Interview with Wouter Glaser (Hyves)
Wouter Glaser is Communication and PR Manager at Hyves, thÃ© social networking site in the Netherlands. For an update on his book The Conversation Manager, Steven interviewed him on his role as Conversation Manager at Hyves. You can find the full interview below. Enjoy!
How would you describe your role as Conversation Manager of Hyves: what are your tasks?
My primary task is external communication of Hyves and influencing the image of the social network. I thereby shape the overall communication strategy, communication about new product launches and set up collaborations. I discover conversations about Hyves by monitoring media, the Internet and Twitter. I react to these conversations based on the opinions expressed. For instance by inviting the person in question to lunch and a tour.
What skills do you need to succeed in your job?
Everything stands or falls with the ability to communicate, both in person and by phone and online. The formulation and distribution of the right message is also an important competence. Another characteristic the Conversation Manager should have is the ability to uncover how people are influenced, and by whom these people are influenced. While journalists are still important, they are only one of the influencers who make or break your brand. This combination coupled with expertise and experience makes a skilled Conversation Manager.
What challenges do you face?
The biggest challenge in my position consists of a number of misconceptions about Hyves, including those about the size of the company (160 employees), the average age (31 years) and reach (7.8 million unique visitors – Comscore June 2010). Another challenge is the fact that the playing field of influencers is becoming ever bigger, which makes it more difficult to improve perceptions among certain groups.
What are the most common situations in which you enter into a dialogue with consumers?
I myself do not enter into dialogue with Hyves users as Hyves has dedicated community managers who are specialised in that. Twenty so-called Hyves Angels work 7 days a week to enter into dialogue with Hyves users, answering no fewer than 750 questions per day. The Angels are also in contact with well-known Hyves users, artists and our technical department. Since recently, they also enter into dialogue with Hyves users who use Twitter to point out problems, via twitter.com/hyvesangels.
Do you have a specific policy, or certain guidelines that support your strategy?
Influencing the influencer is the primary strategy. This is the motto of Thomas Creemers and Anton-Jan Thijssen (TBWABusted), who taught me the PR profession. This is the basis of a number of starting points, including publicising our USPs:
- Hyves is locally relevant.
- Hyves gives personal attention to its users
- Hyves users can customise Hyves the way he or she wants.
What is your personal vision for Conversation Management in 140 characters?
The Conversation Manager will in the near future become the spider in the web between communication, PR and social media departments.