With video becoming more popular every day, there’s never been a better time to use the power of testimonials to engage potential customers on social media.
According to a survey conducted for Ally by The Harris Poll, 49 percent of American adults say that online reviews are extremely or very important in influencing their buying decisions.
However, organizations must use reviews they can trust. A video featuring real people who are willing to speak highly of your product or service adds an extra layer of trustworthiness—and even passion—to a typical review. These authentic testimonials humanize your brand and are highly shareable across social media platforms.
Here are the five elements of creating a successful video testimonial:
1. Identify the “why.”
Before organizing a video shoot, identify a clear goal for the testimonial.
Our recent campaign for JM Lexus’ exclusive Lexus Plus program made its goal to showcase happy customers. The Lexus Plus program offers cash back to buyers when the price of a vehicle they purchased is reduced after a sale, often resulting in a customer finding a pleasant surprise in their mailbox.
We decided that a single customer journey would work best when illustrating the benefits of the cash-back program. The video would have a grassroots, welcoming feel and feature the customer’s satisfaction after receiving cash back.
2. Find a compelling speaker.
After identifying a goal for the testimonial, it’s time to find customers willing to share their experiences.
Asking customers to go on-camera can take some selling skills—being warm and personable is key, especially if it’s over the phone. It’s important to be specific in your request, revealing what the testimonial will be about, how long the clip will be, and where it will be filmed. When possible, ask for customer testimonials the moment they make a purchase, since it’s more convenient for the buyer and it’s when they’re most excited about their new purchase.
However, there are instances where you can’t ask for a testimonial immediately. For the JM Lexus video, our social media team contacted customers after the sale was complete and after the cash back had been received. In this case, we called 88 customers and received three commitments to film testimonial videos.
3. Get the right camera equipment.
Powerful content can be created with a smartphone and good lighting—there’s no need for an entire production crew. All you need is a tripod, an LED light and a backdrop that has a hint of branding. Location also matters when producing a testimonial.
Before shooting begins, you’ll need to have your interviewee sign a waiver releasing their likeness for use in your marketing efforts. Then, start making the customer feel more comfortable by having a quick chat to ease any pre-filming jitters. As you’re warming them up, make sure to have the camera rolling, just in case you strike gold.
The key to a great video is authenticity—ask the customer to share their experience as if they were speaking with a friend. Scripting a testimonial can make the content seem less organic, but it’s okay to prompt the interviewee with questions if they get stuck. Ask them to consider whether they’d purchase another product from your business again, or what they’d say when recommending your business.
Most important, keep the content short and sweet, and don’t forget the B-roll. Having this additional footage will give you more content to work with when you enter the post-production phase.
4. Put on your editing hat.
When editing your video, always use the customer’s real name. This will help gain trust among those watching the testimonial. Using captions is another way to help viewers understand what the video is all about.
Remember that the B-roll footage can be used to show off your product or place of business even more throughout the video. If you have enough good footage, it’s a good idea to create different versions of your video that can be used over time to get more mileage out of your hard work.
5. Promote your final product.
The possibilities are endless when promoting a video testimonial. Once you have the final product, it’s time to share it on your social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram’s feed and Stories section, and your Yelp business profile.
Creating friendly, conversational customer testimonial videos should be an ongoing effort as your product and service mix evolves. You’ll need to highlight new features and keep content fresh to engage potential customers.
When producing video testimonials, it’s important to ask for the review as early as possible. Reducing your close ratio is important, but you can get great testimonials even post-sale with a friendly, confident request.
Mollie Cooke is a senior social media community manager at MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton, Florida, and Brooklyn, New York. A version of this article originally appeared on the MDG Advertising blog.