First came discussion boards which turned into social media which grew into user-review powered platforms which became more mobile --- which have proven fruitful, to say the least.
According to an Offerpop survey:
Now that's what I call smarketing. Imagine combining that with social. You could have conversion gold. This is why strategies that include Instagram (for example) are so effective. Advertisments on Instagram feel more like content.
Who would you rather speak to, a brand or another customer? Who do you trust more, a brand's product description or a group of people reviewing that product?
Breaking Traditional Practices
The trick here is to stop thinking like an advertiser and start thinking like a publisher (as our new friend Brian Rotsztein reminded us at Data Marketing 2016). If you're the editor-in-chief, let your customers be the contributors. Rotsztein punched the point home with, "User generated content. If you can get this, you're golden."
The article below has more on why you should be combining your original content with UGC.