Telegram is a recently developed messenger app that in its first 24 hours garnered close to seven million new users, possibly because they like the fact that it combines the features of WhatsApp with those of Snapchat.
The app allows users to contact other individuals who either have public (and searchable) Telegram usernames or are existing contacts within your phone. Telegram, which comes with an open application programming interface (API) and protocol, allows users to know when recipients have received and read their messages.
While Telegram’s capabilities draw parallels to WhatsApp, there’s an ephemeral quality to Telegram messages that distinguish them from WhatsApp’s messages. Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram sends messages, including photos, with a self-destruct timer that’s a lot like Snapchat’s.
Although those same photos can still be screen-shot before they disappear, the app itself has an enhanced security system, using servers worldwide, which positively affects both security and speed. A secret chat feature uses end-to-end encryption and a time-tested algorithm. And Telegram boasts a combination of high-speed delivery and increased reliability.
The app is also cloud-based, allowing users to access their messages from multiple devices; there are no data limits, no fees, no subscription requirement and no ads. The app, further, lifts many of the messaging and file exchange constraints of other applications, allowing users to share and distribute a wide range of information and files without having to toggle back and forth between multiple applications.
If you’re using Telegram, then, here are some simple things you can do to build your following and maximize the utility of the app for your purposes — plus one thing not to do.
Repost Interesting Content From Your Industry Or Community.
If you find a document, article, meme or something else you think will interest your followers, be sure to share it. Drawing people into your network by initiating conversations that might interest your community or be of value within your industry is a good way to grow your following.
Be sure to pass along valuable resources, links and concepts, as well. The network you develop can be enhanced by your creating a sense of connectivity around ideas, issues and innovations.
Build Your Own Tools On Telegram’s API.
Telegram welcomes everyone to use its open source code. Creating your Telegram application provides the six steps that help all developers utilize Telegram’s API and source code in order to create, free of charge, Telegram-like messages on their platforms.
Telegram offers developers more than just the Bot API; users can create their own messaging apps, which offer “experimental, highly specialized, or locally flavored features.”
Don’t Advertise 24/7.
If you’re using Telegram for business, remember that you should be doing more than constantly advertising your business or endorsing your financial interests. People are attracted to situations and sites that promote deeper connections — not just promotions.
Connectivity, in fact, is key to generating a sense of belonging. Show an interest in your followers and the things that matter to them, and find ways to promote ongoing conversations about things that matter.
Run Small Contests, Sweepstakes Or Games.
Posing a question or running a small contest draws followers to your site. Giveaways are one idea; incentivizing social sharing is another.
Possible strategies here might involve a “like to win” contest, or the launch of “a selfie” competition. Alternatively, you could design a voting contest that would encourage your followers to engage with one another and with you. Spell out the rules and parameters of your contests, and let your followers take it from there.
Link To Your Other Social Media Outlets.
To gain momentum, help your followers find you by linking to your other accounts, including Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even your LinkedIn. Tying together all your social media accounts will save you time and effort and allow you to easily get messages out across multiple sites.
Keep in mind that while linking to multiple accounts can be a valuable move, you won’t want to overdo it. Each social media site may require a specific voice or tone, so paying proper attention to detail is important.
If a follower responds or reposts something, try to return the favor. Paying attention to the interests of your followers goes a long way toward making them feel valuable enough to invite others to your social media.
Market Your Social Presence.
Simple ways to give your social media presence a boost might include sending out an email blast, starting an interesting business or personal blog or creating compelling audio or video content. Simply inviting your current friends, family and followers to your other sites is another way to increase engagement.
You may also want to join ongoing online conversations that involve people with a common interest or industry. Or perhaps you want to try to generate followers with something as simple as including a link to your other social media accounts as part of your auto signature.
Have you started using Telegram? What are some ways you have found followers and maintained or boosted their number? Share your insights in the comments below.
Whether your primary use for Telegram is media file distribution among contacts and team members or quick, on-the-go and private conversations, Telegram makes it easy to organize holistic team communications, as well as peer-to-peer conversations within one, single location.
This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur.