Not every visitor to your site believes that he or she is a performer. Even in the age of social networking, many of your visitors may feel camera shy, especially if you do not take steps to make them feel at home with your video tools. That's why, with my company, VideoGenie, we spend a lot of time consulting performance experts: singers, dancers, actors, improv artists, and comedians who face the challenges of performance and the creative process in their daily, professional lives.

These experts shared with us their creative strategies for opening up in front of an audience, and we want to share them with you.

7 Tips For Encouraging Customer Video Testimonials

Here are seven ways to encourage and inspire your customers to open up on video to create testimonials for your site.

1) Inspire Content:

Empower your contributors to feel proud of their videos by tying your campaigns to a cause beyond brand promotion. Choose causes that inspire your contributors to offer their own, individual perspective, and let them know that you appreciate what they have to say. Offer immediate feedback for a job well-done, and special recognition for the best videos.

2) Create Creative Community:

Some visitors to your site may feel less self-conscious about recording videos if they can see that their contribution is one, unique part of a greater whole. Create creative community by encouraging your users to watch and respond to other videos on the site, or record in groups.

Foster connections not just with your customers but between customers. You can stimulate video dialogue on your site by curating video campaigns to spark communal stories and conversations.

3) Offer Creative Guidelines And Starting Points:

Motivate contributors by showing featured videos as examples. Seeing other, featured videos offers a "starting place" creatively, and establishes video guidelines that can ease creative blocks. Make sure to provide easy access to featured videos wherever solicitation occurs, and solicit videos wherever videos are displayed.

4) Build Safe Spaces To Build Confidence:

Build contributor confidence by introducing a "safe space" for sharing videos prior to uploading them for public viewing. For example, allow contributors to share videos with close friends and receive feedback before posting to the public. This allows contributors to get comfortable sharing on your site.

5) A Little Knowledge Upfront Goes A Long Way:

Be explicit about where videos will be displayed and how they will be used and shared. Sharing this knowledge with your potential contributors establishes trust and encourages contributions.

6) Curate Comments:

Safeguard your contributors by curating comments on their videos. Keep it positive, and encourage dialogue between users.

7) Catch Customers At The Right Moment:

When will your customer be feeling best about themselves and your brand? Maybe it's just after receiving a shipment from you, after a customer service call, or right after signing up on your site. Locate these moments of excitement and capture your customer's inspiration by asking for video contributions at those times.

By giving your customers that extra level and comfort to open up on video, you can get more creative, authentic, and engaging submissions from them – it's a win-win situation.

About our Guest Expert: Justin Nassiri
Justin Nassiri is the CEO and Founder of VideoGenie, an online platform for collecting, managing, and distributing customer-generated video content. Justin started VideoGenie after graduating from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and VideoGenie is funded by Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors. Once upon a time, before starting VideoGenie, Justin enjoyed scuba diving, long distance running, and watching terrible movies (preferably with Mystery Science Theater 3000 silhouettes on them).