Anyone can create a website and start a business. Indeed some people could do so in an hour or less.
But consumers want to buy from businesses that have demonstrated that a product or service will benefit customers. Besides having a unique selling point, what can separate your company from a competitor's is testimonials from customers.
Fortunately, you can obtain testimonials in a variety of ways. Here are five social-media sources to mine for their collection of testimonials.
1. Facebook comments.
If your company has a Facebook page, you're probably already monitoring its posts so as to respond to fans and other customers.
Any positive comments posted to the Facebook page can also be imported as testimonials on your business site since they are public updates. 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 on your website. It makes for a perfectly credible testimonial as it can be linked back to a real person's Facebook account and the embedded post comes fully formatted.
Posts to your page with images can be embedded with the image, which adds powerful visual content to testimonials.
When encouraging customers to share what they love about your company's products and services, ask them to do so as a comment that they directly post on the Facebook page. Comments to a post already made do not come with that nifty button for embedding the code on your website.
One of the great things about Twitter is the large amount of updates that are public. If you monitor the mentions of your company's Twitter handle and business name, you're bound to find some testimonial-worthy tweets.
Not everyone will mention the company by referencing its Twitter handle, so monitor your business name mentions.
Use the embed tweet option when you find a complimentary tweet. This will provide you a fully formatted piece of text for embedding that tweet on your website. An embedded tweet makes for a perfectly credible testimonial as it can be traced to a real person.
Prompt you fans to tweet things that they value about your products and services. Ask them to include your company's Twitter handle and a custom hashtag. Favorite the best tweets and use Twitter's embedded favorites widget to create a listing of the most complimentary comments.
You could also create a widget on your company website that automatically posts any tweet with a certain hashtag but it will include anything people post with that hashtag -- without your vetting it first.
3. Instagram photos.
Instagram is a perfect source for visual content to use as testimonials. Unfortunately, Instagram does not have good search feature for finding public updates mentioning your business.
You can, however, use Twitter's search to find tweets of Instagram posts about your business by searching for instagram.com/p/ and your business name.
The link in the tweet will take you right to the post on Instagram. Clicking on the three dots at the bottom right of the update will lead to the embed option. You can choose to embed the Instagram image with or without a caption.
When soliciting Instagram posts highlighting consumers' appreciation of your business, ask them to share their posts with a custom hashtag. This will make them easier for you to find by using tools like Tagboard, which can be used to search for status updates with a specific hashtag.
4. Vine videos.
Vine is another great source for potential visual testimonials in the form of short and sweet videos. Enlist the search feature on Vine's website to find Vine videos referencing your business.
Clicking on the three dots at the top right of such an update to find the embed option. Then select the format and size desired for embedding a copy of the Vine video on your website as a testimonial.
When suggesting that people share Vine videos about what they enjoy about your company, invite them to incorporate a custom hashtag. That way you'll find such posts using Vine's search tool.
5. LinkedIn recommendations.
Sadly, LinkedIn killed off the recommendations feature for products and services on company pages when it created Showcase Pages. But you can still source a great testimonial from recommendations posted on your LinkedIn professional profile.
Since you can't embed an exact replica of a LinkedIn recommendation on your website, pull the name of the person who left you the recommendation and publish it on your website along with a snippet of their quote about your products. It's still a credible testimonial because people can always visit your LinkedIn profile to see the recommendation and trace it back to the LinkedIn contact who authored it.
Beef up the number of your LinkedIn recommendations from contacts by using the site's Ask for Recommendations form. Or start recommending people in your network in the hopes that they'll reciprocate when prompted by LinkedIn.
By monitoring your social-media mentions and encouraging your fans to share what they value about your business, you'll be on your way to building a strong portfolio of credible testimonials. As an additional bonus, you'll gain some great word-of-mouth marketing about your business.