact. While the aforementioned sites may be popular, the (arguably) largest online community in China is no other than Baidu Tieba.

If you’re a brand or business operating within or outside the country, it would be prudent and beneficial for your organization to take a look at Baidu Tieba (百 度 贴 吧) being a worthy alternative to the other massive platforms available.  Other platforms may get you a ton of followers if you play your cards right, but Baidu Tieba will get you right in front of your target market if your strategies pan out.  Why don’t we discuss Baidu Tieba further so you have a good idea of what you can take advantage of? 

A quick recap of the Baidu search engine ecosystem

Baidu Tieba belongs to the Baidu ecosystem. We’re pretty sure that you’ve heard about Baidu search engine and its massive market share in the search engine industry. Baidu search engine accommodates about ⅔ of all the search traffic in China and that gives you a very good idea of the potential of its online community.

Baidu works like Google and almost everyone that looks for some website, information, photos, and so on, will type the query in the Baidu search engine. In June, the Baidu search engine reached 632 million monthly active users, up 8% year over year, and daily logged-in users reached 84%. Baidu is 5th on the list of the most searched websites in the world when it comes to total registered users and search queries.

Main features and sub-sites offered by Baidu

Just like Google, Baidu offers many services and features with the purpose of making searching the web the most intuitive, simple, and fun as it can get. Just like Gmail, Youtube, and Google Maps, we can find many different features and sub-sites created by Baidu for users’ comfort. They range from maps, video apps (Youku), news, encyclopedias, online libraries, insights, a Q&A platform (Baidu Zhidao), cloud storage space, and more. One of these services is also a forum community; Baidu Tieba.

Baidu links all of these different functions together, forming a big ecosystem of different tools that users can use while being logged into their Baidu account. While Baidu brings the majority of the traffic to its sub-sites through its’ search bar, they allow users to get more tailored services without having to install an actual app on their phone (although they have the option to do so).

Here are some of Baidu’s services in China:


What is Baidu Tieba?

Baidu Tieba is a platform developed by Baidu, where people can form communities centred by specific topics, just like forums, that in the West are already perceived as something outdated. In China forums are still popular and many people use them in daily life to talk about their interests, find product recommendations, make friends and more.

Baidu Tieba was launched in 2003 and since then it became one of the most popular platform for online communication in China. This centralized interest network community attracts Chinese netizens to post articles and form individual communities centred about specific topics, such as fashion, games, politics, beauty, movies, social issues and many more.

According to Statista, by the end of 2021, Baidu Tieba accumulated about 44.8 million active users. That’s a lot of potential clients or customers that you can reach, and you can target them easily to boot. Especially true when you look at the traffic of the website, for instance in December 2021, Baidu Tieba registered 466 millions visits! As of 2021, there were more than 23 million communities on the app.

What does Tieba mean?

Backtracking a little bit, what Tieba means? Well, Tieba is a made-up word that roughly translates to “let’s post.” The word is also then used as a suffix for the forums on the website which then gives it another meaning, i.e. forum or group. 

What are main advantages of Baidu Tieba?

So, of course, being an online forum, its primary function is to connect people with similar interests, but there are two main qualities that set it apart from its main competitors (aka Zhihu):

  • Baidu Tieba is, of course, backed by Baidu and has the capability to rank its forums high on searches and give it a lot of visibility to online users.
  • Baidu uses search keywords that effectively segment online users’ interests accurately. 
Baidu Tieba
Baidu Tieba site

These are two massive advantages of Baidu Tieba and something that not a lot of its competitors can easily replicate even if they try. Most of the traffic on Baidu Tieba comes from Baidu searches (accounting for around 40%), while direct traffic comes only second with 24% of traffic. This means that a bar (sub that you might know from Reddit) or Tieba post that ranks well on Baidu can get a lot of organic traffic.

Most popular Baidu Tieba categories

There are many popular categories on Baidu Tieba with millions of Tieba posts centered around countless specific Tieba topics. It won’t be a surprise when we say that one of the most popular categories with hot posts arousing attention among young people in China is celebrities.

Users of Baidu Tieba love to talk about stars and recent events or dramas in China, just like many people do in the West (let’s not pretend we didn’t follow the divorce of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard ;)).

There are many popular categories that brands can easily penetrate and get a glimpse of what their target market wants or needs currently. This can serve as a shortcut for your market research and give you tremendous data on the ever-changing taste of your ideal client which will help your marketing strategies tremendously. 

Those categories include fashion, beauty, travel, food and cooking, and many more.

Main features of Baidu Tieba

Here are some of the unique features of Baidu Tieba that you may integrate into your strategies as you build or grow your brand in the China. 

Its Interactivity and content-driven nature

What’s interesting about Baidu Tieba is that it’s not really a platform that is user-driven but it’s rather content-driven. That means that you don’t have to be a Chinese KOL to get the favor of the algorithm or keep your topics busy.

Once you put up content that’s interesting and resonates with your target audience, it will be kept alive and your posts shared by other users and interest groups will drive more traffic to your topic. The platform allows for engagement and interactivity and you can post anything on it from Q&As to short stories, videos, and so on.

And, on top of it all, everything is live. For your part, your content can’t be just something that you post and ghost. You need to be active on the platform to keep people interested in your company. It requires a lot of work but, but as we mentioned previously, it should all pay off. 

Baidu-Tieba - chinese social media and forums

Baidu Tieba has a vertical structure with a ‘Tieba host’ guarding each topic

What does having a vertical structure mean and how will this help you in your strategies? Well, this means that each Tieba is governed by its Tieba host as its main coordinator. Tieba hosts are moderators and administrators of each community.

How to become a Tieba host?

To become a Tieba host, called Bazhu, you need to have a good reputation and a lot of good content and positive comments. But, when it comes to foreign brands, you can try creating a niche topic, like a community centred around your brand that has its own Tieba host. This way, you will be able to moderate your Tieba and have insights on customers of your brand.

Having your own Tieba is one of the most efficient ways to build good e-reputation, as you can respond to comments, engage with your audience and understand its’ needs when it comes to your brand.

Access to the local communities

The largest advantage of Baidu Tieba is the access to the local communities through its billions of users. And, of course, what better way to interact with them than by knowing the varying jargon used on the platform?

You need to know about words like experience points, level, Tieba host, Tieba rules, add to digest, and friends list. The experience point system that Baidu Tieba utilizes is the indicator of your tenure or, more accurately, your seniority on the platform. You can boost your experience points by logging in to the platform consecutively, posting, replying to posts, organizing a poll, participating in a poll, and engaging with others.

Once you’ve accumulated enough experience points then you may level up and boost your seniority in the platform even further. Every time you level up, you will get a special privilege reward. You will also get status badges according to your seniority to show to everyone. 

Lastly, you can connect with other Tiebas by adding them as friends. This will further promote interactivity within Tieba. 

How can foreign brands take advantage of Baidu Tieba in China?

You can take advantage of the various categories and different functions of Baidu Tieba. There are films and TV programs that are a haven for researchers. Please do take note that there are a ton of Western culture-related discussions on these Tiebas, too. For investors that are on the outside looking in, this can be a place to take advantage of.

There are also interest groups for gaming pros as well as book lovers. Also, not all Tiebas are for shared interests but there are also ones that are created for shared social purposes. One thing you have got to know about Chinese consumers is that they like a brand with a narrative. You can use Baidu Tieba for story-telling and branding, so that Chinese consumers will know your brand and will be more willing to check it on other platforms.

Baidu Tieba is one of the best tools to build e-reputation in China

It can be simple yet complex to build your reputation in Baidu Tieba. There are two things that you need to do, one is that you need to do a lot of work. Second, you need to always create fresh and creative content on the platform.

To build credibility in Baidu Tieba you need to engage with people. Engage on other posts and not just your own. Make sure that your biography is as accurate as it can be and directly tells people about who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. What are your products and services?

Nike Tieba
Ads from Nike on Tieba

Make sure to keep your messaging clear through your content and make sure to keep in step with the latest trends. Always remember that high-quality posts will win at the end of the day. 

Please also take note that aggressive ads or being too pushy with your offerings will just, in turn, push users away from you. Being too sales will also be counter-productive. Patience, as they say, is a virtue. We think that that applies to working on building your reputation on this platform. Organic content will always play in your favour more than ads in the long run, especially when it comes to China’s forums.

Baidu Tieba: our conclusion

Baidu Tieba is definitely a platform and online community that businesses and brands cannot overlook. If they do, then they’ll not only miss out on the massive following but also on the opportunities that may have come their way. Baidu Tieba may not offer immediate rewards and may need a ton of hard work to fully understand and implement your strategies, but it’s definitely worth the hard work and patience.

Localized communities take time to understand, but take note that you may not have the same access to them on other social media platforms or online forums. So, what is it that you’re waiting for? Start exploring and taking advantage of Baidu Tieba now.

Need help with your online reputation in China?

Baidu is the Chinese giant that all foreign brands should use in their favour but it’s not the easiest platform. There is no english version of the website, and the resources for foreigners are limited. What is more, anyone wanting to sign in the website, will be asked to provide his/her phone number during registration. Therefore, many international companies might get stuck in the process.

Because of that we believe that it’s better to seek the help of professionals in the field. We are a China digital agency with more than 10 years of experience on the Chinese market. We worked with many companies from different industries, helping them with market entry, Baidu web-design, social media strategies, public relations, logistics and many more.

If you need assistance in proliferating your brand or business into the massive market of China by reaching out to specific communities, contact us today so we can start bridging the gaps ASAP.

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