Publicizing your glowing customer testimonials can be a nice way to spread the word about your product or service, and capturing testimonials on video can be even more effective than putting them in print.

That said, many companies hire actors and script testimonial videos, which makes the old formula (Person in a Studio Says Why Brand X is the Best) feel really stale, and not very authentic.

The solution? Stray from the norm. We came up with a few tips for making testimonial videos that people will actually believe—and that they’ll find interesting enough to share with their friends.

1. The Impromptu Interview

If you get frequent face time with your customers, keep a small video camera with you (You probably already have a pretty good one if you have a smart phone) and clip microphone with you. This way, if you meet someone who has something nice to say, you can ask them for a quick interview on the spot. If you’re a B2B, do the same thing when you head out for meetings with clients. The spontaneous approach will keep testimonials from feeling too staged, and will give you a chance to capture a broad range of video clips from which you can choose.

2. Mix up your format.

Most testimonials seem to be answering the same question: “Why do you prefer this product?” While the answer to that question can be extremely helpful, it can also be extremely boring. Keep things interesting by having a bank of unconventional questions at the ready as well. For example, “Where were you the first time you tried the product?” or “What’s the most unexpected benefit you got from using the product?” Try a few different things, and see what gets good responses.

Also, try filming in different locations. There’s nothing more boring then a testimonial video in an office or in front of a white screen. Instead, try filming outdoors, in an active workspace environment, or in the places where your product or service is used.

3. Help your customers help you.

By paying attention to what your clients or customers are up to, you can easily spot optimal moments to request interviews that will benefit them as well as you.

B2Bs, has a client recently launched a new product that they’ll want to promote? Opened a new store? Won an award? Set up a testimonial interview that places your product or service in the context of that client’s success, giving the client a chance to shine as well. This is a great opportunity to build strong B2B relationships, and the content will benefit greatly from the fact that your subject is engaged and enthusiastic about speaking to you.

B2Cs, social media will be your best friend when it comes to identifying your loyal fans. Reward people who are active in your brand’s online community by asking them to do a short interview to be broadcast on the site. If you can’t arrange an in-person meeting, you can up an interview via Skype or Google Hangouts, and record it. There are some great Skype recorders out there like VodBurner for Windows and Call Recorder. You can also use free, open-source software like CamStudio on Windows or Quicktime on Mac to record your screen when using Google Hangouts.

4. Crowdsource.

If you already have an active social community online, you can host a contest or competition to crowdsource a high volume of customer testimonial videos in a short space of time. You might invite customers to submit a video showing how they use your products or services, with coveted prizes going to the most creative videos. (This is also a way to crowdsource creativity if you’re running a little low.) Once you have the content, you can use it in any number of ways in the future.

5. Do a Case Study.

Do you have a particularly interesting B2B client, or an especially loyal fan who is using your product regularly? Ask if you can do a more in-depth video case study of that person or company and how they’re using your product.

This is the kind of video that will move beyond the soundbyte to tell a story about your customer base. By engaging with the human side of their story as well as highlighting your product, you can remind viewers that your company is about more than just products: you care about your customers as well.

Have any ideas of your own? We’d be psyched to hear them. Shout to @SproutVideo or leave a comment below.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted April 3, 2013

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