Founded in 2000, Baidu has grown to become one of China’s most innovative web service companies. With over 40,000 employees around the world, the internet provider is a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) design and also develops widely popular social networks and mobile apps.
Social media and more specifically influencer marketing have become an essential part of the company’s global advertising strategy. We spoke with Yin Lin, Global Marketing Manager, who oversees the promotion of Baidu’s Facemoji Keyboard to social media users worldwide. Read on to learn more about how Lin uses influencer marketing to drive app downloads and promote Baidu to a global audience.
1. Tell me a bit about yourself and Baidu (e.g. brief company history and highlights, your role, etc.).
Baidu is the world’s leading Chinese-language internet search provider and is one of the biggest tech firms in China. The company was founded in 2000 by our CEO Robin Li, with the mission of providing the best and most equitable way for people to find what they’re looking for.
In May of 2017, we updated our mission statement for the first time in many years to highlight our belief in the power of AI, and our dedication to creating new and intuitive ways of interacting with the world. Our new mission statement is: “Making a complex world simpler through technology.”
I represent Baidu’s Global Business Unit (GBU). GBU develops many popular apps for users outside of China. We always aim to create innovative products that are fun and easy to use, and that people truly enjoy.
As Global Marketing Manager, I handle online and offline marketing campaigns for our mobile app (Facemoji Keyboard) and develop specific marketing plans and programs that focus on social media to increase brand awareness and app downloads.
2. Since its founding in 2000, Baidu has grown enormously! How has Baidu’s marketing strategy changed as the company has evolved?
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that Baidu is an enormous company with over 40,000 employees around the world, and I can really only represent a small sliver of everything we do. In our business unit (GBU), we focus pretty much exclusively on users outside of China. That means we need to have a solid grasp on what’s happening across a wide swath of countries and cultures, not only technologically but also in terms of people’s lifestyles and online habits.
Because of this, our marketing technique is constantly evolving. I can tell you that a staple of our efforts has always been social media including Facebook and Twitter, and those platforms probably won’t lose their efficacy anytime soon.
A more recent trend that we see across all geographical regions is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is absolutely huge and is quickly becoming a core element of our overseas marketing efforts.
Related Post: The 13 Biggest Influencer Marketing Trends For 2018
3. As Global Marketing Manager, how do you effectively craft Baidu’s image on social media to connect with a diverse range of people? What are the key considerations in your overall social strategy?
We learn as much as we can about our existing customers. What things motivate them to download our apps? How often and in what way do they use our apps? What benefits do our apps bring to them? What is the user experience with our apps? Why do they share our apps, and if they don’t share them, why not? What would they like our apps to offer? What differentiates our product from that of our competitors? Why do our customers use Facemoji Keyboard vs. other keyboard apps?
The list goes on. My focus is on Facemoji Keyboard, but we take into account these questions and many more for all of our products.
In addition, we also look at reviews in the app store on a regular basis. For example, we saw that many people could easily express meanings and emotions with Facemoji Keyboard. People always struggle to express meaning and emotion on the internet, however, with Facemoji Keyboard, they can express their mood easily without any misunderstandings.
4. For some companies, influencer marketing is their primary or sole advertising strategy. For others, it’s part of a larger social and digital push. How does Baidu approach influencer marketing and how do social media influencers fit into reaching consumers at scale?
Influencer marketing is a direct way to attract users. It is also an efficient way to enter the target market quickly and reach a genuine audience. To me, it is a sure-fire way to market our apps as influencers have already built a trusted image in the industry. The impact of influencer campaigns is greater than just watching a commercial or reading an article.
Previously, we did video campaigns on YouTube only. Now we’re also marketing on Instagram. Instagram Stories are short and can directly link to our app download pages. When people watch YouTube, they may skip the commercial part. But Instagram Stories are different. They’re a quick way to advertise your product.
Also, we strive to make our videos as creative and fun as possible allowing influencers to think of a way to play with our app functions within their sponsored video. For example, a rap influencer could make a rap video that talks about our apps and presents them in a funny way. Being creative and playful is an important part of getting audiences to watch, engage, and share videos.
5. How has creating influencer-specific Facemoji stickers driven the success of your Facemoji Emoji keyboard and Hahamoji mobile apps?
We collaborate with each influencer to create their own influencer-specific Facemoji stickers. As a result, each influencer authentically promotes, uses, and integrates their Facemoji sticker within their video content creating a fun and natural dialogue with their audiences.
When users see their favorite influencer’s stickers, they’re excited to engage in the dialogue, motivated to download the app, use the stickers, and share them with friends on social media.
6. Looking ahead to 2018, any upcoming projects, initiatives, or launches we should be on the lookout for?
We generally like to surprise our users with new campaigns, so we’ll stay light on the details. You can expect to see more awesome giveaways, tie-ins with some of your favorite online personalities, and more!
7. Anything else you’d like to add?
It was a pleasure taking this interview!
This interview has been edited for clarity.