Community management has, over the last decade, a professional, high growth industry. Touching on social media, knowledge transfer, customer service, PR and marketing, today’s community manager wears many hats, is often the most recognised representative of your company and has become a vital business asset. Yet despite the importance of the role, there is surprisingly little information about the role, salary, focus and breadth of community managers in an Australian context.

Now, thanks to the Swarm Conference, Quiip and Dialogue, the first research report into Australian Community Managers has been released. Some of the highlights include insight into community managers:

  • Education levels
  • Areas of study and expertise
  • Focus for professional development
  • Salary
  • Seniority

For those well versed in community management, it is not surprising to see that most community managers work significant levels of overtime (paid and unpaid). They also experience higher than usual levels of harassment:

Community managers often bear the brunt of aggressive and abusive behaviour online. They are generally accountable for protecting and defending organisational liabilities in digital social contexts, yet rarely find adequate support when managing, or personally confronting, bad actors.

But working at the coalface of customer engagement, community managers are in a unique position to understand the pulse of the community. And in an increasingly contested media landscape, community management can make a massive difference across the entire marketing cycle (yes, from planning and product development through to loyalty). As one respondent confided:

I think some people underestimate the power that community management has over a brand’s identity in this increasingly digital and social world.

Judging by the survey results, there’s work to be done at a corporate and community manager level in the years ahead. Download the report here.