In this text I want to tell you about marketing opportunities in two messengers — Viber and Telegram. Why did I choose them? Because they have one interesting feature, which competitors don’t. It’s so-called public chats in Viber, and channels in Telegram, which is pretty much the same. In fact, it is like a fanpage or a blog inside messenger, which allows brands or bloggers to share content with their followers.
Key difference between having a fanpage on Facebook or Vkontakte and maintaining messenger channel lays in the context of IM platform. We perceive instant messenger as a tool of one-on-one communication with friends or colleagues. Receiving a message from a favorite brand or blogger now, is like getting emails 15 years ago. It seemed to us that every email was addressed to us personally, we do read them with interest.
I was surprised how addictive is reading Telegram’s channels. Firstly, messenger is much faster and more stable than social network apps. Secondly, there’s nothing to distract a user from content consumption. No ads with carousels and autoplaying videos, no pop-ups asking to subscribe to email newsletter. And, what’s kind of unusual, no commenting. Of course, sooner or later messengers will add comments in channels and public chats, but now it is totally OK to have one-direction communication with your favorite brand.
- Viber public chats don’t have push notifications. In Telegram by default notifications are enabled for a new subscriber, but most users turn them off by selecting Mute option. So, to read your content users should come directly to your channel. Your task is to make content that will motivate users to choose your nickname in their contact list.
- Both messengers allow you to post pictures, videos, and text posts. In Telegram you can also add audio files. However, not all types of content are relevant to your audience. If you have a channel about fashion or beauty, a large number of illustrations will only be an advantage. If your channel is more like expert blog, or your content strategy is to comment news & events in your industry, than text content will be more than appropriate. Subscribers are much more willing to consume longreads in messenger channel, than if you have them posted on your Facebook fanpage.
- Consistency is more important than quantity. Some of the most popular bloggers on Telegram make on average one post a day, but they treat their content very seriously and make posts regularly.
- Taking into account the context of these platforms, we can use colloquial speech in our posts. Content written more as a personal blog, not a corporate newsletter, has positive effect.
Metrics & advertising opportunities
Organic reach of posts at the moment is on average 50-80% of the number of subscribers. In case of particularly interesting content or if the channel owner is popular person in his or her circles (e.g. IT or fashion industry), reach may be even higher. In Telegram there is a function to share posts in other channels, just like you do it in social networks. One screenshot you can see that the channel has 16K subscribers, but the post has 19K unique views.
Telegram does not have any advertising opportunities yet. Viber offers only promotional targeted messages after sending request here. But there are external services for exchange, sharing or buying posts. As an example, Sociate.ru offers you to buy posts in Russian Telegram channels:
Most often paid posts look like a brief (2-3 sentences) recommendation of a channel or website at the beginning or end of the post. Interestingly, users consider them totally natural. Paid posts or recommendations don’t annoy users. CTR reaches 5-20%, CPC is on average 5-10 rubles (in case of Russian channels), and conversion into followers using such recommendations is highest among all the ways of promoting your channel.
What to begin with?
Start with installing these two apps, if you haven’t done it already. Check how companies of your industry manage their channels on Telegram here or here and public chats on Viber (you can search them inside the app).
Remember that communication in messengers is not a magic tool for all customer service issues in your company. It is only a marketing and communication channel and its popularity over the last 12 months is growing faster and faster. Telegram and Viber is where the attention of the most active users of Runet is focused. And channels and public chats give us the opportunity to communicate with loyal customers and attract new clients in the context of these platforms.Need any additional info on IM marketing in Russia? Let me know in a comment below!