‘If you want to continue a relationship, speak only good things. If you want to end it, speak the truth,” reads a quote in Hindi, among hundreds of others posted on motivational channel SS Motivation.
Sunil Yadav SS, who runs the channel, says “I started this channel on Telegram almost a year ago. Today, the channel has over 5 lakh subscribers and I mainly rely on advertisements to sustain it.”
Yadav says advertisers are charged Rs 1,500 for an hour on the channel.
Yadav’s competitors and many more, including emerging startups, have started exploring Telegram to market businesses.
The secure messaging app has become the destination of choice for businesses to onboard and retain customers.
A few years ago, Telegram was used mostly by the tech-savvy, but more businesses and people are joining the platform today, and for multiple reasons.
Early-stage gaming company HalaPlay, which mainly caters to cricket, football and kabaddi fans, is using Telegram through influencers.
“These influencers have referral codes which they share on these groups. So, when people sign up, they use these codes and that’s how we gauge if it is working,” says Swapnil Saurav, founder and CEO of HalaPlay. Telegram is primarily used to engage and retain users, he says.
There are also dedicated channels where administrators share job postings from across sectors. Further, there are different groups for different roles.
For instance, there are multiple groups that only post openings for software developer jobs. Similarly, there are multiple channels with thousands of participants that only share information about competitive exams, like UPSC, SSC, IBPS, Railways, NVS and PO.
A number of educational technology firms also share content on these channels, with the primary objective of increasing traffic on their sites, experts say.
Other channels share online shopping coupons, deals etc.
A number of crypto trading startups such as WazirX and PrimeTrade also leverage on Telegram to engage users. “We use our channel for discussions, feedback and announcements,” says Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, albeit adding that Telegram fails to protect fake profiles.
The privacy protections offered by Telegram and other factors are added advantages, experts say.
“Telegram ensures the privacy of users; secret chats can be automatically deleted; cloud storage is not a problem; users can share files without compression; mute messages, group permissions,” explains Gautam Kumawat, a cyber security expert.
Customer details also remain private, entrepreneurs say, which is difficult to ensure in other groups.
Some are also seeing success in Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
WhatsApp groups have helped in acquisition of freelancers, and to build an active community of users, says Shashank Murali, co-founder of TapChief, a networking platform for professionals.
Brokerage-free real-estate platform NoBroker too says it achieved 20X annualised return on investment through cost savings and 2.8X increase in properties by using WhatsApp to connect to property owners.
Other home-grown companies, such as MakeMyTrip, BookMyShow and RedBus, also engage with customers on WhatsApp.
In many countries, Telegram has become a major source of information, but has yet to catch up in India as the main channel, says social media expert and independent brand consultant Karthik Srinivasan.
More advertisers are flocking to popular Chinese short-video app TikTok in India, he adds.