Those that manage the online communities that assist businesses, community groups and governments feel misunderstood, and now they are demanding better.
The third Australian Community Managers Career Survey, released today, portrays an industry with an identity crisis.
“Despite online communities and community management pre-dating social media by more than a decade, it is yet to be fully realised as an industry, with confusion with social media a key factor in its identity crisis,” said Australian Community Managers (ACM) co-founder Venessa Paech.
“This confusion is stubbornly persistent; acutely in Australia, where social media platforms are the dominant site of community building and there are fewer owned communities than other international markets.
“The industry needs to push back by building greater strategic alliances to grow understanding and recognition of its key role as a distinct, value-adding professional practice.”
The titles of community professionals span from a community manager, to head of community, to social
business manager to social media manager, with many others between.
Despite the prevalence, just 22 per cent of community professionals say their role is understood and valued by the organisations they work for or with.
Additionally, one in three community professionals (31 per cent) find it challenging to measure their success with the tools available.
Community professionals are also struggling to deal with an increasing disconnect with platform providers.
Platforms are classified as dedicated community software, such as forums, as well as social networks such as Facebook.
ACM points out that although not specifically designed for community building, the popularity of these social media networks means they are used regardless.
The top concerns with these platforms are community management tools, moderation tools, platform design, users’ data privacy, content regulation and organisational data security.
Despite the range of concerns, just 13 per cent of respondents said it was easy to communicate with the relevant platform when an issue arose.
In addition to technical problems, remuneration is an issue for community professionals.
40 per cent are paid below the ABS’s national average of $82,436 annually, with the average salary for community managers between $70,000 and $100,000.
Just four per cent are paid over $150,000, while three per cent are paid below $31,000.
You can read the full report here.