I have to admit, I enjoy some of the perks that come with being a community manager. I love traveling to conferences and other events on behalf of my employer and I enjoy when I’m asked to beta test or be an early adapter. I enjoy receiving books to review and I absolutely adore talking to people all day ever day. But you know what I won’t do? Use my status with the brand to ask for free stuff for my personal use. I would never contact a brand out of the blue and ask if I could have free codes to use their products and services, for example, simply because i might work for a prestigious or popular name.
Sometimes a brand will contact me and offer swag or items to review. In each case I make sure it’s not a conflict of interest by checking with my team first. However, I never, ever, contacted a brand to ask for stuff simply because I’m the community manager for XYZ brand.
One thing that bothers me about some of the people I know who work in community management is the entitlement. It makes me see red when they use their name or rank to ask for perks for their personal use as I feel it reflects poorly on all community managers as a whole. Now, it’s one thing to contact a brand representative to work out a cross promotion or engage in a bit of back scratching. It’s also not such a terrible thing when friends who work for certain brands ask us to test out their products. However, it’s an entirely different matter to use the brand account to contact another community manager out of the blue and say something to the effect of “hey, can I have some free coupon codes for your service for my own personal use.” Now a line has been crossed.
We’ve all read the stories of entitled bloggers and their swag fests, but it seems some community managers are doing the same thing albeit a bit more subtle. Contrary to popular opinion, and with apologies to Mack Collier, we’re not rock stars. We’re community managers and we have to represent our brands and community appropriately.
Stop asking for hand outs and cultivate relationships instead. If the brand is feeling it, they’ll reach out accordingly. Don’t use people for what they can give you and don’t use your status within the brand to ask for stuff.