‘Workinfluencers’: how they make money talking about their work


A month into the pandemic, Cece Xie had her “worst birthday”. I was depressed, locked up and afraid to leave the house. Because of this, she decided to take a day off from her work as a lawyer and do something “different”, according to her account.

He recorded and posted his first TikTok, jokingly comparing his experience working remotely under enormous pressure to the relaxed Zoom meetings of his marketing friends.

The publication was a success and, to date, It reached over 940,000 views and nearly 7,000 people shared it. Xie, encouraged by the response, continued to post work-related content, crack jokes, and give career advice to new lawyers. Her idea caught on and Xieha now has over 400,000 followers on TikTok.

Locked in and unable to complain about work to colleagues in the office kitchen, many employees took to TikTok and LinkedIn to rant, sob and gossip about their careers.

The hashtag #careertiktok, in which creators share salaries and daily anecdotes about their work, has more than 1.5 billion visits and, according to LinkedIn, more than 13 million users on this network have their profile set to “creator mode” to get more visibility for your posts.

This new content marks a change in the consumption habits of young people, who now share and seek work-related issues on the networks. Instead of posting information about career milestones and successes, people are more vulnerable and honest about their professional lives.

With this, previously taboo issues such as pay transparency and discrimination are being brought to light, and some professionals have turned their posts into new careers and lucrative side businesses.

However, All is not rosysince some got into trouble for their social activity, on some occasions with their bosses and on others with their public.

As Justin Welsh says, a influencers from LinkedIn: “You have to balance being interesting, unique, contrary, thought-provoking and polarizing while being aware of how your message will be received in the market. That’s a very, very difficult line to toe.”

The “Great Shaking”

At the start of the pandemic, people who worked from home began to use social media extensively. TikTok downloads skyrocketed and new niches have been filled within the application. Even traditionally stable platforms like LinkedIn have seen an unprecedented deluge of posts about mental health, burnout and stress.

Work caused much of this stress. Layoffs increased as businesses closed and those lucky enough to keep their jobs faced what Welsh calls “two-way pressure”: pressure to work from home and pressure for employees to generate income for their bosses in a very complex economic environment.

As Xie explained in a TikTok, the pandemic has also eliminated certain “perks” such as free dinners with clients and celebrations and parties among colleagues (which made the work more bearable). Without these advantages, the work became lonely and exhausting.

As businesses reopened, users continued to engage with work-related content on social media. In addition, the reactivation of the labor market, particularly in the United States, has led people to take an important turn in their careers, giving rise to the big resignation.

But it’s not just employees working from home who have taken the plunge. The workers essential they also resigned from positions that had become dangerous to their health.

According to a California study, occupations with the highest excess mortality rates in 2020 required face-to-face work: transportation and logistics, food and agriculture, and manufacturing. On-site jobs, particularly in the hospitality industry, also saw the highest quit rates last year.

A study of Research bench revealed that 53% of respondents who quit in 2021 had also changed industries. Dan Space, a human resources specialist who manages the TikTok account @dan_from_hr, says he believes the big resignation (or as many call it now, the big shakeup) is that people “walk away from their careers and choose from more options”.

However, choosing a new job requires a lot of prior information and the big shakeup it sparked greater demand for in-depth information about the job. The work influencers (job content creators) have filled that void.

Everyone I interviewed has their own reasons for sharing this type of content: Xie wants to help first-generation lawyers like her; Space wants to correct HR misinformation; and Welsh wants to build a personal brand. “If you can create a personal brand, you can get where you want to go,” Welsh says with conviction.

These influencersThey also found sharing professional content to be very helpful. commitment (user response). Besides Xie, Maddie Machado, a former Meta and LinkedIn recruiter who went freelance, says she received a huge response with her first TikTok post discussing the benefits of working from home for Meta.

‘Workinfluencers’ take advantage of the interest

The explosion of the #careertiktok hashtag has been beneficial for creator results. These often monetize their content by selling products such as Patreon memberships, courses, books, and consulting services. Welsh, for example, promotes courses and consulting services to its LinkedIn audience, earning nearly $3 million since August 2019.

The work influencers They can also make money through brand partnerships: Another creative named Corporate Natalie recently teamed up with HR tech platform Paycom for a TV campaign.

Not everyone has time to create their own content, which is why a thriving content industry has also been born. ghost writers. A writer said voice that he makes so much money writing for various employers that he has turned down other job offers; bills 780 euros per month for a single customer and around 9,000 euros for longer engagements.

Some platforms have encouraged influencers professionals to develop their audience, seeing it as an opportunity for the brand. In 2021, LinkedIn announced the creation of an internal team to recruit and support creators on the platform. Since its creation, this team encouraged the publication of authentic and educational content on the work on the social network.

And the company has embraced the efforts of its own employees to build personal brands and audiences. Brian Xu, data scientist at LinkedIn, has more than 1.5 million followers on TikTok. The company featured it on its social media and in its internal communications.

Machado explains that during his first week on LinkedIn, Xu hosted a workshop on how the creator economy works. Your presentation, titled A ready-to-use guide to the maker economy for tech professionalscentered around his take on the skills creators need to build and monetize their community.

Machado says that the ideal relationship between a creative employee and the boss is a partnership. LinkedIn is not the only company to encourage these agreements: Walmart and Samsung are also creating programs for employees.influencers.

Creator agreements can help companies retain talent and recruit new workers. When Welsh posted on LinkedIn alongside a full-time job, his success helped his business: With a partner, he generated “a huge number of candidate referrals” with their personal brands. “People wanted to work with us,” Welsh says.

But in Machado’s experience, most companies don’t know what to think of social media creators. Management generally views these profiles as a double-edged sword. “Your voice has a lot of power. The same power you have to get people interested in the business, you have to disengage them,” he emphasizes.

Be careful what you share

Sharing details about where you work can help creators grow their following and uncover new opportunities, but it also comes with risks. Few know this better than Braden Wallake, CEO of marketing startup HyperSocial, also known as the whiny CEO.

After laying off 2 employees in August, He posted a photo of himself on LinkedIn with tears streaming down his face.. “I just want people to see that not all CEOs have a cold heart and worry when they have to fire someone,” he wrote in the post. Users called it “disgusting” and “self-indulgent”.

Natasha Badger, a client marketing associate at LinkedIn, also sparked heated debate. In his profile he talked about pannacotta for dessert or a luxurious day of spa offered by the company during business hours. The Publish This proved controversial, as people criticized the company’s profits and questioned whether Badger was actually doing anything productive.

For some, sharing this kind of content is incompatible with a real job. “Now he to feed is an obstacle,” says Sofía Martín Jiménez, a recruiter from Madrid, for The New York Times. “I had to change the way I work on LinkedIn,” he explains, explaining that he now focuses more on avoiding confessional messages and talking about details relevant to hiring.

Criticisms aside, talking too much about your work can be expensive. Some have even been fired for leaking information the company didn’t want publicized. Machado quit his job at Meta after openly sharing it on TikTok.

According to his account, the company has launched several investigations into various publications he has made about his work. “It was the most humbling experience of my life,” he recalls. From Meta they did not want to comment on this.

Each company has its own guidelines on what workers can share publicly. As consumers turn to the internet, it’s important to know what lines not to cross.

In his next role after Meta, Machado proactively talked about his TikTok in the hiring process. Once hired, she made sure to get approval from HR and the company’s legal department before posting any job-related content. In the interview he told me that His current philosophy is: “Get ahead of the problem”.

Space has been open on his TikTok in interviews and it has pushed back some, especially big companies. Since he is a popular creator, they fear that he will give a bad image of the company if he has a bad experience or that he leaves after 3 months to devote himself to content creation.

Despite the skepticism he’s encountered in his job search, Space says his TikTok account has paid off. She learned a lot from the social network about HR confusion for foreigners and how to improve the industry. “We need to do a better job of marketing,” he says.

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