Testimonials and Stories on TikTok

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#PoolLife — in an era where consumers are flooded with advertising and customer testimonials, and where stories have become a cornerstone of brand authenticity and customer engagement, TikTok, with its vast and diverse audience, has emerged as a powerful platform for sharing real-life experiences and growing your business’s reach.

Through the lens of genuine customer narratives, local pool and spa retailers can not only humanize their brand but provide potential customers with evidence of its value.


This is what most business owners who are not already in the video content making world tend to worry about when it comes to TikTok: How do I post? When should I post? What is this stuff about trending sounds? How do I get followers? Do I have to dance? What about China?

If this sounds like you, hold tight and hear us out.

The reason short-form video is so powerful is because it’s meant to be fun and authentic. If you get nothing else out of this article, the most important lesson is to just start. Because even if you do nothing else, you’ll learn as you go. So start asking, start recording, and start posting! All the “other stuff” can wait because the reality is it doesn’t initially matter. Here’s why:


With over one billion active users worldwide, TikTok has the ability to reach a ridiculous number of your potential customers. The platform’s emphasis on creativity and authenticity has made it a prime avenue for businesses to reach and engage with their target audience in a whole new way. With features like TikTok For Business, companies can even create paid advertisements, collaborate with influencers, and track their performance through analytics.

But it’s the organic algorithm behind TikTok that’s one of its most compelling features for local retailers. Leveraging artificial intelligence, this algorithm analyzes user interactions, viewing patterns, and content preferences to tailor what someone sees when using the app to their individual tastes. TikTok calls this the ‘For You’ page, and it offers a stream of videos that users are likely to engage with, making the platform’s content discoverability unparalleled. For local pool and spa retailers, testimonials and stories are more likely to reach an engaged audience actively seeking similar content.

“In a weird way, it’s almost magical. TikTok takes the guesswork out of identifying the right audience, which means creators and businesses can focus exclusively on the quality of their content, and TikTok’s algorithm handles the rest,” says Paul McIntosh, Grit Game Marketing COO.

This targeted approach to content distribution is so efficient that it surpasses other social media platforms in its ability to connect the right stories to the right viewers, thereby maximizing the impact of each post.

After all, would you rather have 2,000 random views on your video, or 200 quality views from members of your target audience? TikTok can do that. But you’ll want to know a couple tips for increasing your reach. We’ll get there, but let’s start with the actual content you’ll be making.


The power of customer testimonials lies in the fact that they are real stories from real people. Gone are the days where viewers want to see super tailored videos that look like a professional advertisement. Testimonials need to be short, engaging videos that capture the customer’s genuine experience with a product or service. This is what builds trust for your brand.

Trust is essential in consumer decision-making, especially for big-ticket items like pools and spas. With the increasing prevalence of online shopping, building trust with potential customers has become more challenging for local retailers. This is where customer stories on TikTok can make a significant impact, as they do more than showcase user satisfaction — they significantly influence purchasing decisions.

Types of testimonials you can use are:

  • Customer Interviews
  • Product Demonstration
  • Customer Storytelling for Unique Experiences
  • Before and After Transformations
  • Expert Endorsements from Industry Experts, Influencers, or Local Celebrities
  • Success Stories & How the Customer Will Use the Space
  • Comparative Reviews
  • Emotional Reactions (great for new pool builds!)

Prospective buyers viewing these testimonials often seek verification and social proof before making their own investment. Through compelling narratives and shared experiences, testimonials create an emotional appeal that resonates with viewers, compelling them to imagine the benefits they, too, could enjoy. This experience is powerful in tilting the scale from consideration to action.


Identify Your Storytellers: The most compelling testimonials come from genuine customers who have had a positive experience with your brand. Reach out to satisfied customers and ask if they would be willing to share their stories. Offer guidance, but allow them to express themselves in their own words to maintain authenticity.

Focus on the Emotion: The best testimonial videos evoke emotion and connect with viewers on a personal level. Encourage customers to share the benefits of the product or service and how it made them feel. Authenticity is key — unscripted, genuine reactions are far more impactful than polished, rehearsed statements or someone trying to read from a script. The viewers will notice, and you’ll have the opposite effect that you want.

Keep It Short and Sweet: TikTok videos are typically short, so conveying your message quickly and efficiently is essential. Aim for a balance between being informative and maintaining the viewer’s attention. Videos that are too long may lose engagement, so focus on the most impactful parts of the customer’s story or take one long testimonial and create several short videos from it.

Leverage Creative Visuals: TikTok thrives on creativity and visual appeal. You can use creative visuals, effects, and music to make your testimonial videos stand out. However, ensure these elements complement the story rather than distract from it. For example, lower the volume of the music you select so you can still hear your customer easily.


Most retailers struggle with getting testimonials the most when they first start out. But in reality, there are several ways you can get testimonials from your customers. You can start with one but eventually lean into all of the following for maximum reach.

Film on the Jobsite. This is the easiest way to guarantee your reviews and testimonials get posted. When you’re wrapping up a job with a customer that is obviously happy with your work, ask them if they’d be willing to do a quick video testimonial. Yes? Take out your phone and go.

Your customer may be keen to share an authentic story that highlights their unique and memorable experience. But if they need some help getting started, treat it like an interview. Ask them questions like, “How was your experience with Smith Pools?” or “What was the best part about working with Smith Pools?” You can always tailor your questions to what is special about your company, like delivery, customer service, or design process. You can edit your questions out of the final video from within the TikTok app to just have the customer’s testimonial.

Don’t be afraid to call up old customers that really stood out and start there. If you choose to film your own testimonials, here are some quick tips for standing out and staying sharp:

  1. LIGHTING: You’re in the pool and spa industry. Use that to your advantage and film your videos outside in natural lighting. Dark videos usually do not perform well on TikTok. Be aware of how shadows look on your customer’s faces and make sure the sun isn’t in their eyes.
  2. ANGLES: TikTok users have a short attention span, but the most important thing the algorithm cares about is how long someone watches your video. So change up your angles to keep things interesting. Zoom in on your customer’s face every once in a while or cut over to their pool and back to them. You can do this naturally while filming or use a free video editing app. Additionally, you can grab some behind-the-scenes footage, or even some video featuring your customers using the products or your service guy cleaning the pool.
  3. SOUND: Get a small bluetooth mic that connects to your phone. If you’re outside, you’ll probably be dealing with some level of noise, be it a neighbor’s dog or even just the wind. Having a mic goes a long way in making sure viewers can actually hear what your happy customer is saying. Plus the algorithm favors good sound quality.

None of these are required. Again, it’s more important that you just start filming and posting. But keeping these in mind as you start will help you reach a wider audience sooner.

Encouraging Customers to Share Experiences. Retailers can also incentivize their customers to create TikTok content on their own. You can encourage customers in general to share their stories using a specific hashtag or challenge. For example, #AquaMagReader or #SmithPoolsCustomers. When users share these testimonials without direct affiliation to the brand, they carry more weight, acting as unbiased endorsers.

You can make these interactive campaigns, or to incentivize your customers and get even more videos, offer discounts or host a prize giveaway for those who post high-quality, engaging testimonials. Engaging customers in this way turns them into brand ambassadors whose authentic voices enhance your brand reputation.

If you’re offering something in return for a video testimonial, do yourself a favor and provide some suggestions to your customers about what a winning video looks like, i.e. good lighting, sound, and camera angle. No one wants to watch a testimonial about your business and get flashbacks to the Blair Witch Project. Setting examples of a good vs bad video ensures your company gets more usable videos that will have a better chance of getting seen by your potential future customers.

The hardest thing about this kind of content is getting people to do it. So not only should you make it easy on them by emailing instructions, including what hashtag to use and an example of good vs bad videos, you also have to be talking about it and asking your customers to participate fairly often to get the ball rolling. But once it becomes widely accepted, it’ll feel like it’s on autopilot.

Additionally, retailers should engage with these user-generated testimonials by liking, commenting, and sharing them across your networks. This shows the customers that their input is valued as well as broadens the content’s reach.


To maximize the impact of your testimonial videos on TikTok, consider the following best practices:

Consistency is Key: Regularly post videos to engage your audience and attract new followers. Consistency also helps build a credible and trustworthy brand image on the platform.

Engage With Your Audience: TikTok is not just about posting content; it’s also about engaging with your audience. Respond to comments. Comments tell the algorithm that your content is relevant. So when replying to someone’s comment, ask them a question to encourage them to leave another comment which will further boost your video.

Hashtags: Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility and interact with potential customers. If you’re a local retailer or service provider, use the name of your town and surrounding area in your hashtags. You’ll get more people who are actually close enough to use your services using #SanAntonioPools than a general #SwimmingPools hashtag.

Monitor Performance: Use TikTok’s analytics tools to monitor the performance of your videos. Analyze views, engagement rates, and follower growth to understand what works and what doesn’t. Use these insights to refine your strategy and improve future videos.

Use TikTok Wisely as a Consumer: If you’re going to be on TikTok, make sure you’re using it to your advantage as a consumer as well. Start following accounts that provide tips on how to create better content and reach your target audience.

Be Patient: Growth on any social media platform takes time. It’s unlikely you’ll see overnight success, which is why it’s important to not only start as soon as possible, but to stay consistent as you continue to build your brand’s presence. The more you post, the better you will get.


Word-of-mouth marketing can significantly expand your brand’s reach and credibility on a platform that has over one billion users. Customer testimonials are not just content but a strategic tool for driving sales and fostering brand loyalty.

So start by encouraging your satisfied customers to share their stories and provide them with a platform on your TikTok channel. Remember, the most compelling content comes from authentic experiences, and there’s no better time than now to capture and share those moments. By highlighting real customer stories, you’re not just sharing content — you’re weaving a narrative of reliability and satisfaction. Your journey to increased engagement and business success starts with their voices.

Laci Davis is the co-founder of both Grit Game Marketing and The Grit Game rep firm. Both organizations aim to empower potential within the pool and spa and backyard leisure industries.

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