How to Make Testimonials Work for Your Brand All Day Long

 In this post I'll talk about using testimonials to create content for all of your social channels. 

In this post I'll talk about using testimonials to create content for all of your social channels. 

If you know about the power of social proof, you know how important it is to have reviews on your website. But those reviews don't need to stay static wherever your customers felt inspired to post.

You can, and should, be recycling written reviews into social media content that attracts the right buyers long before they land on your site. 

It's not enough, either, to rely on your Facebook page reviews. Those starred ratings are great IF your potential customers take the initiative to pop over to your page for a browse. 

But how often do you see a review appear in your news feed? Never, in my experience. Which means there are plenty of ideal customers who won't encounter the great things other people are saying online about your brand.

Reviews on your website and Facebook page are for people who are already aware and interested.

Here, I'll show you how to get your best reviews in front of the right people before they know they want what you have to offer.

Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are pure gold on social media. If you have articulate, enthusiastic customers on video, you can get amazing reach on social media. Even if that video is unpolished.

I’ve posted iphone videos from a noisy trade show, with bad lighting and no editing, and been rewarded with thousands of organic impressions. So don’t wait for your studio produced testimonials! Take what you have and get it out there.

Graphic Image Quotes

Next to video, images get the best play on social media.

The ideal image to promote your business is one of a raving fan using your product. If these aren't coming your way, don't despair. It typically takes a bit of encouragement. Try running a contest in which the price of entry is such a photo (and an agreement to give up rights to the photo to your brand).

Even if you’re selling something as one-dimensional as software or as invisible as an audiobook, you can and should be collecting user photos. These are essentially testimonials in jpeg format.

 More user photos = more social proof.

More user photos = more social proof.

But what if you have plain old-fashioned written testimonials?

My client, Natural Calm Canada, is lucky to have devoted users who not infrequently post happy comments on the Facebook page, or send glowing reviews by email.

I know that these testimonials can have a lot more reach if I make the text visual. With visual content I can stand out on Facebook and Twitter and meet the basic requirements for Instagram and Pinterest.

Do I ask for the reviewers' photos to post with the testimonial? I wish I could, but often the messages are too personal. People are sharing about their health, and it just feels invasive to ask for a photo. Especially when I plan to show that testimonial to thousands of complete strangers.

Here’s my process for turning written reviews into visual social media content. 

  1. Always thank the reviewer and ask for permission to use their quote with first name and last initial only. Sometimes I first offer a free gift of product as thanks, and make clear that the gift is not conditional on permission. I always explain that their testimonial helps other people discover the product. This, I think, is important. People want and deserve a reason to say yes. Never have I been refused.
  2. Head on over to Unsplash and find a free photo that’s on-brand and in some way evocative of the testimonial.
  3. Upload the chosen photo to Canva, and overlay the testimonial onto the photo, with the product logo.
  4. Use the “Magic Resize” button to reproduce the graphic to the specs of different social media platforms. (So, if I start with a design sized for Facebook, I resize and adjust for Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).
  5. Share on social! Generally I have quite a few in the queue, so I use Buffer to schedule the posts in such a way that the testimonials are gradually dripped out. And I re-post the same testimonial every few months.

I don't want to bore you, so I won't show the same image resized for different social platforms. Instead, here are four different testimonial graphics for four different social channels.

 Here's what a testimonial graphic looks like for Facebook.

Here's what a testimonial graphic looks like for Facebook.

 And here's one customized for Pinterest.

And here's one customized for Pinterest.

 Here's a testimonial formatted to the specs of Twitter.

Here's a testimonial formatted to the specs of Twitter.

 And finally here's one in the dimensions of Instagram.

And finally here's one in the dimensions of Instagram.

How Do Social Testimonials Perform?

If you’re breathing today, you know about the inspirational quote phenomenon. I’m sure none of us wake up thinking we really need more quotes in our lives, and yet we read them in droves.

Personally, I can’t even help myself. If a quote so much as passes my peripheral vision I fall completely victim to the message.

 A little 18th century health advice from a titan of war.

A little 18th century health advice from a titan of war.

The same is true of testimonial graphics. They’re just hard not to read!

Marketingland recently published an article on content preferences by generation. Across Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, images are second only to blog posts. And for Baby Boomers, consuming reviews is among their Top 5 preferred forms of content.

 Testimonial graphics are images + comments + reviews, all rolled into one! 

Testimonial graphics are images + comments + reviews, all rolled into one! 

People are going to love your visual testimonials. There's no question. But will Facebook give these little gems any play on the news feed?

In my experience, the reach for social graphics is consistently much higher than the reach for link shares, which it’s no secret are out of favour with Facebook.

Organically, a testimonial graphic will reach at least 10% of a business page's Facebook fans, sometimes up to 30% without any special stimulus.

If there’s a strong call-to-action, such as “Share your testimonial for a chance to win!” you can expect even higher reach - without paying a cent.

But you can’t be running contests all day, every day, just to reach your audience. Sometimes it makes complete sense to pay to get the social proof in front of potential customers.

Turning Testimonials Into Social Ads

The beauty of paying for reach is that it allows for greater targeting. You can promote the testimonial graphic specifically to the people who would be most interested in that particular quote. And the more relevant the ad, the lower the cost per click. 

For example: If I have a testimonial on the benefits of Natural Calm for ADD, I would get inside Facebook Ads Manager and create a paid post targeting potential customers within my demographic with demonstrated interests around ADD. I’d also include a link in the ad to a page on the Natural Calm website where they can find more information on this particular topic.

 Here's the sort of very specific testimonial that can be useful in targeted ads on social.

Here's the sort of very specific testimonial that can be useful in targeted ads on social.

Ideally, I’d have an audience-specific offer on that page, to move the reader further into our sales funnel. In this case, I might offer a PDF download on magnesium supplementation for kids, in exchange for an email. And from thereon would begin the email marketing.

Amazing that it all began with a simple quote!

For now, using reviews in this way feels authentic and fresh. It’s an ad, yes, but it’s also someone’s story, and it’s a little piece of art, and that’s the sort of content that people want to see when they’re skimming their social networks.

If you have any questions on using testimonials in your online marketing, drop me a line.

Best,

Anna O’Byrne

 

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