Since 2014, Hopper HQ helps you to engage better with your followers and currently works with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok. We talked with Mike Bandar, co-founder of Hopper HQ, to know more about the tool, what makes it different from other platforms and tips on how to create a valuable social media presence.
Please present Hopper HQ to our audienceHopper HQ is a planning, scheduling and analytic tool for social media. We work as an essential tool for small and medium-sized businesses to enable them to take control of social, so that it does not take control of them. We’ve seen so many people that do a good job on social media but they almost don’t have time or headspace to run their business. Hopper enables people to build efficiencies internally, whilst keeping the quality of what they are doing. It came about back in 2014, when we saw a lack of good management tools for Instagram. There were great tools for Twitter and Facebook and Instagram was becoming so pivotal for businesses to have an online presence. Yet, influencers, agencies and brands we contacted told us they were spending a huge amount of time without getting it right. Originally, Hopper launched as one of the first scheduling tools to automatically post to Instagram. Since then, we’ve stayed as close to our customers as we possibly can, really trying to understand their ambitions, goals and work routines to build the best social management tool we can to help them stretch their abilities as a marketing team and increase business efficiency.
Why was it difficult to find a good tool for Instagram? What were its particular challenges?When it first came out, Instagram was a visual-first platform for photo sharing. Back then, photos were a bonus within social media. All tools were focused on text. So, what was lacking in the space was the ability to design your social media planning and scheduling from a visual perspective. Of course, you can’t start from text on Instagram. Hopper was one of the first social media tools and probably one of the few natively visual around, which was a core differentiator. If you look at its dashboard, it’s beautiful, simple and filled with content for you to choose the design of your brand and aesthetic. We allow brands to take ownership and design how they want to appear to their audience.
What is the composition of your client base?We have a really broad client base. Hopper is used by influencers, including some of the world’s biggest ones, but also a lot of agencies. We’ve built a lot in terms of team collaboration tools and we are probably the only scheduling and social media management tool that doesn’t charge per seat. The core base of Hopper HQ users are entrepreneurs, creators, small and medium-sized businesses that range from juice bars in Florida to e-commerces all over the world!
Do you have some tips for people who don’t have much time and are setting up a profile to start an interesting digital presence on Instagram?I think one of the core principles is to try to find efficiency where you can. One of the cool things with Instagram and other social media is that consistency is key. Consistency refers to the regularity of posting and being present on the platform, but also in form of what your messages, tone of voice and visual queues are, and how your presence builds over time. One thing we see quite often are businesses coming to a social platform for the first time, creating a few posts and then getting totally disheartened that they haven’t gone viral. Unfortunately, going viral is not the general case we see. Often, when that does happen, it’s a big pick and they end up with a huge audience that isn’t particularly interested in their product, service or vision. But what is interesting is where you have this consistency from day one. I’d advise people to pick an audience they are trying to target, your target customer. Pick a style that best designs and confirms your business’ narrative and how it communicates to your audience, and design it for that audience and that platform. You might have around 6 different types of posts or types of things you talk about. Having that consistency of what your message is and how it comes across it’s the way you build an audience. In my opinion, one of the core challenges we see are people getting called in by “vanity metrics”, such as increasing followers base or likes from people who are not their audience. If it isn’t your audience, it does not provide any business value.
Since your journey with Hopper started, many things changed on Instagram. How do you see the potential to sell on Instagram today? Is there still space to grow?It’s been a crazy and very fast journey for Instagram. It started out as a pure image social sharing platform and we now see it as almost a full-end entertainment tool. It is battling for our attention away from Netflix and YouTube as well as from Facebook and the other platforms. When you consider it as an entertainment tool, it shows that it has a lot more opportunity to get in front of an audience than before. When we design a style for our audience, if we can understand how to use these multiple formats (image on a grid, story, reel), thinking them of mini platforms within the platform, it does a huge amount of value to businesses.
Apart from Instagram, Hopper also publishes on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Do you recommend a company to keep a profile on every platform or do you believe aiming at a niched content for a specific platform?In our perspective, it is better sometimes not to have a presence than to have a bad presence. For instance, if you go and create an account on every single platform and don’t really post, failing on the consistency point presented earlier, and probably not being specific on the message you are trying to share with the correct audience. I’d definitely say that focus is a good thing, but ultimately you want to be where your audience is. You also can think of social media in two different ways. One of them is getting in front of your audience to get that attention and drive people to action. The other one is being available to your audience when they are looking for you. We call that “trusted breadcrumbs” internally. If you look at the way we communicate with any of our customers or audiences as a business, there’s a lot of media we control, such as emails we send, the posts we put out and that can be pushed through these funnels. But there are also many spots we don’t control. That might be someone searching for reviews of you online.
More often than not, when someone is making a buying decision or the understanding of who you are as a business, they will be looking at your social media. If you think your audience goes to those platforms to check who you are, then it is as valuable for that purpose to have a social media presence than not.
What are Hopper HQ’s plans for the near future?Being in the social media world means you cannot plan throughout a 5-year period because the whole way we communicate and industry will be different from that! But our mission is to build world-class social marketing tools for the best creators, brands and marketers in the world – the challengers, the innovators, the game-changing people.
We believe in a world where creators, brands and marketers have the courage to express their true purpose, breaking free from the current standard way of communicating. With that, we want to continue to build tools that enable brands to do their work more efficiently, and a lot of that is enabling customers to have the time to focus on the message they are sending and how they are sending it. In the immediate term, keeping up with all of the platforms is our goal. Very soon, we will launch TikTok scheduling and Pinterest scheduling, as well as putting enhanced analytics, moving in with different types of posts. Whatever platforms come up with, we’ll make sure our brands can integrate that effortlessly within their way of communication.
Another part of that is bringing in a lot more insight on how to design, strategize and execute more effectively. So, we have a free tool called Best Time To Post On Instagram. It shows when users are online, when messages get more engagement and allows to put time settings for scheduling.