It's not surprising that independent workers (freelancers, temps, self-employed, etc.) rely on word of mouth/referrals for getting business.
What is a bit surprising is just how important word of mouth is compared to other methods.
Survey data from the MBO State of Independence study shows that 67% of independent worker respondents listed word of mouth as the most important source for getting assignments.
Via agencies and brokers came in 2nd with 17% and former employers came in 3rd with 9%.
Social media was distant 4th, with only 3%.
But this understates the role of social media. 22% of the respondents listed it in their top 3 methods for getting assignments and 32% listed in their top 5.
In interviews, independent workers who invest in social media tell us they see social media as a tool for building their reputation and brand.
So while few see social media as their most important source of business, many see it as an important reputation/branding tool and a source of leads.