Customer Video Testimonials

I met up with some Bay Area reference professionals this past week for a brainstorm, group therapy 🙂 and best practices meeting. We meet up about once a quarter and it’s an invaluable meeting.  The group consists of all technology companies but ranging from industry leaders, Fortune companies and smaller companies.  Although most of the programs are somewhat similar, it’s still great to share best practices and see how others are doing things.

This past week one of our topics was video testimonials, are they valuable, how to do them, what to include and how to use them.  Below are some of my thoughts along with the groups’ on video testimonials.

The benefits:
One of the main benefits of a customer video testimonial is that you get the actual voice of the customer rather than the voice of the company.  Although still seen as marketing collateral, if it’s coming directly from the mouth of the customer, it’s generally more credible. 

The things to watch out for:
Don’t script the interview!  If it sounds like the customer is reading from a script, the validity of the video may be completely lost – even if the customer wrote the script.

Camera shy customers. Do what you can to feel out the customer (ask them if they’ve ever done a video before, how do they feel about doing it) to see how they will be on camera.  When you speak to them on the phone, do they answer “yes” or  “no”?  These might be warning signs for you that they might not be the best pick.  You want a customer that is willing to speak and expand on answers.

Must do’s:
Make sure that the video testimonial tells a story.  Similar to a case study, the video should give a brief overview of the company being highlighted and then go into pain points, solution and benefits.  You want to be able to tell the customer’s story in 3 minutes or less.

Get approval before you do the video.  This might include getting your customers’ PR team and legal team involved.  There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of time and money on something you can’t use.

Select a video vendor that specialized in customer video testimonials. Just because a vendor charges $25,000 for a video, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.  Some of the best video production companies I’ve used are less than $10,000.  Ask for examples of other videos. Just because a vendor has done commercials, doesn’t mean they’re good at customer videos.

How to use:
If your company has a Facebook, Twitter or YouTube channel, video testimonials are a great way to get your customer story out there and in the customers’ voice.  If your company has a blog, feel free to post the video there too.

Once you have collected a group of customer video testimonials, they can be great looped together so that they can be used as a video in your company’s lobby, tradeshows and even if you have a demo truck.

Social media has been growing like wildfire yet not all companies embrace it in conjunction with traditional mediums such as public relations.  With the rise of social media press releases, links to videos are becoming more common.  Just make sure that the video you link isn’t too long.

If you don’t have money to spend on video testimonials done by a full production crew, you can always buy Flip cameras (while they’re still alive!) and send them out to some of your customers in return for a short video.  Although it’ll be a rough video, sometimes these are the most valuable because they come directly from the customer and don’t look like Marketing hype.

What are your thoughts on customer video testimonials?


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