Dealing with customer video testimonials

Ever been new to town? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by options for dining, shopping, daycare and everything else under the sun. What do you do? Ask your new neighbors or coworkers for recommendations on anything from a trusty mechanic to the best gelato.

We hold social proof from our friends, family and even complete strangers in high regard. According to a Nielsen research, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer; 70% of people trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”

Visual evidence takes social proof a step further. Customers place far more trust in a review – or testimonial -- when they can see another customer speak, feel the emotion and determine whether the person is honest or not.

How do you get customers to sit down and record a video selling your product? It’s not as big a marketing hill to climb as it may seem, and we’re going to outline seven strategies to employ when obtaining and circulating real, genuine customer testimonials.

Skip scripting

It’s okay to have a plan if you’re recording the testimonial in-house. Invite the customer in and show them around your office. When it’s time to sit down and record, they’ll feel relaxed and ready to give a meaningful testimony. Tell them how long you’d like to record, which products you’d like to talk about and which products they have experience with.

That said, it’s important to keep things genuine and stay clear of a script. Customers viewing a testimonial know in a matter of seconds when something feels contrived and will immediately tune out. Keep things conversational. Respond to your customer with follow-up questions; don’t just skip to the next item on your list. Keep things relaxed and you’ll yield genuine results.

Use unboxing

Remember that feeling of complete amazement on Christmas morning when you sit down to open your presents? Unboxing videos are great at harnessing this youthful exuberance.

The concept is simple: reach out to a few regular customers and offer to send them a free product, provided they record a video with their smartphone opening the package and testing it. It’s a low-effort act for them in the grand scheme; many customers will be thrilled to participate.

These videos accomplish several important marketing goals. First, unboxing generally brings a natural excitement that shows on video. If you feel confident in your product’s first impression, you’ll find that the customer is like a kid in a candy store.

The other objective is that the video simulates in an accurate representation of what other prospective customers can expect upon purchasing your product. Setting realistic expectations fosters a desire in potential customers to pursue a similar experience with your product.

Keep it short and sweet, but record… record… record…

The final product shouldn’t be too long; less than five minutes generally, but less than 90 seconds is better. But during the process, keep the camera rolling!

Don’t rush the interviewee; let them elaborate as necessary. Some gems of insight can be found throughout this process. If they say something that you don’t feel meshes with the tone of the video or brand, it’s okay! Keep on going and worry about it later. Everything can be edited, but authenticity cannot be created.

Launch social media contests to generate testimonials and followers

Call it killing two birds with one stone. This tactic is a fantastic way to save time, generate video testimonials and get attention for your brand. Send a call-to-action to your followers on social media asking them to post a video reviewing your product in exchange for a free item. Get creative: use a hashtag and theme, whether for an upcoming product launch, current cultural phenomenon or holiday.

Not only will the campaign yield valuable passively created, user-generated content to choose from, it will also open up your brand to all of the followers of your participating customers. If just 20 customers participate, and they have an average of 200 followers, suddenly as many as 4,000 new eyes are on your product.

This is an ideal use of video testimonials; receiving marketing material at a low cost to your company that your customers will deem trustworthy and bring positive attention to your brand.

Sean Gordon is the CEO of HireNami with experience recruiting, hiring, training and building teams. Connect with Sean Gordon on LinkedIn or through email or follow him on Twitter.

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