The peak membership body for people working in online communities in Australia, Australian Community Managers, has reaffirmed in its annual industry survey Australians spent more time than ever in online communities during the pandemic.
Australians are seeking virtual support and social connection in lieu of face-to-face contact during the coronavirus pandemic, through online communities that include social media groups, online forums and organisational intranets.
However, the increased activity and pressure of 2020 is taking its toll on those who manage the groups for Australians, according to online community management benchmarking research by Australian Community Managers (ACM).
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.
The survey is the only benchmarking research captured about online community management in APAC and is supported by industry partner Higher Logic.
“Online communities have long offered a place of belonging, especially for those who may struggle to fit in offline,” ACM director Venessa Paech said in a statement.
“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.”
In addition, at the beginning of the pandemic, 81 per cent of Higher Logic’s customers experienced a significant uptick in online community engagement.
And since March, there has been a 33 per cent increase in usage and new community members across the company.
The impact on community managers
However, the increased use of online communities has taken its toll on those who manage them.
In helping carry this burden for others, 30 per cent 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, ACM said, which is more noticeable when it is 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,” Higher Logic country manager Robert Barnes said.
“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.”
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 and medicine, government, and non-profit remain the top sectors hosting online communities in Australia, according to ACM. 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 per cent)
- 75 per cent of community professionals are tertiary qualified
- Online 24 per cent of online community practitioners say their role is understood and valued
- 30 per cent are using Artificial Intelligence in their practice.
The ACM 2020 Survey is supported by major partner Higher Logic and supporting partners Quiip and Discourse.
Featured image source: iStock/imaginima
Australian owned and operated email and SMS marketing software company, Vision6, announced the launch of its first-ever national brand campaign and new brand platform “Simply Reliable”. Founded in 2001, Vision6 was one of the first email marketing software providers in Australia and has since been relied upon by thousands of Aussie businesses and organisations for […]
Out-of-Home media company JCDecaux New Zealand has appointed business growth specialist Adam McGregor in preparation for its bid to win upcoming local government street furniture tenders across the country. With contracts for the provision of street furniture including bus shelters across New Zealand up for renewal from late 2022, they collectively represent the biggest advertising […]
Fetch TV has announced that ABC iview will soon be available as a dedicated Virtual Playlist Channel on the Fetch platform. Virtual Playlist Channels (VPCs) were developed by Fetch to promote content discovery, and to provide a clear bridge between the traditional world of linear TV and the growing availability of on demand content via […]
Jackie Gillies, businesswoman, psychic medium and cast member of The Real Housewives of Melbourne is bringing her sassy, inspirational and adventurous spirit to her new podcast Shine It Up, With Jackie Gillies, which launches today via Acast. Hosted and distributed by the creator-first podcast company Acast, the show will offer listeners inspiration and motivation to […]
Crowdsourcing platforms DesignCrowd and BrandCrowd are promoting vaccination efforts in a unique way, launching a logo redesign contest among their networks of designers. The initiative saw iconic Australian brands such as Hungry Jack’s, Jetstar, JB Hi-Fi, and Bunnings undergo a redesign. “We thought it would be fun to see some other iconic Australian brands back […]
Jillian Davison has been named editor-in-chief of the recently relaunched Harper’s BAZAAR Australia. She will oversee all content, development and creative direction across the iconic magazine’s digital and brand platforms. Davison (pictured) succeeds Eugenie Kelly, who recently stepped down to pursue other opportunities. The announcement was made by Maureen Jordan, publisher of Harper’s BAZAAR Australia […]
Freedom Foods and 72andSunny Sydney have launched the first advertising campaign for Australia’s Own range of plant-based beverages. The campaign introduces a new visual world and identity for the brand and captures the healthy, positive feeling you get when spending time in nature and when consuming Australia’s Own certified-organic, plant-based beverages. As well as featuring […]