Today we're proud to release the full results of our annual ACM Career Survey, shedding light on who manages online communities around Australia, and how we're utilising these digital gatherings.
The survey is the only benchmarking research captured about online community management in APAC and is supported in 2020 by our industry partner Higher Logic.
The 2020 survey has uncovered that online communities of all kinds were a go-to source of support since the start of pandemic restrictions in Australia. One third of community professionals reported their members were spending significantly more time in their online community and posting more frequently, regardless of the online community topic or purpose.
“Online communities have long offered a place of belonging, especially for those who may struggle to fit in offline,” says ACM Director Venessa Paech.
“During COVID we’ve seen Australians seek connection and comfort in online communities of all kinds, including new workplace online communities created to support working from anywhere. Community managers have been working hard this year to provide a psychologically safe environment for their members or users to share what they’re going through, escape from the pressure, or collaborate to meet challenges.”
“At the beginning of the pandemic, 81% of our customers experienced a significant uptick in online community engagement. And since March, there has been a 33% increase in usage and new community members across our platforms,” says Higher Logic Country Manager Robert Barnes.
In helping carry this burden for others, 30% of Australian community professionals say the pandemic had a negative impact on their own health and wellbeing, creating extra stresses around workload and duty-of-care, along with the pressure to do more with fewer resources as companies scaled back during lockdown.
Online community management is a largely invisible discipline, more noticeable when it’s not present in an online environment. Yet it is growing in Australia and globally, as people invest in online communities to support customers, partners and remote colleagues.
“Few things impact an organisation externally and internally like Community. The business impact on customer loyalty and lower support costs are second only to the internal impact on company culture and communications efficiency. The Community Management profession makes this all possible with that unique blend of technology, psychology and sociology that drives meaningful engagement,” says Barnes.
Community managers build and maintain healthy social interaction and engagement around strategic goals or shared purpose. They moderate and manage risk, and support the creation of content and activities that help participants meet their needs.
Australia leads in online health communities
Health/Medicine, Government and Not-For-Profit remain the top sectors hosting online communities in Australia. Research from the online community industry in North America and Europe suggests Australia leads the world in online communities for therapeutic purposes.
Other findings from the 2020 ACM Survey include:
Online community management is a female dominated technology profession (73%)
75% of community professionals are tertiary qualified
Online 24% of online community practitioners say their role is understood and valued
30% are using Artificial Intelligence in their practice
The ACM 2020 Survey is supported by major partner Higher Logic, and supporting partners Quiip and Discourse. Download the full report here.