Imagine a world where your entire marketing team and your entire customer service team never come into the office. What would it be?
It is essentially the ‘gig economy’ and its best companion: the social media network.
The gig economy – which is a rising tide of freelancers and 1,099 independent contractors drawn to growing opportunities anchored in developing technology – stands at about 3.2 million workers. By 2020, the number should be doubled to around 7.6 million. There’s no doubt that the “developing technology” anchoring this trend revolves entirely around the Internet.
In terms of the way businesses get themselves out there, marketing themselves in order to generate leads and to drive sales, content marketing is the third most effective method to get your foot in the door. At the same time, it is one of the most difficult ways to generate leads. It can’t be ignored in any marketing strategy, but takes more serious dedication and specialists.
Distributing information in such a way as to persuade others toward you is incredibly hard because you’ve got to be subtle and you have to be current. You have to be on point. Politicians who are the most successful people at using information to promote themselves have speech writers do it for them. Or, in the case of blogs and businesses with websites, they have content creators do it for them. Either way, these creatives have to come from somewhere. They have to have a place to promote their wares—which just so happen to be the wares of whoever they’re writing for.
Here, I have to admit something. I have personal experience with this. Not long ago, a guy from a marketing firm (based out of San Francisco) I won’t name contacted me via Twitter. I’m not sure which article of mine he saw, but chances are it wasn’t surfing websites that attracted his attention. I didn’t ask, but am sure he used an app, such as Buzzsumo, or something like it. This allowed him to check Twitter for who the influencers are in a specific niche. All he had to do was enter a keyword for a topic. From there, he reached out to me and asked if I wanted a gig writing for his clients.
I said no, but not because I don’t want extra gigs; because his terms were unrealistic. He wanted to pay me much less than good content is worth. What this did alert me to, however, is how social media can be both a place to market content—to market a brand—and to find a content creator. It can be the gig economy gathering-place for those of us whose gigs don’t involve an Uber app or an AirBnB website.
Content analysts predict the gig economy could generate $10 billion in 2015. But there’s a great deal of controversy marring companies like Uber, whose gig workers have protested and gone on strike over unfair treatment. Both Uber and Lyft face charges they’re misclassifying workers.
However, if you decide to become a gig worker, or you are in the position to higher one, the point is that social media can greatly aid you in finding your match. Freedom, in this economy, is outweighing the risks. Every company is free to contract these workers, pay them what they’re worth, and classify them correctly. No one is forcing gig workers to do anything—they’re free to go elsewhere if they feel mistreated. It’s clear that now, more than ever, the future of work is options. For better or worse, social media is helping the options thrive.