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How to Use Telegram to Promote Business in Russia

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Messengers are getting a more and more popular tool for communication. Today, it is not only communication of relatives, friends, and familiars between each other, but also an opportunity for brands to build communication with potential clients.

Audience of Messengers in Russia

WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messenger in Russia. Nearly 20 million Russians use this app every day.

Telegram, despite the attempts to ban it in Russia, is the country's third most popular messaging app after WhatsApp and Viber. 4.4 million people use Telegram in Russian daily.

Source: Mediascope, Russia, monthly active users, cities with a population of 100 thousand, February, 2019

Although Telegram is not the most popular messenger among Russians yet, it provides ample opportunities for business, from consulting clients to creation of one’s own channel. We say ‘not most popular yet’ because, even in spite of the fact that this messenger is blocked in Russia, its popularity is growing, and there is a strong possibility that in the nearest future it will come ever closer to the leading What’s App.

So, let us go to opportunities that Telegram grants for brand promotion.

Creation of Telegram channels

The very first thing that a brand can do is to create a Telegram channel. While strong brands can afford the creation of channels under their own name, it is practical for less popular companies in the Russian market to create a thematic channel. The main thing is to choose a topic that correlates with your business and is interesting for your potential buyers. Then you can publish themed content and, from time to time, tell about the company’s news, deals and special offers, i.e. sell your goods/services to your audience.

For example, a tour operator can maintain a channel about travels, a game developer about game industry news, a cosmetics manufacturer about make-up secrets and product choice, etc.

Channel maintenance peculiarities

1. Every new message on a channel is a notification that a user will get. That is why you do not need to send messages too often.

2. Users read Telegram from mobile devices—long reads are not the best option for a messenger. Good formats are short text notes, links to a blog/website + a short comment as an invitation to read, pictures, GIFs, video.

3. If you do not have a website, you can publish a note with a simple layout. This functionality is available thanks to the Telegraph project. Due to this service, you can publish a note with simple formatting, adding a video or a picture to the text. No registration is required—you just open the website and write a post you need.

4. Visualize content—create your own style in pictures that accompany texts. For instance, it can be a character who appears before readers in a new look every time.

Subscribers—where to start from

1. Tell about your channel in social media.

Besides, publish information in Telegram publics. It is unlikely that anyone will subscribe to a channel with zero subscribers, so a small number of people at the start will do no harm.

2. Publish a link on your website.

Use a block with other contact details.

3. Inform your customer database.

Arrange mass emailing or texting—write that you started a channel on Telegram. Make sure to clarify what content exactly you will publish, whether you will conduct contests, give extra discounts.

By the way, you can add a question to a questionnaire that a user fills in buying your goods or using your service, ‘Would you like to get instant notifications from Telegram?’

4. Place your channel in Telegram catalogues.

Your channel must correspond to the catalogue’s requirements regarding the number of subscribers. In other words, if you have few subscribers, you will not manage to get to most platforms. Different catalogues have different thresholds: some have 50, some 100, and some 1,000.

Here are examples of catalogues where you can add your channel, starting from 100 subscribers:

  • http://100wmz.com (free catalogue of Telegram channels);
  • http://telegram-plus.ru (catalogue of channels, groups, and bots in Telegram);
  • ads marketplace in Telegram channels (you will not only add your channel to the catalogues, but also will be able to monetize it, selling ads).

5. Mutual PR

Reach out to someone so that you could tell about the channels of each other. It is important for you to have roughly the same number of subscribers and a similar topic, the same target audience.

6. Paid placement on popular channels

Paid placement in popular themed publics, which we already know from social media, moved to messengers, too. However, one should understand that many channels ‘drive up’ subscribers, so before placement you clearly must make a pre-analysis by means of various services, for instance, Telegram Analytics (Tgstat) or Telemetr.

Chat bots

Chat bots can process orders, book tickets and accept payments, send newsletters. Integration with analytic services helps tracking leads and conversions. You can create a chat bot by means of online constructors that do not require programming skills. It is enough for a user to think over a response scenario. Here are several platforms to create bots in Telegram:

  • Manybot
  • BotKits
  • Botmother

Project advertising

If you understand you do not need a channel, we recommend considering advertising of your product in the messenger with a link to a website because the Telegram audience is quite engaged and active. Within the last year, there has been a growth of advertising volumes of not only other channels, but also various businesses, online schools, etc.

While a year ago you could only see ads from experiencers who had small budgets and did not clearly understand how it worked, now one can see ads from such titans as Tinkoff, Yandex, Alfa Bank.

Recommendations

If you do not apply messengers to communicate with clients yet or want to try a new one, but do not know what to choose, try to start from Telegram. Look how your competitors or representatives of other business segments that are close to yours do it, analyze your capacities, and start building communication with perspective customers via messengers even today.

To learn more about how to attract Russian customers via digital tools, download our White Paper Russian Digital Market Overview 2019.

Russian Digital Market Overview 2019

Complete Guide to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy in the Russian Market

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About the Author

Digital marketing manager, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Group Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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