Donovan Group Insights

Video Testimonials Speak Volumes

Video has become an increasingly popular way to connect with stakeholders. It captivates audiences more than text, so if there’s something you really want people to hear, video is the right way to go. There are many forms of video content that can benefit your district, and one of them is the video testimonial.

Video testimonials harness the affirming words of stakeholders to boost your district’s image in the eyes of the school community. Stakeholders have the power to shape your district’s story, and video testimonials encourage them to shape it in a positive way. Out of respect for the participants, your district is obligated to use their words responsibly so you can maintain those solid stakeholder relationships.

Let’s go over the importance of video testimonials along with when, where and how to use them.

Stakeholders tell your district’s story

As a school leader, you have an idea of what you want the district’s story to be. At the end of the day, though, school leaders aren’t the only ones shaping the district’s story—it’s the entire school community. Students, teachers, staff, parents and community members are part of the district’s story. And they’re the ones telling it.

Bit by bit, stakeholders shape the district’s story in their everyday lives. Students chat with their friends in the halls. Parents discuss school affairs over coffee. Local reporters cover the latest district news. Stakeholders say a lot of great things, and sometimes, they say some not-so-great things. It’s your job to highlight the great things they say.

Video testimonials allow you to capture the positive experiences of your school community. You can’t control everything stakeholders say, but you can encourage them to share what they love about the district. Too many times, stakeholders fixate on the negative things happening in your schools. Testimonials prompt stakeholders to really reflect on why their district is a great place to be. They translate inner thoughts into spoken words that you can share with the rest of the community.

Districts need to highlight the positives because stakeholders trust other stakeholders. The more people share their positive experiences, the more people will view your district in a positive light. Video testimonials give stakeholders a voice, making it easier to share those positive experiences with others in the school community. Positivity leads to more positivity!

When to collect video testimonials

Video testimonials are always good to have in your back pocket. However, there are situations where you need testimonials from specific stakeholder groups. When used at the right times, video testimonials can help your district achieve its goals, whether that’s boosting enrollment, hiring quality candidates, passing a referendum or something else entirely.

If your district is looking to boost enrollment, it would be most beneficial to gather video testimonials from parents and students. That way, prospective families can hear what the district is really like from a parent or student perspective. Video testimonials highlight what people love about their schools, which can encourage more parents to enroll their children in your district. You’ll want to collect these testimonials in the summer so they’re ready to go by the time parents start looking for schools in the early fall.

To attract quality candidates, seek out video testimonials from teachers, staff and administrators. Candidates want to hear what your district is like from the people who currently work there. Ask employees to talk about their favorite parts of the job and what makes your district stand out from all the others. These testimonials will show prospective candidates that your schools promote a fun, supportive workplace environment. Collect video testimonials before you start advertising open positions so that job seekers will see them right when they visit the district website.

When it comes to passing a referendum, video testimonials can come from just about anyone in your school community—students, teachers, parents, even stakeholders who don’t have children in the schools. In fact, it would be even more beneficial to reach out to stakeholders who are indirectly involved with the district, such as business owners, elected officials and community groups. This would show other stakeholders that the schools are valuable to everyone, regardless of whether they have school-aged children or not. Release these testimonials in the months leading up to a referendum decision so you have plenty of time to garner support.

Responsible use of video testimonials

It’s important to use video testimonials responsibly. Remember, participants are making time in their schedules to support your district. Stakeholders are volunteering to share their kind words, often without asking for anything in return. Maintain those good relationships by using their testimonials in an agreed-upon way.

When you collect the testimonials, make sure you’re staying transparent with the participating stakeholders. Let them know when and where their testimonials will get posted. Clue them in on why you’re collecting testimonials in the first place. Most importantly, give participants a chance to opt out if they don’t agree to the use of their video testimonials. Just because you have their testimonial on tape doesn’t mean you can use it! Always get the stakeholder’s permission before releasing their testimonial to the public.

Also, each participant should get to review the final cut of their video testimonial. That way, you can be sure they’re satisfied with how their testimonial turned out. This also gives stakeholders an opportunity to confirm that their words weren’t taken out of context. You’re seeking video testimonials to make the district look good, and in return, it’s your moral obligation to make the participating stakeholders look good, too.

Where to post video testimonials

You can post video testimonials on pretty much any digital medium. Video testimonials are great for social media platforms, especially ones that are built specifically for video content like TikTok and YouTube. You could create a social media campaign that involves regularly posting video testimonials on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other district account. The campaign could feature senior salutes, alumni spotlights or weekly updates from the superintendent. People are using social media now more than ever, so take advantage of that!

Another great place to post video testimonials is the district’s website. If your district is actively hiring, upload teacher and staff testimonials to the career web page. To draw in prospective families, post parent and student testimonials on the enrollment web page. Video testimonials should be featured on any web page that’s frequently visited by people who might potentially join your school community.

You could even share video testimonials at school events. Student testimonials are a great addition to open houses, parent nights and orientations. Your high school might also consider putting together a senior sendoff video that can play at senior recognition night or during the morning announcements. Showing video testimonials face-to-face can help you connect with students, parents and staff in real time.

Whether they’re aware of it or not, stakeholders are the ones shaping your district’s story. Video testimonials make it possible for stakeholders to get up on that digital stage and share their thoughts with the community. Through your guidance, you can encourage them to accentuate the positives and show everyone why they’re proud to be part of the district. Stakeholders are shaping the story, and with the power of video testimonials, they can shape it for the better.

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