Earlier this month, RNBA asked the digital agency Social Media Beast if they have any advice for how to boost marketing for its members. SMB suggested focusing on digital testimonials. RNBA members, after all, really value the one-on-one connections they build with their customers. It’s now very important for local businesses that this kind of positive discussion and word-of-mouth take place online as well as in person. This is a syndication of a blog originally posted on socialmediabeast.com, discussing how businesses can cultivate and leverage online customer testimonials.
In today’s media landscape, we are constantly being advertised to, and this naturally leads to a healthy skepticism among consumers. You may be an excellent advertiser, a master of marketing lingo, stellar at contacting your core demographic and pushing boundaries with your social campaigns, but without the power of testimonials, your brand will be lost in the noise. Why? Because people trust each other more than they trust your brand.
Customer testimonials are unique in that they aren’t self-promotional. They’re a sure-fire way of knowing whether or not your brand is living up to its hype. Something to consider: customers who leave testimonials are putting their own reputation on the line, and if your product doesn’t match their review, it’s their reputation that’s damaged. So the relationship between your brand and the consumer willing to write about it is a fickle one and is absolutely vital to your success. Below are some tips on what makes a good testimonial, how to source and collect favorable testimonials from your client base and how to best promote them through social media.
What Makes a Good Testimonial?
When it comes to securing the best reviews for your brand, it helps to abide by a specific criterion. So what constitutes a good testimonial?
For starters, the testimonial should come from an actual customer whom your target market can identify with. For example, if you are selling books on DIY home improvement, you may seek out a testimonial from a home improvement expert to give your book the thumbs up, or perhaps a testimonial from a small business owner who made use of the book when building their business. Know your target market before seeking out reviews. This way you can exercise greater control over your eventual brand voice.
Furthermore, the content of the testimonial should come off as genuine rather than forced, gushy or inauthentic and written in a clear, coherent fashion. Ideally, the testimonial will be short and to the point, reiterating claims made about the product through your own marketing, focusing on how it beats out the competition at an affordable price.
Needless to say, you won’t always have control over what your customers have to say about your product, nor will every testimonial fulfill the above criterion. Luckily, you can ascertain more favorable responses by questioning your client base carefully and promoting only the responses that best suit your needs.
Tips on Sourcing and Collecting Testimonials
Since testimonials are vital to the success of your brand, it’s important to implement best practices when sourcing and collecting testimonials for social marketing. Don’t be afraid to ask your client base for testimonials, but never offer any reward or compensation for doing so. If you do this, you will undermine the authenticity of your brand and erode trust in your client base.
So what are the best ways to go about asking for a review?
Start by including feedback forms on your website, making it easy for everyday users to leave their opinion. This tactic is most useful to new businesses looking to establish their brand. While you may not have control over what users are writing, you’ll at least have content to work with when establishing your quality standards.
Consider running a social campaign encouraging users to leave video reviews of your product, or generate their own content based on an engaging theme or idea. Giving your customers creative opportunity will often benefit your brand in that it will lead to original content from multiple sources.
Another useful tactic is reaching out to social media influencers, such as prominent bloggers, journalists, critics or celebrities and see if they’re willing to write a review of your product and promote it on their own social channels.
Make use of Adwords, an advertising service by Google that allows businesses to set an advertising budget and only pay when people click on their ads. Furthermore, Adwords seller ratings is an automated extension that increases your search engine visibility on receiving 30 unique reviews over 12 months and maintaining a rating of at least 3.5 stars. This service can be highly useful in particularly competitive fields such as insurance, health care, or real estate.
Remember to always keep in touch with your long-term clients. Consider interviewing them for longer testimonial interview videos that highlight the best qualities of your product in depth. If this isn’t an option, ask for testimonials through social media. Send your clients an email with links to specific sites where you’re looking for reviews, making it as easy as possible for them to respond. Potential consumers who are on the fence regarding your product may tip after watching informative videos or reading a positive comment from a long-time customer on your website or social channels.
Promoting your Testimonials
Now that you’ve amassed a number of positive testimonials, how should you go about promoting them? A good place to start is on your social media channels, promoting new testimonials weekly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to give the impression your brand is consistently appreciated amongst a wide variety of clients. Next, consider including a testimonials section of your website to create a library of sorts, building your brand authenticity over time. Include your best testimonials in your email marketing campaign to improve your click-through rate (CTR) and publish your video testimonials to YouTube to reach a wider audience. Be creative! Now that your brand is widely-respected, you have the power to use your reputation to generate new leads and further grow your business.
Customer testimonials, whether from strangers, close friends or long-time customers are a powerful and necessary tool when establishing your brand authenticity. Always be on the lookout for genuine feedback from your customers, and be sure to source your content through a multitude of channels. Once you have testimonials at your disposal, promote them often through your website and social media channels to promote brand awareness. If you do this effectively, you’ll see your business grow and your brand popularity soar.