What are testimonials, and how can you use them in your marketing?
Most marketers are aware that customer-shared content and reviews are more crucially important than ever before. Approximately 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and they generally trust online reviews more than they trust any rhetoric from the company itself. That’s kind of insane when you think about it, given the opportunity for false rumors or untrue reviews to hurt your business tremendously. This makes the necessity of customer testimonials about positive aspects of your business all the more important.
Some businesses can struggle with finding testimonials for their website, brochure, or other marketing material. “What, am I just supposed to call up a customer and ask them what they think about me?” “Am I supposed to spend ten million dollars to lead a focus group and find out what people like and don’t like?” The above reactions are dramatic, but I’m here to present an alternative option:
Social media is pretty much custom-made for feeding customer thoughts and feedback into your life, so use that for good!
There are a few different ways you can go about this. Let me be clear: I do not believe in asking people to only write positive reviews, or in any way soliciting untrue or misleading information. However, if you have clients that really, truly believe in your business and their good experience with you, use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as a way to collect and house that information.
You can then keep track of it, so that if a client ever asks for testimonials or you want to have a page on your website with words other than what you’ve written, you have them. Testimonials are also good to have on hand in case your business is ever featured in print or online–writers often enjoy having multiple voices in an article.
Work with your marketing team to make a hashtag for users to connect to their reviews of your business. This will feed all testimonials to one place, and help you sort them from other messaging. Ask people to share their experience with your business—think #mySMC or #workingwithSMC. Keep it short, sweet, and hopefully catchy.
You can also install a free application in your Facebook page that can act as a repository for reviews 24/7, and send them to you immediately by email. (Without getting too technical, it’s something to ask your social media team about.) You can also feature testimonials on your page, and let people know that by sharing theirs, they have a chance to be featured on your social media! This in no way requires you to share all testimonials, but gives you options.
Whichever route you decide to go, be prepared for good and bad feedback. It’s easy for customers to vent their true feelings on social media, but never take it personally. No matter what you receive, find a way to utilize and take advantage of it to the fullest extent that you can.
Image Credit: CC by Gayla Baer-Taylor