Customer testimonials are one of the best ways to reach your targets, but they have to pass the authenticity test to really work. Here’s how to get them right.
By KPI Target
While you may be the most qualified (and excited) person in the world to sing the praises of your amazing product or service, what matters most to consumers is the proof that only another satisfied customer can provide.
Video testimonials give you the unique opportunity to humanize your brand through authentic storytelling. They make it easier to establish an emotional connection and earn credibility with your targets, since they’re non-promotional in nature.
It all comes down to trust. In fact, a corporate governance report by Deloitte showed that “25 percent of a company’s market value is directly attributable to its reputation.” But to break down those trust barriers, you have to show, rather than tell. Instead of assuring, or promising, or convincing your customers that your product or service is the best, allow them to hear, or better, see for themselves from an already satisfied customer.
Video testimonials dive deeper than the average user review. Written online reviews are important, but the distinguishing difference with video is that your potential customers can now put a face and a voice with the review. This is the human element, the point of connection where your target suspends judgment and listens objectively to what another person in their position has to say about you.
Coming in a close second to the importance of the human element is the control factor. In the case of a written customer review, you have no control over misspellings, grammatical errors or a general lack of specificity or description. While these may not seem consequential, they don’t exactly inspire confidence in the mind of the reader of said review.
On the other hand, you are able to take the reins on a video testimonial, ensuring that your target audience gets the opportunity to hear from someone who is not only willing, but excited to share their experiences with your brand.
Authenticity is the most important consideration when selecting your testimonial subject. You want to make sure that the person you interview is genuinely enthusiastic about your brand and excited about communicating their enthusiasm to others.
So how do you find this perfect-fit subject? This is where consistent engagement with your social communities comes into play. Who is already sharing positive user reviews about your products or service within their own social circles? Take that one step further. Who is creating their own videos about your product or service, or otherwise going over and above writing a review, to share with the world just how satisfied your brand has made them?
Once you lock in on a select few of these prized individuals, you’re ready to do your outreach and set up the all-important interview.
Have you ever seen a TV commercial with a “satisfied customer” reading off of a teleprompter how much a brand helped them, or solved a problem for them? Their eyes are moving side-to-side. The subject remembers to smile at the last minute after finishing their last line. Not terribly convincing.
What’s missing here? In short, the human element. The interview format, in which two people are essentially having a conversation, is the best way to ensure that the authenticity of your subject comes across on-camera. And there are some other best practices to keep in mind to set the stage for an ideal environment.
There’s a saying in the video production industry – fix it in pre-production. That’s a reference to the idea that you always want to anticipate any technical or creative considerations in advance of the day of production. Flesh out your creative concept, get eyes on the location, and prep all gear accordingly. If you have access to the production location in advance of the shoot day, it’s always best to pre-light and get set up the day before.
Use a two-camera setup, so you can “punch-in” for a close-up from an alternate angle. This is another tactic that will help humanize the narrative in post-production. Consider filming some behind-the-scenes (BTS) b-roll of your interview subject, while they’re taking their seat, for example. You might like to use this in a brief b-roll montage at the intro of your video, as your music bed fades up and the testimonial begins.
You can also let your cameras roll in between takes, as many of the best moments occur when the subject lets down their guard and speaks “off-script.” Allowing your target viewers to see your testimonial subject in a natural setting, perhaps laughing or smiling as they get situated before the interview, engenders a sense of trust in both the subject and your brand.
There are a few simple steps you can take to set your subject up for success. Begin by sending the interview questions in advance, so they can get to know the subject matter. Once on set, and before they take their seat, take a moment to speak with them as a person. It helps to develop some rapport before sitting down for the interview, so ask about their interests, or something not necessarily directly tied to the interview itself.
Be sure to discuss (not explain) that you’re going to have a casual conversation, rather than conduct an interview. Remind them that one of the best things about video is that you can record as many takes as needed, and most of all, that there’s no such thing as a wrong answer.
Make sure your testimonial subject has a bottle of water nearby, to stay hydrated throughout the interview. And, if you want to make them extra happy, go the extra mile with some nice craft service and snacks. Covering all of these not-so-little details will simply help the day run more smoothly and put everyone in the right state of mind for a fun and productive day.
Now you’re ready to let the cameras roll.
In a digital marketplace that is inundated with advertising on just about every platform, video customer testimonials provide a non-promotional vehicle for delivering authentic messages with impact and heart.
Contact KPI Target today to learn more about leveraging video testimonials to differentiate and grow your brand.