An Insight into the 2018 Australian Community Managers Survey

by Erin Tierney May 23, 2018

The world of community management has rapidly changed since 2015 when the first Australian Community Managers Career Survey was undertaken. Sitting at an interesting crossroad of stakeholder interest, technology, and society, the role of community manager combines veteran practices with new technologies and tools, such as blockchain and AI, to bring people together.

With the release of the second Australian Community Managers Career Survey, community managers are facing a fragmented and hostile world, where trust is second-guessed thanks to the rise of fake news and volatile, hateful content that has become normal online behaviour. In fact, 32% of respondents mentioned that overwork & burnout as a challenge that they face in their role, especially as the majority (38%) are working on their community solo. In this case, to manage self-care and still ensure that their community is monitored outside of business hours, 26% of community managers who work in-house use an agency (like Quiip) or external consultants to work on their community.

The industry itself is dominated by women, with 68% of community managers identifying as female, which presents itself as an opportunity for women to enter the technology discipline. Community management professionals generally “fall into” the role, with no specific bachelor’s degree available for the position, however, are widely educated, with 57% holding a bachelor’s degree in such streams as communications, marketing, social sciences, and creative arts; and 20% holding a masters or doctorate and are widely seeking ongoing learning and professional development to further their knowledge in the changing technology space.

A community managers’ role crosses many strands but consists of engagement and relationship building, governance and risk management, communications, content development, analysis, and keeping ahead of the technology trends.

With these changing responsibilities of the community management profession, there is a struggle to communicate ROI, with 33% identifying this as their main challenge. Where marketing ROI metrics transferred over to social media, this isn’t relevant to community, where engagement and quality of the interactions rules above all, yet there’s no standard formula to deliver engagement ROIs that senior management can understand.

Overall, more businesses are turning to community, with 24% of community professionals (especially those in the technology, government, and not-for-profit sector) saying that community is integral to their organisation’s business model. This focus on community should grow, as while the industry is mature, we still have a way to go and expect this role to continue to grow both with seniority and expertise within the next 5 years.

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