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Do you need a Telegram bot for your business in 2024?

March 7, 2024

Yes, you do—especially if you’re in an area where it’s used a lot. Don’t really know? Hop in, check out primo data on Telegram bot use, as well as handy instructions on how to make one.

Looking to build a better business in a better world with a chatbot overlord helping you make the big bucks? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explain why a Telegram bot is worth your time (if you’re in the right business and geography) and help you get started with building your own. The process is really simple.

Let’s go.

Telegram bot statistics 

Let’s go with some juicy data first so that you learn better if your target audience needs a Telegram bot or not.

Now, Telegram is a behemoth. 700 million people are using it monthly. Since 2021, they've added a staggering 350 million users. To put that in perspective, that's like adding the entire population of the United States in just over three years. In one particularly crazy spike, 25 million people joined in just 72 hours. Do the math, and that's over 8 million new users per day.

Telegram monthly usage

The average Joe on Android spends nearly 3 hours a month on Telegram. Russians are leading the pack with over 5 hours a month. Here's a quick rundown of monthly usage by country:

  • Russia: 5.1 hours
  • Singapore: 4.7 hours
  • Germany: 3 hours
  • India: 2.2 hours
  • Worldwide average: 3 hours

That's more than what people spend on Facebook Messenger. Zuck it, hehe.

Telegram geography & demography

More than 30% of Telegram's users are in their late twenties to early thirties, with 41.4% of the users being women.

The biggest chunk of users, 38%, are in Asia. Europe and Latin America follow with 27% and 21%, respectively. India is leading by a mile with over 70 million downloads. Here's a snapshot:

  • India: 70.48 million
  • Russia: 24.15 million
  • USA: 20.03 million
  • Indonesia: 9.61 million
  • Brazil 18.04 million

As for North and South America, the US saw a Telegram penetration rate jump to 3% in 2020. Brazil is at a whopping 23% of daily use. 

Europe's story is mixed. The Netherlands sees 8% usage, while the UK lags at 3%. Ukraine tops the download chart with 7 million. 

In the Asia Pacific, Russia dominates with 31.62 million active users. Singapore has a 30.1% penetration rate.

In Africa, it's a Telegram fest. Nigeria leads with 56.3% usage.

Pretty good stats. Big thanks to DemandSage for the breakdown.

Telegram use by industry

The versatility of this platform is what makes it a goldmine for businesses and individuals alike.

News: a whopping 82% of users engage with news-related channels. This is all about industry-specific insights, breaking updates, and niche topics. It's a powerful tool for staying informed.

Entertainment: 59% of users frequent entertainment-related channels. This includes everything from memes to movie recommendations.

Political discourse: another 59% are into politically related channels. This highlights Telegram's role in housing political discussions and activism.

Education: with 55% user engagement, Telegram serves as an educational platform. This includes academic resources, professional development content, and skill-building materials. It's a treasure trove for lifelong learners.

Networking: channels related to bloggers, celebrities, job offers, and industry news are popular. This shows Telegram's effectiveness in helping users build both personal and professional networks.

E-commerce: with features like Telegram Payments 2.0, it's a thriving space for buying and selling, especially for niche products like Chinese goods and digital equipment.

Cryptocurrency: given the rise of over a thousand bots in cryptocurrency channels, Telegram is a significant player in the crypto world. It's a go-to platform for crypto enthusiasts for trading, discussions, and staying updated on market trends.

Food delivery: Even though it's a smaller segment, the presence of food delivery services indicates Telegram's potential to facilitate local business transactions.

Telegram bot benefits

Telegram stands out in the business world for its no-code, user-friendly approach. Unlike other messaging apps, Telegram doesn't charge for conversations. Plus, its Business API is free, a stark contrast to WhatsApp's paid version. Here’s how and why:

Muti-device accessibility

This means your business account can be active on several devices simultaneously, ensuring real-time updates across all platforms. It's perfect for teams that require constant communication and collaboration, regardless of their location. 

For instance, sales and customer support teams can simultaneously access customer conversations from their devices.

No phone numbers needed

Telegram's use of usernames, rather than phone numbers, opens up a whole new avenue for customer interaction. It allows businesses to connect with customers who don't have their number, simply by searching for usernames. A public channel with relevant keywords in its name and description can attract customers specifically looking for something it offers.

Awesome channels

Only admins get to send messages, and there's no cap on how many people can listen in. It's one-way traffic – no back-and-forth chatter like in WhatsApp groups. 

Unlimited Storage!

The Telegram Cloud is like a bottomless pit for your files and media, and it's all free. Each file can be up to a whopping 2 GB, and you won't run out of space. Share anything from promo flyers to high-res product videos without trashing their quality. 

Telegram business

Why do businesses flock to Telegram? Because it's free and there are no annoying limits on messaging. Unlike WhatsApp Business, Telegram doesn't handcuff you with a 24-hour messaging window. Want to blast a time-sensitive campaign or nudge your customers with a reminder? Go right ahead, anytime, without twiddling your thumbs for message approval.

Open-source API

Telegram's Business API is quite advanced—we're talking CRM and ERP integrations, chatbots, automation, and slick tools like in-chat payment options. All you need are some basic programming chops. To kick off, hit up Botfather on Telegram for an auth token and start-no-coding there and then. 

Business account verification

Want that coveted blue check mark for your Telegram business account without being afraid that someone might start charging for it? It's not for everyone—only for Channels or Groups, not for regular Joes. Here’s how you get verified:

  • First, flash your verified status on other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.
  • No other verified accounts? Show off your Wikipedia page or a well-known company website.
  • Link your Telegram on these platforms to prove they’re really yours.
  • Jump into the Telegram bot @verifyingbot, throw in your Telegram Channel or Group username.
  • Add your social media links with matching usernames.
  • If your dream username's taken on Telegram, stick "_bot" at the end. It lets you keep your brand consistent across platforms. Then, use Telegram's bot to get that blue badge of trust.

Telegram Secret Chat

It's end-to-end encrypted, meaning what you say stays between you and the person you're talking to. The encryption keys are created when you start the chat and aren't lounging around on Telegram's servers.

Only you and your chat buddy can read these messages. Forget about nosy third parties or even Telegram itself peeking in—they're locked out.

Secret Chat has some more James Bond-style tricks up its sleeve:

  • Messages that self-destruct. They vanish after a set time, leaving no trace.
  • Want to be sure you're talking to the right person? There's a way to verify identities using encryption keys.

 Secret Chat's magic only works within that specific chat. Your regular messages and group chats are stored in Telegram Cloud, not in this secure bubble. So, if you've got sensitive info to share, Secret Chat is your go-to. 

Focusing on customer support or marketing with a Telegram bot

A Telegram Bot is your ace in the hole for tackling a ton of work with a lean team while keeping productivity through the roof. Here's how to make it work for you:

  • Set it and forget it: automate the mundane stuff. Broadcast messages, handle FAQs, and offer basic customer support without lifting a finger. Let your team focus on the tough cases and complex issues.
  • Always on: this bot doesn't sleep. It's on duty 24/7, ready to assist customers anytime, anywhere. This means you can take your business global without splurging on a massive customer support team.
  • Scale with ease: more customers and nore requests? No problem. The Telegram Bot can handle the load, so you don't have to scramble for more staff or budget.
  • Data gathering: the bot can gather customer data—feedback, survey responses—automatically. Use these gold nuggets of information to polish your products.
  • Integrations: hook up Telegram with your existing CRM or ERP systems and watch the magic happen. No more mind-numbing data entry or playing 'spot the error'. 
  • Personalization: you don't need your team spending hours on each customer to make them feel special. Set up your bot for personalized responses, it’s super easy.
  • Cost-efficiency: don't stress about hiring a big team right off the bat. Deploy a bot to shoulder the workload.

Building your own Telegram bot without coding

Enough talk. Let's get straight to the point on building a Telegram bot for business:

  1. Bot token: first things first, you gotta chat with BotFather (@BotFather) on Telegram. Hit him up with "/newbot", pick a name and username, and boom—you've got yourself a bot token.
  2. Choose your weapon: Python, JavaScript, Ruby. Whatever floats your boat and you're comfortable with. Can’t be bothered? Go for the no-code approach with Directual.
  3. Dive into the Telegram Bot API: Use this API to get your bot to talk to Telegram, receive updates, and send messages. This is where your bot starts to take shape, pulling data, sending automated messages, the works.
  4. Develop your bot: now, get down to the nitty-gritty. Make your bot do stuff – respond to messages, send updates, pull data from the web, whatever your business needs. If you go with Directual, not only will be faster but also there’s no compromise on what it can achieve. Check this out.
  5. Test, test, and test again: before letting your bot loose on the world, test it out. Make sure it does what it’s supposed to do.
  6. Launch it: got it all tested and tweaked? Time to deploy. Pick a platform like Heroku, AWS, or GCP, and set your bot free.
  7. Integrate: plug your bot into your business. Stick the link on your site, in your emails, wherever your customers hang out.

The fancier your bot's tricks, the more brainpower it'll need. Always, always give it a trial run with a few users before going public. You want a smooth launch, not a bot uprising.

Building a Telegram bot with Directual

The list above provided some guidance but not the real thing. Here’s the real thing, then:

First, go to the "Plugins" section in Directual app, pick Telegram, and input your bot's secret token to install the plugin.

Next, navigate to the Database section in Directual. There, find the Integrations/Telegram folder, which should be there by default. You'll find five data structures: Incoming Telegram messages, Outgoing Telegram messages, Users Telegram, Chats Telegram, and Keyboards Telegram (Legacy).

You'll notice a webhook for Telegram messages and a new system scenario titled "Parse incoming telegram messages" is in place.

To test, send your bot a message, a photo, a file, or location details. Then, check the TMessageIn structure in Directual. New entries will appear, with the 'text' field holding message content, and Telegram file IDs storing data on images, files, and locations.

Now, set up a basic scenario in Directual to trigger actions in the TMessageIn structure. Create a new scenario, include a Telegram step, configure it, and remember to publish and run it.

Voila! You're all set.

Feeling adventurous? Pair your Telegram bot with ChatGPT to create some next-level, mind-blowing bots. Start with the basics, but when you're ready to aim high, that's your ticket to some serious Telegram bot magic.

Here’s how it works:

Creating a group or a channel in Telegram

Let’s image we got an AI-powered chatbot up and running, thanks to Directual and OpenAI. Now, the fun bit!

  1. Open your Telegram app, and hit those three horizontal lines at the top left. That's your menu button.
  2. In the menu, tap on "New Channel." Easy.
  3. Name your channel, add a short description, and click "Create Channel." Make it snappy.
  4. Throw in a profile picture, or a cover photo, and tweak other settings to make your channel stand out.
  5. Want everyone to find you? Go public. If it's a VIP thing, keep it private. Public channels are up for grabs in searches, while private ones are invite-only.
  6. Got your channel ready? Share the link with your customers. Let them know where to find you.
  7. Now use your channel to blast product updates, promotions, event invites – whatever floats your business boat.

Telegram Channels are not the same as Groups. Channels are for broadcasting—you talk, they listen. Groups are for discussions – everyone talks. Here’s a quick rundown on the difference: 

  • Channels are one-way streets; Groups are two-way radios.
  • Channels can have unlimited subscribers; Groups max out at 200,000 members.
  • Channel subscribers can't see each other; Group members can.
  • Both can have multiple admins, but Channels are better for controlled messaging.

And that really is it. Enjoy!

Afterword

With OpenAI and Directual in hand, you can truly build something marvelous without sacrificing a ton of time and money on it. This might all seem scary and confusing at first, yet this can be said about most things in life. Give it a go, see how it goes. This could be your perfect opportunity to get ahead of the competition and get happier customers.

Want to learn more about Telegram bots and what they can do with Directual? Head over to our communities (links below), or send us a message at hello@directual.com.

FAQ

How easy is it to create a Telegram bot?
How easy is it to create a Telegram bot?

Super easy. Directual’s user-friendly approach allows businesses to develop bots code-free. You can create a Telegram chatbot in virtually 15 minutes, and make it as advanced as you need it to be later down the line—including AI conversations via OpenAI.

Is it better to build a Telegram bot using Python?
Is it better to build a Telegram bot using Python?

If it suits you. The no-code approach with Directual reduces development time and cost, making bot creation accessible to businesses without a technical background. This approach also allows for easy customization and quick adjustments, ensuring that the bots can evolve with the changing needs of the business.

How well can a Telegram bot be integrated with third-party systems?
How well can a Telegram bot be integrated with third-party systems?

With Directual, your Telegram bot can seamlessly connect with CRM, ERP, and a lot of other systems. This leads to improved data synchronization, streamlined workflows, and happier customers.

Should I use a Telegram bot for my business?
Should I use a Telegram bot for my business?

A wide range of businesses can benefit from using Directual for Telegram bot development. From startups to large enterprises, any business looking to improve customer engagement, automate processes, or enhance online presence can use Directual's no-code platform. This includes industries like e-commerce, education, entertainment, and customer service, among others, looking to tackle Telegram's vast user base.

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