Australian Community Managers Survey 2015

Numbers make me happy. Numbers about groups of people make me especially happy. Numbers about groups of people that include me? Even better!

That’s why the results of the benchmark 2015 Australian Community Managers Survey was of particular interest to me.

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

The survey was commissioned by Dialogue Consulting, SWARM community management conference co-founder Venessa Paech and Quiip, Australia’s leading social media and online community management company, to investigate the state of the professional online community management sector and its practitioners who build, manage and support online communities. The results delivered in spades.

It has revealed a highly educated work force under pressure, with four in 10 earning less than the national average despite long working hours that sees half working more than a five day week. But, beyond that, it also highlighted a number of issues needing resolution:

  • Approximately 40% of  survey respondents earned less than the national average.

  • 43% of respondents are working more than five days a week,. Almost one in 10 (30 of 262 respondents) work seven days a week, with three in four (77%) work more than an eight-hour day.

  • Despite the 24/7 nature of social media and online communities, less than one in five respondents said their organisation provided around the clock monitoring. Eight in 10 (82%) said their organisation conducted moderation within business hours, with at least some out of hours.

  • While almost all organisations collected metrics around their communities, four in 10 respondents said only some of their communities had a defined purpose – and one-third of those that had a purpose had no formal strategy in place.

So, why does this matter to me? Why am I writing about it? Well, for starters, it shows that there is a lack of understanding in this field. Organisations are realising the need to hire community and social media professionals to help support their brands, but lack the knowledge to harness, utilise and support this highly educated and, to be perfectly frank, freaking awesome group of professionals. It’s just another case of something shiny and new being brought on board without a clear plan for optimising the workforce.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of the report for yourself, you can do so at the ACM website.

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Facebook = Internet… or does it?

Michael Wolf, of Activate fame, said recently that Facebook wants to be the internet. He was, of course, referring to a deal between the social media giant and Oculus VR. The question is: How is it going to achieve it?

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on Flickr.com

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on Flickr.com

The internet, and by extension the web, has become central to our day-to-day existence. We use it to communicate with our friends, family and colleagues. We use it to access information that might otherwise elude us. It’s the first thing we think to turn to when it comes to the ever-present question, “What will I make for dinner?” In fact, with the Internet of Things invading our appliances, the day is not too far away that we see the Internet becoming the single most integral element in our everyday life outside of air, food and water.

Facebook sees itself at the centre of this brave new world. Its active hunting and acquisition of smaller companies offering something it wants is just one part of the strategy to offer everything online in just one place.

The Facebook wall has taken over what websites like LiveJournal and MySpace once offered, with Facebook Messenger giving us what Skype can. It’s not creating new opportunities, but more an act of integrating existing offerings and sticking a shiny new Facebook blue badge on it. Games can even be played in Messenger as well! Where will it end?

In Australia, you can now have your memorial online with Facebook. Not even your end will mean an end to your social media presence.

All this plugging in to your general life has left some people concerned.

Some critics of Facebook’s Internet.org say that attempts to provide free internet access to emerging markets by the world’s largest social media platform threatens “…freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.

Long time readers of this blog and my Twitter feed will know that I am a believer in keeping the net neutral (amongst other things). Now, I’m not saying that Facebook is evil. There are plenty of other people who have written on that subject. All I’m saying is that, as with any form of technology, there are things to be considered when you’re delving into the realm of social media.

Twitter’s Copycat Syndrome

We have seen a rash of recent changes to Twitter making it appear to most users more like Facebook. With it’s large cover image and pinned posts, it seems that Twitter is beginning to lose its separate identity in the race to commodify its users for the benefit of its main source of income – advertisers.

Twitter 8-bit

Today, we heard about even more impending changes, that will make Twitter as we know it no longer.

With major changes and additions to the Timeline feature we have come to know and love of Twitter, combined with additional content creation tools, it begs the question – Is Twitter just like the other guys, or is there hope that it will retain is separate identity?

Perth Joins a Brave New World!

Free wifi for all!

 

Well…

 

Provided you download no more than 50mbs per connection, within a one hour connection enabled for any and all wifi enabled device. Should you last an hour without downloading that much, you will have to disconnect and reconnect to keep using it.

 

The Free City Wifi from the City of Perth is the first of its kind in any capital city of Australia, with blanket wifi coverage in the area shaded pink on the map below:

 

Wifi-Map-final

So, what do you think about the move to give all who visit Perth free internet access whilst in the city? Is it a good idea, or just a waste of money? I’d love to hear your views in the comments below.

Facebook Ditches Old Settings… Again.

So, the other day I got this email from Facebook.

The Facebook email

I knew the change was coming. I had known for a while but, like most other Facebook changes that are gossiped about, I thought it wisest to leave it until it was officially confirmed by Facebook. I knew exactly why this setting was being removed, even before Facebook decided to tell anyone. What I didn’t count on was no one else picking up on the possible implications of it all.

I logged into Facebook this morning and saw this:

Facebook warning

Well, now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

So, what does the removal of this setting mean for the average Facebook user?

Not much… Unless you like privacy and are lazy in locking down your privacy settings.

Basically, this change is being made to make way for Graph Search. Haven’t heard about Graph Search? Watch this space. I’ll tell you about it real soon. In a nutshell, Facebook’s Graph Search is going to allow for more personalised search terms to be entered into the search bar and yield results which you might think strange.

Rather than searching through your friend list for all your friends who like a certain band, then looking through them to find out who also likes another band, you will just be able to type into the search bar: “friends who like band x and band y” to get your results.

On face value, this seems fairly innocent, right? Right. Except for the fact that this information is being obtained from the 6 petabytes of user information that crosses the Facebook servers every day. If you haven’t already taken a look at your security and privacy settings, to limit who sees what you post, I would suggest doing it now. I would also suggest limiting your past posts. Another thing I would suggest doing, which is going to take you a little time, especially for those of your with large numbers of people in your friend’s list, is to start creating friends lists, if you haven’t done so already. This is going to make sure you can pick and choose who sees what with a little more control.

If you have no care about who can see your personal information, then as you were soldier. If you’re concerned that your personal information might be seen by people you have no association with, then I say to you: Either lock down your profile or get off Facebook altogether.

EDIT:

This morning when I logged in to Facebook, I had this pop-up in front of my newsfeed.

Facebook pop-up

Seems like they’re making sure everyone sees the notification. I’m guessing there’s more to this settings change than most others in the past.. Hmmmmm…

The Cloud is not as safe as you think it is.

We have all been taken in by the romance of the Cloud. Not longer do we require terrabytes of storage for our documents, hooked up to our desktop computers. This has been one of the most important steps in freeing us from the shackles of our desktop machines, bringing about the rise of the laptop/tablet/notebook/iDevice/miniwhatever.

IBM Cloud Computing

But, and it’s a very big but, is all that information you’re transmitting and sharing through the Cloud as safe as you think it is? Short answer: no.

Take, for example, the case of Dan Tynan. Dan was one of hundreds of people using the Cloud to store and share files for work purposes. Through sheer bad luck and a series of seemingly minor errors, his entire cloud-based drive was deleted. In a flash, his entire collection of work documents disappeared. Not only would this have cause hours and dollars in trying to reinstate all the documents, but he could also have been held in breach of contracts he had with companies who included clauses stating he was required to hold onto documents for a period of time, in case of a lawsuit.

Well, surely this couldn’t happen to anyone? It’s just a rare occurrence, I hear you say. Ha!

Between operating system updates deleting your back-ups, the Cloud being blamed for loss of jobs, messy court cases over who actually owns data and if anyone actually has the responsibility of returning data, and Symantec “discovering” that apparently 43% of users lose data in the Cloud, it’s little wonder that more and more people are choosing to turn away from cloud-based computing and return to physical and local storage of data.

Sure, it may not be “cool”. It may mean having to organise an off-site backup for really really important data, just in case. It may even mean investing in a fire-proof, water-proof safe for storing … *shudder* … back up copies, but anything has to be safer than someone you have never met having control over your information.

Show Me The Money!

Social Media ROISeeing the return on investment for social media can be difficult if you’re not sure what you should be looking at in your analysis or metrics. If you’re looking for the wrong things, there can be missed opportunities to capture a new target audience, or to fix your existing social media strategy to make better use of your time online. Here are some tips on how to measure real ROI for your social media work.

So what is it that social media can offer you? Forget about “increased loyalty” and the like. We want things we can actually measure.

  • Increased retention of your existing customers. Engaging with, and keeping, the clients you already have is cheaper, by far, than having to get new clients all the time. Building a sense of community around your brand online is a way to keep them engaged with your business and make them feel that you are engaged with them on more than a simply professional level.

  • Increased repeat purchases. Converting those likes and retweets into sales and referrals might be tricky at first, but once your clients get into the habit of spending money with you, they will keep doing so for as long as there is value in it for them.

  • Reduced marketing costs. Even if you’re paying to promote your posts on facebook, or for pay per click advertising, it can still work out to be significantly cheaper than more traditional methods of advertising. Money you save on marketing can be put to use elsewhere in the business, or on wage increases for your staff.

  • Feedback. People are only too happy to tell you what they think from the safety and comfort of their computer. They are less likely to give you criticism in a face to face situation or a written survey. Take the opportunity to ask your online community what they think about ideas, or if there was something they weren’t 100% happy with during the last transaction. No print costs, no phone bill, and free useful feedback – it’s a win-win situation.

  • Reduced customer service costs. If you have one person employed solely to answer the questions coming in on the phones, why not get that person online instead? It’s faster, cheaper and means your clients don’t have to stop what they are doing in order to get their question answered. They’re already online, so go online. Go to where your clients are.

  • Recruitment. Are you looking for a new staff member? Need volunteers to help you with that barbeque you’re holding at the community centre? Helping to organise a busy bee at the local school? Why not turn to your online client base? If you’ve been running the rest of your social media presence correctly, they will already be engaged with you and your business, so convert it into action.

When it comes to selling social media as a real and measurable platform for engaging with your client base, do away with elements you can’t measure and stick to things you can plot on a chart. It will make the time, effort and money spent on building your presence worth it. You will also be more able to see what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.