Most businesses realize how great a role consumer reviews play in business success. Consumer review sites like Angie’s List, TripAdvisor and Yelp have become go-to resources for first-hand experiential feedback. Therefore, it’s important not to ignore any of them and, more importantly, to regularly monitor them for ultimate success.
Yelp is one of the most widely used and respected online search and review services. Its value continues to rise with consumers – to the tune of 83 million unique visitors per month. Give strong consideration to Yelp, as engagement on this platform is actually relatively easy and productive. Here are five tips to help you get comfortable with this popular medium:
- Claim and complete your business profile. This may sound pretty straightforward, but know up front that it will take some time. There are multiple elements to a Yelp profile including a photo, address, website information and links. Take the time to accurately complete your profile as if it’s an extension of your own well-designed and -maintained website. Add several high-resolution images, list your business hours and write a detailed business description containing relevant keywords.
An ancillary benefit of filling out your profile is that a presence on Yelp supports overall search rankings, so being thorough is of immediate benefit to your company. Before completing your profile, review some of your competitors’ profiles. Know what consumers are saying about their businesses and address concerns within your own profile by highlighting key points of differentiation, whether it’s price, location, options or products.
- Engage reviewers. Often, tech-savvy folk from all walks of life will find ways to review a business – especially when they have either an exceptionally positive or negative experience. In either instance, it is important to respond to all reviewers as real people. If users have a negative experience, make an effort to respond with interest, take communication offline and make a genuine effort to remedy the situation if possible. If no remedy is possible, make the most of the feedback by taking it under advisement and express your plans to do so with the reviewer. Even if she had little good to say, you are showing engagement, which goes a long way for both the reviewer and those who follow along. When people comment positively, show appreciation for their comments as, again, engagement looks good to others and sets a bar of expectation for those considering frequenting your establishment.
- Think of Yelp as an opportunity. People enjoy novelty; some will travel great distances for it. Whether your business is food, hair or hardware, Yelp provides a venue to introduce your company to people who haven’t yet walked through your doors. Highlight your business elements, offer deals and post regular photos so that those looking for their next good meal, haircut or winter shovel consider your business first. In addition, should your business earn reviews that you don’t agree with or like, use the opportunity to engage reviewers while also highlighting improvements under consideration. This may again earn you their business.
- Create a Yelp-specific deal. Yelp Deals function similarly to Groupon or Living Social deals and allow businesses to offer discounts that Yelp users can claim through the site (for example, a $50 gift card for $35). Yelp will promote your deal, casting a wider geographic net to help you generate revenue as well as gaining greater visibility for your business.
- Track engagement with Yelp metrics. Yelp has designed a proficient metric dashboard for businesses, delivering insights relative to your Yelp presence. You can track the amount of traffic your Yelp profile receives as well as how visitors are engaging your Yelp profile (photo uploads, check-ins, etc.). From this data, you can potentially determine when a good day would be to run a Yelp deal or perhaps which photos may be either supporting or sinking your reputation.
Yelp, as a leading search and review site, provides a unique and blended opportunity for companies interested in drumming up new business, maintaining a core following or engaging not-yet-served demographics. For additional insight and tips on how social media platforms provide untapped business advantages, download Axia Public Relations’ essential social media management guide today.
Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England teams.
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