Sarah Abhoulhosn
February 23, 2020

How to Use Testimonials as a Powerful Social Media Marketing Tool

Are you using customer reviews and testimonials to promote your brand on social media? Find out how and why reviews should be a key part of your strategy.

As a business owner, your most powerful asset is happy customers or clients. Testimonials from satisfied customers are an invaluable marketing tool that will add credibility to your brand as well as help increase brand awareness in an organic way. A good customer testimonial is so much more than a useful review on a business page. Having testimonials as a regular part of your social media marketing strategy can give your business an edge over your competitors and increase trust between you and your audience.
If you've never collected testimonials or used them as part of your social media marketing strategy, don't worry. There are some simple ways you can use social media to collect and share customer testimonials to build social proof and establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Types of customer testimonials you can use on social media

A 2018 study found that 54% of social media users read reviews on their preferred platform when researching new products. Regardless of your niche, it's likely that many of your customers use social media both personally and when researching things they want to buy. Depending on the social media platforms your brand is using, there are different ways you can incorporate testimonials into your marketing strategy on social media.

Platform-specific reviews

When crafting a social media strategy, you should have a specific plan for each platform to get the most out of the platform and its unique features.
Facebook has its own way of giving reviews built right into the platform itself. If you have a Facebook Business page, then you've probably already started collecting reviews organically from people who are visiting your Facebook page who have worked with you. Facebook Business reviews work great for local businesses or businesses with brick and mortar shops.
Australian men's clothing brand Urban Wear has collected hundreds of reviews from happy customers on their Facebook page. Now, when a user finds them on Facebook organically or through Facebook ads, they can easily access reviews from satisfied customers, which also helps new customers learn more about the brand.
If you are using Facebook ads to target your audience, using video testimonials as part of your remarketing funnel is a great way to garner impressions and engagement from new people exposed to your brand.
Zapier does a great job of using customer testimonials in their Facebook ads as a way to get their message across while adding a layer of social proof to the ad. In this ad, they use a real customer to describe one of their new features in her own words.
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On other platforms, like Instagram, you might not be able to generate testimonials as organically. However, there are still ways that you can capture customer reviews on the platform and turn them into content that adds authority to your brand and value to your audience.
A lot of brands are using social media stories to create content around customer reviews to make the most impact on the platform.
One way to highlight customer reviews on your Instagram is to create an Instagram Story highlight that compiles all of the customer reviews you've posted on your story. You can include testimonials that other users have posted in their story, on their page, or in your comments, and re-share it to yours. Go To Skincare does a great job of collecting reviews that customers leave in their comments, and featuring them in a designated "Reviews" story highlight.
Another way is to create your own stories that feature your happy customers or clients either by creating the content yourself or asking a user to take over your stories for the day and share their thoughts on your brand.
Every week, Australian-owned co-working space Dojo Bali features one member who does an Instagram Story takeover to show followers what their day looks like at the co-working space. Takeovers like these are great ways to get organic testimonials without seeming overly marketing-oriented. It gives members a platform to share their own story, while organically highlighting all of the benefits of the co-working space.
Some brands, like SneakerNation2, have so many testimonials that they've taken to creating an entirely new Instagram account dedicated to reposting glowing customer reviews. 

User-generated content

One of the best ways to collect organic customer testimonials is to curate user-generated content regarding your brand.
Many visual industries, like beauty and wellness, rely on user-generated content from content creators on Instagram to market their products. Self-tanning company ModelCo's Instagram feed is full of reposts of happy customers using their products. While these posts are not outright testimonials for the product, they still build great social proof when they appear to be organic and not forced reviews.
To keep track of users creating content about your brand, you may want to start a branded hashtag or ask users to submit their stories as part of an incentive program. This is a great way to collect a large volume of testimonials to have on hand and incorporate it into your social media posts.
While you can collect testimonials in all different mediums, video testimonials have the most power in terms of creating influence and building a connection with whoever is watching the video. The rise of video marketing has also encouraged brands to capitalize on influencer marketing, specifically with influencers who have large followings on video platforms like YouTube.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is booming. As more brands turn to influencers to promote their products and act as brand ambassadors, the rise of influencer marketing to capture customer reviews and testimonials will continue to grow. In some niches like beauty and fashion, YouTube unboxing videos are a great way to gather organic customer testimonials.
Australian beauty subscription box company, Bellabox relies heavily on YouTube unboxing and first impressions videos posted by influencers to market their brand. Every month, dozens of influencers film their first impressions of the items in the box as well as the subscription service itself.
While this is great organic social proof, if the influencer is a fan of the product, one thing to keep in mind when working with influencers is that you may not have 100% control over the message. Especially as more influencers move towards being more transparent about sponsored posts and their partnerships, you can't always rely on an influencer to give you a glowing review. It's wise to use influencer marketing in conjunction with other forms of collecting testimonials to make sure that you remain in control of the message being put out about your brand.
While influencer marketing might seem like an e-commerce strategy, many Saas businesses are working with influencers to create useful tutorials on their products or partnering with power users of their products to speak on behalf of the product. To identify power users, you should be able to look at your saas data and see who has engaged the most with your product. You can also ask your support staff if they have noticed any power users asking good product questions.
Alternatively, you can track who is already talking about your product on social media and reach out to them for a testimonial. That's exactly how graphic design tool Canva noticed that marketing guru and former Apple employee Guy Kawasaki was a huge fan of their tool. They partnered with Guy to share his Canva story on their YouTube channel and launched an entire marketing campaign around his testimonial.

Tips for collecting testimonials on social media

If you're a B2C brand, a lot of the options we mentioned above will work well when collecting customer testimonials. For B2B companies, one way to collect customer testimonials that you can use on social media is to schedule a call with your client after a project to discuss their thoughts and feedback on the project. Create a dialogue around their experience with your company. Ask them if you can record the call so that you can later extract snippets to create into social posts. Of course, always ask the client if they are okay with being featured on your social channels.
When you start using social media to collect customer testimonials, make sure that you're tracking all of your company's social accounts, handles, and associated hashtags. This way, you can start making a note of which posts you want to use by screenshotting them or favoriting them. Over time you will build up a library of testimonials that you can incorporate as a regular part of your social media calendar. If you see posts that you want to re-share, always make sure to reach out and ask the person who originally posted it, if you can use their content for your marketing.

Final Thoughts

In 2019, 93% of online shoppers claimed that online reviews influenced their buying decisions, and 68% of consumers said they would be happy to leave a review if asked. If you're not incorporating customer reviews and testimonials into your marketing strategy, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to attract new customers and build authority for your brand.
As you begin to incorporate testimonials into our social media strategy, it's important to remember that you will not always be able to control the message when you ask users for their feedback. Use caution before requesting the entire world to leave feedback on your brand or risk some potential negative feedback which will be posted for the world to see. On the other hand, reaching out to users who you know are fans of your brand and asking them for testimonials can play a positive role in shaping your business's social media marketing strategy.

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