We’ve come a long way since the early days of Facebook, when social networks were just that—a network of contacts within your social circle that shared posts and pictures of where they were and what they were eating.

When you compare the use of current social networks to those at inception, or even just the past couple of years, gargantuan changes have been made regarding content and features now geared toward monetization and advertising efforts, rather than pure socialization.

While this has helped brands get their messages out to the masses, the supported advertising strategies seem to neglect one of the most powerful tools possible for brand sales: word-of-mouth sharing among a consumer’s network.

This change shows just how much users still value and want to see content, including recommendations, posted by the people within our own networks.

Supporting consumer referrals is one of the best ways to maintain the social aspect of a consumer’s social media stream instead of bombarding them with ad after ad.

The key is to get users excited enough to provide referrals to their own network of connections by offering a digital reward in exchange for a post, with the intention that the people within a consumer’s network will be interested enough to either purchase the product or reshare with their network to get the reward.

The text above is a summary, you can read full article here.