If you are a brand marketer or running a business, the instant messaging app can be one of the important channels to reach out to your customers (and the other way around).
In most parts of the world, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the de facto channels for brands to consider, while WeChat and LINE official accounts are only popular in certain countries.
How about the third most popular chat app in the world (and also in Malaysia)? As a business, have you considered using Telegram for your brand?
Read on to find out more about how you can use Telegram for your business.
Telegram channel, group, bot for marketers
For a start, businesses can opt to set up Telegram channels, groups, or both, then explore bots to automate communications. Let’s find out which one is the best for your business.
Telegram channel is a one-way broadcast communication as your subscribers won’t be able to interact and respond to your messages (unless you set up bots).
On the other hand, any group members are able to send messages to a Telegram group by default. You can set privileges by individual admins and members though.
Both Telegram channels and groups can be set as public or private depending on your need. You can also link a group to your Telegram channel.
How can businesses use Telegram?
Telegram channel is suitable for any business in general, from brands, retailers, e-commerce, media, public figures to key opinion leaders.
As you can imagine, Telegram groups only make sense if you intend to enable members’ interactions, for example, group buying, direct selling, local business, etc.
Obviously, businesses can use Telegram to blast marketing messages in rich formats to their channel subscribers or group members.
Brands can take Telegram marketing to another level by launching stickers (made popular by LINE), similar to what you see on many other messaging apps.
Consider deploying these bots if you plan to use Telegram to serve as a customer service channel. You can even use Telegram to collect payments!
Top 10 Telegram features for businesses
1. You need just one app or interface to chat (as a user) and manage (as an admin), no separate business app or interface is required to manage.
2. You can access Telegram from almost all platforms – Android, iOS, Windows PC, macOS, Linux, and even from the web interface. Everything is synced!
3. There is no maximum threshold on the number of subscribers for Telegram channels, while Telegram groups allow up to 200,000 members.
4. You can add members from your contacts (e.g. your existing customers) directly to join your channel or group to have a base to start with.
5. You can set and customize admin privileges easily, and enforce 2FA for a higher level of security if required.
6. You can send or schedule unlimited messages anytime you want – no messaging cost, no 24-hour rule like Facebook.
7. Unlike most of the other messaging platforms, you can edit the messages even after broadcast, this will be very useful to correct any errors.
8. All the messages can be viewed across all platforms, new subscribers or members can even view the past messages published before they join. A message can be pinned to the top as an intro or announcement.
9. Open APIs are available especially if you need to develop bots.
10. Most importantly, everything is free on Telegram! There is no cost required to set up channels, groups, stickers, bots, and send messages.
Telegram vs WhatsApp vs Facebook Messenger
While you can use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger as a customer service channel, it is not that straightforward to use the platforms to blast marketing messages.
Remember the 24-hour rule mentioned earlier? Facebook can be very strict on how businesses are using its messaging platform.
WhatsApp Business is meant for small businesses to communicate with their customers, while bigger brands are using WhatsApp Official Business Account (a.k.a. WhatsApp Business API, which isn’t free) mainly for customer service.
To get the context right, chat apps are meant for users to communicate with each other, not for marketers to spam user messages like how you are receiving those junk SMS.
However, instant messaging apps can be an effective way to reach your customers – if done right. With its rich features, Telegram is that open platform “free” for you to unleash your messages creativity and connect with your audience.