Using a Telegram channel for business

24 July 2019

Social media and messengers have not been just a platform for communicating with the family, friends and colleagues for a long time already. It is one of the most powerful tools to promote the brand, which should not be ignored by big companies as well as small businesses. Social media give an opportunity to promote the brand, receive quick feedback and increase customer loyalty. Meanwhile, the majority of companies have their Instagram accounts, Vkontakte groups, Facebook pages or YouTube channels, very few of them still use Telegram for promotion. Let us tell you why it is never too late for creating a channel on this popular messenger.

Why this messenger is useful and promising for business?

You can create your own channel. Using it, a company or a person can provide information about their activity and attract new customers.

The Telegram channel is very much similar to the Facebook brand page, but here the text content plays the most important part. Unlike a simple chat, the channel allows its owner to publish only their posts and attach different content to them.

There are open and close channels. Information posted on an open channel is available for any user of the messenger. A close channel is different, its content is hidden from users who do not follow it. The owner can invite users to their channel or generate a link following which a user also can join the channel. The content posted on a close channel is available to you only after joining it. Some advertisers close their channels, when publishing promo posts, to lower the price for followers and learn how many of them will buy.

All channels are divided into personal blogs/theme-based channels of common people and brand/media channels.

Common entertaining and informational channels cover one or more related topics. For example, music novelties and music album reviews, old photos, audiobooks, goods selections and discount announcements, plane ticket sales, articles on psychology, channels on relationship, sex, and self-development. We can go on giving endless examples. Nevertheless, each channel has its loyal audience.

If common people or public figures create their personal channels on Telegram to express their opinions and share their own or borrowed content, brand channels are completely different. It is one more way of communication with the end consumer, an opportunity to be closer to them and tell about the product in a different way.

Reasons why brands create their channels on Telegram:

  • Instant notifications to users and quick feedback.

  • High reach. The average percentage of “viewing” a post is 60-80%. To compare, the percentage of “viewing” the brand page on Facebook is about 10% of the general number of followers.

  • Affordable advertising. If you choose the right advertiser, the conversion will be higher compared to one on social media if you.

Telegram users know why they follow particular channels. If a person follows a brand channel on the messenger, they are already more loyal than followers on social media and are ready to get information about the company quickly.

When a new post is published on the channel, the follower receives an instant notification. Notwithstanding one can mute channel notifications, the user can see them when opening the messenger. They are marked as unread messages on the chat.

Peculiarities of having a channel. Pros and cons

Before creating a channel and investing money in promotion, you need to answer several questions:

  1. Why create a channel?

When creating a Telegram channel, you should have a goal. In the view of business, the channel helps attract another part of audience, and it is a way of encouraging loyalty and creating a positive attitude to the brand.

  1. How much time should you spend on the channel?

Creating a channel, you should remember that you need to spend enough time on it and provide content to your followers. The quicker the audience of the channel will be growing, the more time you will spend on managing it, creating unique content, communicating with advertisers, and searching new platforms. A personal blog owner can spend on the channel half an hour a day or several hours a day and some time at the weekend, while blogging on the business channel needs to be fully supervised by an SMM specialist.

  1. What to post?

Unique content on your company and interesting fields of activity. Tell stories about your brand or company employees, use different format for your posts (longreads, jokes, texts, palls, selections and so on) and watch the reaction. Before starting, make a posting plan for the coming weeks if possible.

Pros

  1. Interested audience

Those users will join the channel who are really interested in your content and who need it. They are loyal brand admirers and also new followers who have joined the channel to get positive emotions and learn some useful information. Telegram channels are easy to recommend to friends. The more exciting the content is the more people will learn about you.

  1. Quick feedback

If the user does not mute channel notifications, they will see a notification immediately when a new post is published. The user’s reaction on Telegram is much quicker than on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media.

  1. User’s data security

Telegram is one of the safest messengers in the view of information security and privacy of correspondence. That’s why everybody chooses it as a basic one and prefers it to WhatsApp and Viber.

Cons

  1. High competition between personal and business channels

Some people use Telegram on a specific purpose – to “hide away” from advertising and brands following channels on culture and public figure blogs. They looking for “vibrant and true” content.

  1. “Head-on” advertising

Followers of well-developed channels are already used to one-type advertising posts and do not pay attention to them. But there are not many opportunities to integrate advertising into Telegram. However, the price for placing advertising posts is also not so high, so it is a big plus for promoting a business channel.

  1. It is hard to promote your business channel if you have a big advertising budget,

including guest posting and influencers’ recommendations. There are always risks that the channel may “stuck at a fixed point” and stop getting new followers. This problem can be solved by creating high-quality content which makes people willing to share it with their friends, and by giving exclusive bonuses to followers, and by using other methods.

Tips on using the channel

  • Give interesting, high-quality, and exclusive content to your followers. Use copywriter’s help to create content, (and the copywriter should be a specialist at Telegram promotion) if you have an opportunity to do so.

  • Hire a designer or an illustrator to make up and adjust your signature style and imagery. Everybody likes well-designed posts. Besides, your channel can be spotted much easier. And do not forget about your own stickers.

  • Pay attention to personal Telegram blogs. People trust recommendations of influencers. The advertising can be as native as possible, and it can be naturally integrated into the content of the channel.

  • Use outside tools to manage your channel and monitor publications.

Onlypult is a convenient service to manage social media accounts and schedule posts, including Telegram. You can allow access to an SMM specialist or assistant to the full functionality of your account on the platform without giving logins and passwords. It allows the owner to control the specialist without worrying about the personal data safety. In the future, it also gives the opportunity to avoid possible negative consequences related to actions of the specialist whom you stopped cooperate with, and protect your account.

Opportunities of posting on the Telegram channel

It is very simple to create a channel: there is the Create channel section on the main menu. Then you should add a name and a description to the icon (logo) which will be shown to users. Usually people add a link to their website and/or channel manager, contact e-mail, or other social media links to the description. To be short, this is the information about the company or the person which may be helpful to the user.

It is as easy to post to the channel as to send a message to a friend. You can post a link, a photo, a gif, or some other content to the channel instead of simple text. Nonformatted posts will look like simple chat messages. To make your channel look different from other ones, highlight important information, and make posts easier to read, you need to use posting tools. Telegram has both in-built and outside developers’ tools.

Let’s explore the opportunities of the messenger which are available to channel managers:

  1. Bots

As a rule, posts on any channels are published with bots. Controller Bot (@controllerbot) is one of the most popular bots. It helps the channel owner to compile content posts, set design parameters using the layout, schedule posts, attach reactions or palls, and collect statistics.

It may be useful for the account owner to create their own bot which will be helpful for users. For example, the bot of Vkusvill, a healthy food retail network, not only sends special offers to followers but also gives an opportunity to see catalogue novelties, monthly promo campaigns, use a discount card, find the nearest shop, order goods delivery, see the purchase history and open positions, or contact support.

And the bot of the 100500 travel channel allows the user receiving notifications about plane ticket discounts and last-minute tours without waiting for new posts on the channel.

  1. Formatting

The messenger has two types of formatting which are used for all posts. For example, you need to mark the text bold or add a link to a word or phrase. So, you will be offered to choose between Markdown and HTML marking.

The examples of marking when creating posts:

Markdown
HTML
bold *bold* <b>bold</b>
italics _italics_ <i>italics</i>
текст ссылки [link text](http://example.com/url) <a href=”http://example.com/url”> link text</a>

Tip: if you are not familiar with HTML, choose Markdown. It is simple and intuitive.

  1. Media

Using the bot, you can add photos, reactions, palls or URL-buttons to your post.

  • Reactions is a possibility to give a like or dislike to a post. You can also react with a “star”, a “fire,” or a “broccoli”. To be short, the bot can add everything the channel owner wants. You can add up to 6 reactions for voting to create a so-called emoji pall.

  • Polls aka votes are traditional on Telegram and have no difference from those ones on other social media. They consist of ne question and multiple options. As a rule, they can be added to a post with the Vote (@vote) bot.

  • URL buttons allow to add a clearly visible link to a website. For example, to a blog, a YouTube channel, a micro website with comments to a post, or a longread.

On Telegram, there are no comments we are used to by default, but in 2018 some enthusiastic developers presented a bot which allows adding the section of user comments to the channel. The account manager decides if comments are necessary or not, depending on the channel.

  1. Longreads

The Telegram mobile version is automatically integrated a very convenient reader for outside content. To create a good longread yourself, you do not need to be a blogger. Use the Telegra.ph. service for it. It is multi-purpose editing tool which allows creating a full-fledged article and share a direct link to it right after it is published.

The majority of the brands have their blogs on their own or outside websites. The link to it added to the Telegram channel will also look good on the messenger mobile version. And the desktop version will redirect the user to the website. And this is an additional traffic source.

  1. Stickers

One of the features making people adore Telegram is stickers. The majority of them are created by professional illustrators and stick to different popular subjects. There are sticker packs with Marvel characters, the Pusheen cat, Elon Musk, and hundreds of different characters.

Sticker packs is one of untraditional ways to increase the brand loyalty or attract new followers. It is much easier to create stickers when you already have a character (mascot). If you do not have it, this is cause for either creating it, or creating stickers based on pictures, photos, or words associated with the brand. The main thing is that they should be relevant, emotional, and versatile —in this case, people will want to add them and share with their friends.

You can create scheduled posts and manage social media accounts, including Telegram, with Onlypult. Schedule posts and do not worry that your account may stay empty while you are doing your daily routine. Do not schedule your life — schedule posts!

What should the telegram business channel content look like and how often do you need to publish posts?

Many business owners do not create Telegram channels because they do not understand why it can be helpful and what to post.

Every way of communication with users has its own pecularities, and Telegram is not an exception. A person must have a reason to follow the channel. As a rule, people follow the channel of a brand to get exclusive information and special offers. And to save their time. Even loyal users do not always have time to scroll through the Instagram account of the brand, check e-mails and, all the more, to visit the website. Telegram allows notifying a person quickly and remind them that you exist.

The main difference of the platform is focusing on the text content. The company can tell about everything that is not relevant for other platforms on the Telegram channel. For example, publish interviews with employees, share links to publications related to the company, use the channel as a blog, calling the reader’s attention to the text, not to beautiful pictures.

So, a publishing company can tell about the backside of editing process, and a cosmetic brand can publish exclusive content on its products on Telegram. Every channel needs unique content which people will want to share, regardless of the field of activity.

The posting frequency depends on the content which the brand wants and can share with users. It is not very different from a social media content plan. If a company publishes several posts and many stories on Instagram daily, the similar Telegram posting frequency will not surprise followers much. And again, if the content is published rarely on other platforms, Telegram posts should not run counter to the general social media strategy.

Some tips:

  • Do not be formal communicating with followers if possible. The channel should be “vibrant”, and the reader should be treated like your friend. There should be a personality behind each post, not a set of standard formal phrases.

  • Do not be tempted by your urge to “mirror” Instagram and other social media content on Telegram. If the content is the same everywhere, the user will not suggest it worth following the brand channel on the messenger. One of the brand Telegram channel features is early announcements. For example, you can send them 1 hour before posting on other social media.

  • Learn what users are your target audience and understand their needs. Do not forget to use reactions as a tool for receiving feedback.

  • Do not make many posts. If the number of posts will amount to tens a day, it will tire your followers and the channel will be associated with spam. At best, they will mute notifications, at worst — unfollow. The exception is channels on sales and last-minute tours as well as well-known news and media channels. They are aimed to be the first in informing people about profitable promo campaigns and tour discounts and telling them about important events in the country and the world.

Brand promotion on Telegram

So, the channel is created. The content may be as awesome as possible but no Telegram channel can promote itself.

The company can increase the number of followers with other social media and the website. Add the Telegram icon together with other ones to your blog and show up from time to time to let your followers know your channel still exists. The unique content will urge users to visit the messenger and follow the channel.

The highest conversion and followers’ loyalty can be reached by using advertising on the very messenger. Users are not always willing to switch to another social network, so the majority of the advertising traffic is inside the very Telegram. Here channels creators recommend each other to their followers for money or on a barter basis. It is better to promote a brand channel via influencers. To avoid mistakes, you should not forget to review your jointly created posts when finalizing them.

Usually they negotiate on advertising directly with the channel owner via private messages. Some platforms for working with social media allow scheduling the deletion of a post for the specific time. “The self-deletion” of the post is usually scheduled for the period from 24 to 72 hours, or people prefer keeping the publication on the feed forever. You can also pin your post on the channel. The pinned post will be visible to all channel followers and available via the link at the very top of the chat window. Usually navigation posts (sections, hashtags) or important announcements (sales, courses and so on) are pinned.

Many channel owners, especially personal blog ones, post links to someone else’s blogs by agreement. However, not every person agrees to post other owner’s advertising on their blog not to “flood” the feed and break the general styling.

Before negotiating on advertising, pay attention not only to the number of followers but also to the number of unique views of posts on the target channel. The earlier the post is published, the more views it has. But the figures should be adequate. If some of old posts has 10 views and another one – 2000, it is weird at least. If there is a sharp increase of views, this post has fake views (but it can also be the result of the advertising which turned out to be extremely successful). Not very popular channels sometimes use such tricks to attract advertisers who are able to pay. Cooperate on promotion only with those channel owners who can be trusted. Read feedback on advertisers, there are particular Telegram channels where managers share their experience and give recommendations.

Conclusion

Let’s conclude on all said above. We will give some simple and helpful tips for those who are going to create a Telegram channel.

  • Do not create a channel just to create a channel.

  • Post on topics that are interesting to your customers.

  • Post regularly.

  • Use new posting tools.

  • Do not post too much and produce high-quality content.

  • Monitor new followers.

  • Higher a specialist to manage your channel.

  • Stay tuned and track your competitors’ channels.

  • Tell about the channel on other social media (Instagram, Vkontakte, corporate blog).

And finally, the most important thing: try and do not be afraid!

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