Have you been thinking of using Telegram for business? Whether you want to make a successful Telegram channel, Telegram bot or simply allow a way to consumers or users to engage with your brand or business on Telegram. This is your ultimate guide to Telegram for business.
This post is designed to help you with your research, we're going to be answering questions like:
- What is Telegram?
- Why use Telegram for business?
- What is a Telegram business account?
- How can I get started with a Telegram bot?
- How can I generate leads using a Telegram bot?
What is Telegram?
Of all the apps we've seen Telegram is certainly one we would describe as messaging first & old school. In the past two years, most messaging apps have adopted using tabs across the top or buttons across the bottom to facilitate navigation between the apps most meaningful screens. Telegram app has no need for this.
The entire experience is centered around messaging, and therefore there is only one central interface, the messages panel. There is a pull-out menu on the left but the only other panel it can take you to contacts. All the other buttons are for initiating a new channel, group or start a call. Telegram really is a messaging app for people who message.
Telegram channels are a way of broadcasting information to a very large audience inside a messaging app. Channels are easy to set up, all you'll need is a name, a description and an image. Channels can be public or private. Public channels can be searched for and found by anyone on Telegram while users will need a link to join private channels or be invited.
In the telegram interface channels are available in the messaging interface in the same way as any other contact. When one of your channels posts some new content it will bring that channel to the top of your messages list just as if your friend were to message you. The most amazing part about channels though is that there is no user limit, there is an unlimited number of people in any given channel and to add to that channels are absolutely free.
Telegram groups work almost exactly like channels but everyone in the group is able to participate in the conversation. Just like channels, groups are easy to set up. First, select all the group members you would like to add from your contacts then give your group a profile picture and a name.
Just like channels, Telegram groups sit amongst your contacts and will rise to the top of the messages list when there is a new post in the group. Although in practice I'm sure this can get somewhat annoying because telegram groups allow an astonishing 200,000 members. Looking to start a revolution? Telegram is the app for you. 😉
To manage your 200,000 group members Telegram provides some additional tools to let you stay in control. You can make groups public and you can even choose if new members are able to see the group chat history from before they joined. You'll also have the ability to appoint additional administrators with granular privileges.
Telegram Secret Chats
Telegram secret chat is a rather interesting feature that no other messaging app we have featured has, a client to client encrypted conversation mode. You see other messaging apps that say they are fully encrypted like WhatsApp use client-server encryption. This means that your chats are stored in the cloud but in an encrypted format. This is also how normal Telegram chats, groups and channels are encrypted.
Telegram secret chats on the other hand only have a history of the conversation on your device and the device of your conversation partner. This means secret chats have some interesting features. You can create a self-destructing message that the user can only view for a certain amount of time. Most phones will not even allow you to take a screenshot of your secret chats. If you're planning to take over the world and you need a way to talk to your partner in crime, there is always telegram secret chat.
These days almost every messaging app has at least one eccentricity. Although, Telegram Passport is actually its own app it helps in understanding where you can get the best bang from your buck on Telegram.
Telegram Passport is a place where you can upload your personal identifications documents like a passport. Once you've done that you can use Telegram Passport at some financial institutions which require know your customer (KYC) procedures.
If this all sounds like a tangent it is. If you've heard of BlockChain, BitCoin and Cryptocurrency you'll already know a little bit about this. But basically, Telegram Groups became a popular way for companies to launch their cryptocurrency and do an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). With such popularity in the cryptocurrency, community Telegram has endeavored to provide another solution for their most engaged users.
Why Use Telegram for Business?
According to a recent blog post on Telegrams blog, the app has just reached 200 million monthly active users. Although this is a far cry from the 1 billion-plus user numbers boasted by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, 200 million is still quite the audience.
The real question is, are the users in the 200 million audience pool the users that you are looking for. Geographically speaking, Telegram is not exactly dominating any single country at least not from what we have seen. According to the Google Play app download numbers, Telegram is in the top 3 most downloaded free communication apps in the following countries: Belarus, Brunei, Cambodia, Germany, Iran, Italy Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Singapore, Spain & Uzbekistan.
If you notice a pattern there, you a probably right. If you notice a pattern there, you a probably right. Due to its security-oriented features Telegram is popular in countries with authoritarian rule. Telegram is even famous in many countries like Iran and Ethiopia for widespread use amongst political activists. It is popular for a similar reason in Central Asian countries.
Telegram, Telegram Bots & Cryptocurrency
We won't be going on a long explanation of the ICO. Suffice to say, if you're looking to launch a cryptocurrency you'll need some capital and a big launch to get things started. Think of it as a currency IPO. Now ICOs are almost completely unregulated, which means there is a lack of trust in the community. Telegram became a place where users could search for legitimacy amongst the many ICO scams.
How did it work? Simple. If you are able to create and sustain a very large Telegram group surrounding your ICO project, you gain legitimacy. What makes that legitimacy real is not only the sheer size of the group but freedom of communication. Which allowed potential investors to ask questions in a semi-public forum but also protected the ICO from ridicule from people who were not in the know.
With so many users and the limitations of the messaging interface Telegram bots came along to provide the information users requested at the right time. Since Telegram bots could be invited to and used in groups this made information move quickly. Telegram bots are happy to provide information on current prices and notify you when prices move in a way that would interest you.
We're certain that Telegram has outsize influence in other industries as well and if you belong to the industries you should be using Telegram or Telegram bots for your business.
Types of Business Accounts on Telegram
When browsing the Telegram website there is no apparent indication anywhere of the messaging app offering business accounts. From what we see there are two ways you can use Telegram for your business. The first is creating groups and channels for discussion, this is something we've discussed above.
The other is Telegram bots. Although Telegram puts a lot of emphasis on describing this as a bot API, realistically you can connect anything you want to it. In our case, we simply connect the Rocketbots platform which allows us to have chats with our clients using our AI or using our human team depending on the situation.
The most important thing is that using the Telegram bot API is completely free. There are no charges for overages and there aren't any limitations that we are aware of.
Getting Started with a Telegram Business Account (Telegram Bot)
Although Telegram calls it a Telegram Bot, we consider this as a business account because it enables you to create a Telegram user with a unique ID that can be attributed to your business.
Going along with the theme of Telegram being all messaging all the time, to create this Telegram bot ID you actually need to send a message to the BotFather. You can find him in your contact list.
Once you're there everything is extremely simple just ask for a /newbot give your bot a name. The name will be the accounts display name and doesn't have to be a unique value. Next, you will be asked for a user ID, this value must be unique on Telegram and must end in bot.
Once you've done those you're done. Telegram will give you an API key that allows you to connect your unique ID to some sort of bot builder or to Rocketbots. Unsurprisingly we connected our bot to Rocketbots.
How To Benefit From Telegram Bots For Business
Generally, in our Ultimate Guides to Messaging Apps, we take you through the full funnel, from user acquisition to customer support and beyond. However, these posts are designed to teach you to leverage the tools provided by the messaging app company and in this case, there are not that many available.
Telegram provides ways to help you with your Telegram bot marketing but does not provide any tools for customer support. They expect that your Telegram bot will be operated completely on the platform which you connect with your Telegram bot API. Therefore we will cover the marketing tools Telegram provides and skip the customer service section. But don't worry as there is a post about how to best use Telegram with Rocketbots coming soon.
What is a Telegram Account?
A relatively simple question, but important to understand nonetheless. Messaging apps usually identify users in one of two unique ways. Either with a generic ID that is generated by the messaging app company, Facebook & Line primarily use this method. While others use a phone number as their unique identifier like WhatsApp.
Telegram uses a system based on phone numbers. This can be somewhat clunky because it does take some work once you switch phone numbers but on the other hand, it is much more likely that users with phone numbers are real users.
Generate Leads with Telegram Bots For Business
As mentioned previously, there are not that many tools available from Telegram that allow you to create a powerful Telegram bot or business account. But there are some tools available for discovery.
Telegram Bot Lead Generation Using In App Search
Just like most other things on Telegram, finding a bot is easy. There is no additional application process or anything. You can just hit the search but and search for the Telegram bot you created either by the display or by the ID. Once you're there it's very easy to get started with the conversation.
Telegram Bot Lead Generation Using Links & Scan Codes
As you may have seen above when you create your Telegram bot, the BotFather will provide you with a click to chat link. This is a great way to share your bot with your current customer or existing users. Feel free to talk to us through Telegram if you'd like.
We did some further investigation with click to chat links by trying to add references in several different ways but there doesn't seem to be a way to do it. So although the click to chat link is easy to get and to use, it will be somewhat difficult to track the success of links you place in different places.
Unfortunately, there is no out of the box way to create a QR code for Telegram. However, there are plenty of bots available on Telegram that will help you with that. You could message @Qrbarcode for example. Alternatively, you can always use any QR code generator on the internet to generate your QR code.
Is That Everything You Can Do With Telegram Bots for your Business?
Not at all, but sadly that is all you can do with the tools provided by Telegram. Stay tunned as soon we will release a series of articles about how we set up each individual channel for Rocketbots. There you'll learn how you can use your Telegram bots for marketing and customer service purposes.