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The Art of the Testimonial

 

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Social media is a fantastic place to share testimonials. If you don’t have some, gather them.

Testimonials are important for a few reasons. First, people are simply more inclined to trust businesses when you’re not the only one advocating for them (even if the other opinion is just “Linda from Omaha”). Especially for service-based businesses, as Dan Steiner, CEO of Avila Web Firm, explains, “landing new customers often means hoping for word-of-mouth recommendations. Good reviews can help, but those are usually posted on third-party sites like Yelp and Facebook… testimonials give firms the option of controlling the message, choosing from the best comments they receive from clients.”

Sometimes, you can source these testimonials from social media pages that you already have. While it’s considered good practice to ask, note that any comments posted to your Facebook page are public updates, which means you can use them as testimonials: “Simply click on the drop-down arrow at the top right of an update and select the embed post option. This will let you copy the HTML code in order to embed the post complimenting your product anywhere you wish,” says Entrepreneur. Especially when a post can be linked back to a real person’s Facebook account, it’s automatically more credible.

Here are a few criteria for crafting and sharing the perfect testimonial:

Imperfection is okay. A list of testimonials that are aggressively perfect are going to hold less weight than a testimonial that acknowledges a slight error or something about the business that may not have been a perfect match for that person. I don’t mean that you need to feel compelled to share the rants from angry and bitter customers or that you don’t believe are true, but realistically, nobody’s perfect. It’s okay if every testimonial doesn’t rave and rant as if you’ve been sent from heaven above. Your customers will feel more inclined to believe in testimonials to the strength of your company that also acknowledge for whom this perfect fit may exist.

Ask for more. Simply put, the more content you have to share, the better: “Gather more social testimonials by LinkedIn’s recommendation tool, or just post an update or tweet asking your fans or customers for instant feedback on one of your products or services. Filter out the not-so-desirable reviews, and re-post the great ones.” You won’t like every single testimonial you get, which is certainly okay. So, continually ask for customers to share their opinion of your company, select those that you believe are most valid and relevant, and continue to share!

Choose recognizable names. As much as you value your clients’ opinions, anyone scoping out your company likes to see names that they’re familiar with. Take a look at this SMC testimonial: “For small businesses like mine, SMC is what we hope an outsourced partner will be but seldom is: proactive, sophisticated, and for the work product we are receiving, tremendously economical,” says Scott Anderson, President & CEO of Doubledare Executive Coaching. Even if people haven’t heard of Doubledare Executive Coaching (yet), they know what a CEO is. Recognizable names, authority figures, and people with public influence are ideal candidates to provide testimonials.

I think that at the heart of testimonials on social media lies a very basic principle of human desire: To learn from other people, to hear other opinions, and to see content from people who aren’t paid to advocate for a brand. The more you can incorporate these into not just your social media, but your overall marketing strategy, the better.

 


 

 

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Gustavo Da Cunha Pimenta

About the author: Maggie Happe

Maggie Happe is a recent graduate of Creighton University and a contributor to Social Media Contractors.

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