Instantly discover, connect and share the things you are passionate about
Hopflow is a social media platform that enables its users to connect, discover and share the things they love with like-minded people, all without having to
search for, follow or like people and sources. It is fast, simple and dynamic.
Launched in 2012, it is an emerging communication tool that has great potential
as far as companies’ integrated marketing communications plans are concerned.
When signing up for the service, users get to choose what topics they are
interested in which allows us to assume that the segmentation is more accurate,
enabling companies to easily communicate with both existing and potential, new
customers. By integrating Hopflow into their marketing mix, companies can reach
out to more targeted audiences with specific interests, such as food, design or
health. They can gain from readily available psychographic information, in
addition to which demographic information on users logging in with their
Facebook or Twitter accounts would be easily accessible.
Hopflow is an emerging communication tool that enables the user to “connect, discover and share the things you love with like-minded people – all without having to search for, follow or like people and sources”. It is fast, simple and dynamic, and gives the user the chance to discover and share content through following specific topics rather than individuals by creating a news feed that
is based on the users personalized interests. The tool was created in 2009 and launched in 2012 by Erez Pilosof, the founder of one of Israel’s most popular web portals, Walla! and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad, as well as any other devices that can connect to the Internet.
How to use it?
Using Hopflow is simple. You can choose to log in with your Facebook or Twitter account, or simply download the app through the App Store. The advantage of logging in via Facebook or Twitter lies in that the tool can browse your history and find topics that might be of interest to you. Having registered for the service, you start by choosing topics that are of interest to you and that you want to receive news about. The current number of topics offered by Hopflow is 52. Within these you can look for additional topics, ones that are more specific and that more closely relate to your specific interests. Based on the topics that you have chosen Hopflow then creates a personalized news feed, customized just for you. By “liking” posts or pieces of news, the social media platform is able to target your interests even more specifically. In addition to that, you can “rehop” posts, which means sharing them with others, commenting on them, and interacting with other users with similar interests. Moreover, you can “hop” yourself as well, through a text, link, photo or video, which results in your hop being automatically shared with people who are interested in the topic in question. Hence, it enables you to easily get in contact with
The good thing about Hopflow is that you receive news and posts only about topics that are of interest to you. You do not have to deal with scanning through any excess information, as is the case with Twitter and Facebook, for example. You do not follow people, but topics, which means that you have access to a variety of news and posts. Your likes and rehops provide Hopflow with even more detailed information about you, thus enabling the service to further specify the topics that are of most
relevance to you. Hence, the more you use it, the better the service, due to a
more specifically customized news feed, just for you. Another good thing about
liking and “rehopping” is that it enables you to easily connect with like-minded people with similar interests. You do not have to look for anything yourself, rather just sit back and relax, and enjoy what it has to offer – news, blog posts, videos, maybe even potential new friends?
Hopflow is an emerging tool, which means that it is not yet fully developed, but constantly changing. A major issue for some of its current users seems to be the limited amount of topics to choose between. The current number of topics is 52, and they are still relatively wide, e.g. coffee, sports, architecture and design, to name a few. Users would perhaps be more interested in more specific topics, or niche markets such as ‘Italian cuisine’ or ‘sushi’ rather than just ‘food’.
Although we were unable to find any information regarding the number of users, we believe that Hopflow is a growing social media platform and that it has great potential to grow big. It is today ranked 1 422 890 in the world among 30 million websites and has 110 unique visitors per day. As more and more people find their way to Hopflow, increasing the number of users and, therefore, the content as well, the opportunities to develop the service are many. More “niched” topics could be one way of improving the service and attracting more users, whereas a more appealing and user-friendly layout could be another thing to think of. As far as companies’ marketing strategies are concerned, we believe that there is vast potential for companies to use Hopflow as a communication tool with their customers.
The market into which Hopflow is trying to break is a highly competitive market. Consumers, or users of different social media platforms, have a lot of alternatives to choose between, which makes it easy for them to switch from one to the other. Hopflow has chosen to differentiate itself through targeted information feeds, giving its users the opportunity to state their interests in order not to have to deal with excess information. By doing this, it differentiates itself from the two biggest social media platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter. However, although offering its users something relatively new, there are up and comers in this market as well, such as Pulse and Flipboard. It is a rapidly changing market.
Hopflow and the IMC plan
By using Hopflow companies can take advantage of an already categorized customer base. Before starting to use the service, users choose their preferred topics, or topics that matter to them. As interests tend to change over time, users can, at any time, change the topics that they have chosen in order to make sure that they are up to date, resulting in an up-to-date news feed and a happy user.
By relating their products to the different topics found on Hopflow, companies can use the service as a tool to present their product or products to potential customers. They can use it as a tool in many steps of the purchase decision-making process. With the help of Hopflow, they can increase the awareness of their products and brands, and attract new, potential customers by stimulating, inducing and evaluating needs. For example, a company that sells furniture can create “hops” connected to interior design and home styling, and by doing that reach out to customers who are known to be interested in the topic, catch their attention and make them aware of and maybe even interested in the company’s products. By using the “hop” function, the company can learn about its customers’ needs, interests and preferences by
communicating with the users with the help of the comment function. This can be
seen as a tool to get direct feedback from existing, new and potential customers,
which could be of great value for the company. Therefore, Hopflow could almost
be used as a brand “investigation” tool, enabling the company to communicate
with its customers, both new and old.
Moreover, besides creating hops themselves, companies can look for hops within topics that they wish to advance in. Except for being provided with a ready-made (psychographic) segment, companies could use Hopflow as a tool to engage in psychographic research as the service provides it with information of the reasons behind customers’ preferences. Since many users use their Facebook or Twitter accounts when logging in, companies’ gain additional consumer insights, such as demographic information, which could help them in creating their overall marketing strategy.
In addition to this, companies can use Hopflow to identify and evaluate competitors. Looking into the categories into which their products belong, companies can find out what possible threats they might face when trying to convey their vision to their target audiences. Looking back to the example of the furniture company, the company might encounter products and brands that could substitute what they have to offer. By looking at how its competitor deals with its customers, products and brand, the company can either work on enforcing its own traits (vs. its competitor’s), or try to develop traits that the competitor excels in. Its presence on Hopflow will enable the company to keep track of threats in the market, such as competitors and changes in social trends and technology, etc.
Being a social media platform that, to some extent, conveys other types of social media, such as tweets, campaigns, articles, videos, photos, etc., Hopflow can be used in synergy with the other communication tools of a company in order to enforce and make its message more durable. For example, as far as marketing campaigns are concerned, Hopflow can play a huge role in getting the message out there by engaging people to get involved in it.
By: Anna Wallin and Malin Björk Runsvik