Both public relations and HR directors for B2B companies want, and need, high-quality testimonial videos to help build their brands. However, these videos come with a price and can be undervalued by executives.
The value of video testimonials can outweigh the production cost and hours to produce these B2B employee testimonials if done well and strategically. This tactic can provide authentic brand storytelling and recruitment – both invaluable to any communication strategy.
I gained some experience working with a large B2B, plastics producer that is regarded as one of the top automotive suppliers in America. They don’t have any issues with customer acquisition or retention. However, they lack a public presence on social media platforms which hinders their ability to recruit high quality new employees in their surrounding area.
To address their needs, we researched the corporate culture in this organization. A family first attitude along with an devotion to safety were the top considerations offered by current employees. We wanted to capitalize on these themes in a social campaign.
The most efficient way to communicate these messages was through a series of testimonial videos and podcast style audio clips that could be posted on social channels and the corporate website.
We produced over 40, three to five minute testimonial video pieces which addressed a wide variety of questions. The videos were aimed at both highlighting the company and proactively addressing potential employee questions.
Through this experience, I learned several key concepts and strategies to make video testimonial production run smoothly.
How to effectively work with HR
When working as a social media content creator or outside counsel for a B2B corporation, there may be some pushback to new ideas. Pushback likely will include upfront expenditures and employee down time needed to record interviews. Building a strong relationship with HR personnel can dramatically shift pushback into cooperation.
When working with HR personnel, I learned they are under pressure to ensure employee safety, that workplace relations are efficient, and that day-to-day operations run smoothly. Understanding this was critical to our ability to work with them and help them effectively and efficiently.
Making employees feel comfortable during an interview can be challenging. One way to make sure employees and HR managers are comfortable is to be transparent. We took a lot of time to listen and explain exactly how and where the B2B employee testimonials would be used. HR directors want to be in the loop when it comes to the use of employees for this purpose. Keeping them informed on what specific questions we would ask and what information would be used in the final project went a long way to building the necessary trust.
To make sure workplace relations concerns are properly addressed, we sent logistical information to the HR manager well ahead of the set interview time. This helped ensure the HR manager had time to schedule off time for employees during the day of interviews.
When the day for interviewing arrived, we learned to be sensitive to everyone’s time and be flexible to change. We had a set list of questions prepared to keep on schedule and when there was a cancellation we had to quickly adjust.
Keep the final product short and conversations transparent
According to research conducted by Wistia, the optimal testimonial video length is under two minutes. Videos under two minutes produce engagement levels almost 35% higher than videos of ten minutes or longer.
Just because the final product is going to be less than two minutes long doesn’t mean the interview should be as well. Take the time to have a meaningful conversation with the interviewee. We learned the more genuine and transparent the conversation would be, the more believable the testimonial was for the intended audience.
There are two realms of thought on keeping interviews unscripted or scripted. Most say you must keep testimonials unscripted to encourage genuine answers. However, this can also affect the quality of an interview. The team at Rapid Eye Digital say to go far as far as you can unscripted, but best practice is to a mixture of both.
Rapid Eye says that if your questions are well-written, you will get closer to the right message you want communicated. They suggest having an actor or customer read from a script that communicates the core message of your brand. Mix these in with unscripted employee interviews, shot in the same style, and you will have a quality interview.
Get the Best Shots With the Equipment You Have
Everyone has seen interviews shot on an old camera phone. While this used to be acceptable, younger generations are demanding higher quality visuals when scrolling through social media.
Not everyone can afford to buy a professional DSLR camera or outsource content creation to a partner firm. So here are some general tips to help create quality video content regardless of your equipment:
- Framing: When filming an interview make sure your subject is positioned in either the left or right third of the screen. Equally as important is to give your subject enough head room from the top of the screen. These framing tips will give your subject, “breathing room” which will make your video look less cramped.
- Quality Audio: Whether you are shooting on a professional DSLR or on your cellphone, it is critical to have an external microphone to capture you subjects voice. You can pick up a shotgun microphone from Amazon for fairly cheap or an iPhone compatible lavalier mic to get quality sound.
- Post-Production: Whether you have footage from a DSLR or a phone, you will need software to arrange the clips in a functional way. Adobe Creative Cloud services are fairly inexpensive and include powerful editing tools. If you find their Premiere Pro editing software intimidating, try using Adobe Rush. Rush is a user-friendly video editing software that delivers an uncomplicated experience.
Utilize Evergreen Content
After the planning, pre-production, and production of testimonial videos comes post-production planning and delivery of the final product.
How videos will be arranged and distributed on digital channels are determined by the content produced. Start the post-production plan watching and “coding” all of the video content. Coding the content entails creating a profile for each video taken. Who the subject was, what department they work in, what points they were asked to address, the times in the clip when they were addressed, how the subject spoke (were they confident or nervous), the location and list of shot angles should all be included in this list.
Now in possession of a library of video content, you can reuse this footage for months. Owned content is often considered evergreen content and can be repurposed for a wide variety of content needs.
In their 2019 Trends Summer Reader, Thunder::Tech, an integrated marketing agency located in Cleveland, Ohio recommends using the C.O.P.E. (create once publish everywhere) method, to get the most out of your content. The article says to, “Tweak your content to fit different delivery methods,” and by doing so will be able to get the most out of your footage. The article says, “For example, your Hero video can be cut into short snippets for social media, or broken into teasers for paid advertisements.”
Creating B2B employee testimonials in video format takes a commitment in both time and money. However, the end result can provide high levels of engagement and boost your post’s ranking on every social media platform.
Recruiting is evolving into an exciting marketing process that can be used to attract and maintain exciting talent for a brand. With video on the rise as the most sought after marketing content, the ROI your clients or brand will see from creating dynamic B2B employee testimonials will surely be worth the planning, shooting and editing of these videos.
Joe Dunay is a Senior Public Relations major at Ohio Northern University.