Instead of fearing the online review site, use it to inspire foresight and increase profits
In some industries, the mere mention of the word Yelp is enough to cause widespread panic. Indeed, online reviews can make or break a business, and Yelp remains one of the most popular review sites. Nevertheless, you don’t need to fear it; you just have to use public relations to maneuver Yelp, and other online review sites like it, to your advantage.
Don’t hire sketchy PR outfits to use your money to purchase fake positive reviews or create negative reviews about a competitor. There are legitimate methods you can utilize to improve your online reputation and maximize your presence on review sites. The right PR firm can teach you how to do this correctly.
Learn to maximize Yelp for your business
Yelp is perhaps one of the most widely used and frequently misunderstood review sites for business. Once you discover how to navigate it and use the tools it provides specifically for businesses, you can make the most of it. And these don’t require you to blow your budget.
- When you receive a good review, be sure to rate it as useful and cool (and have friends and employees do the same) to improve its ranking and increase the chances that it will stay visible instead of falling through the filter.
- Ask for reviews. Some companies mistakenly believe that Yelp’s policies dictate that you can’t ask customers to post reviews on the site, but this is incorrect. While the site doesn’t encourage it, they don’t prohibit it either. What you can’t do is promise incentives or other rewards in exchange for reviews.
- Set up your own profile. Understanding how the site works from an inside perspective will help you control the narrative. Use Yelp to post your own honest reviews about the businesses you visit. Recognize the positive effect that this site and its reviews can have on a business and ways you can achieve the same results.
- Get familiar with all the devices Yelp offers and use them. Install the mobile app to monitor Yelp closely to ensure all information is correct, address any inconsistencies and be sure that none of the posts violate Yelp guidelines. Use the Yelp improvement calculator to measure and reach your strategic goals.
What you need to know about making the most of any online review site
- Strive for great service, easy return policies and a clean establishment, and customers will notice and the reviews will happen naturally.
Companies that do these things well are also the ones that tend to thrive on Yelp.
- Remember your online reputation drives conversion.
Today, social media, forums and feedback on online review sites define business. Customers see this information as more trustworthy and authentic. The more they trust you, the more they’re willing to choose you over the competition. A study by Harvard Business School found that a mere one-star rating increase on Yelp translates to a 5 to 9 percent boost in revenue.
- Don’t ignore any online reviews.
Always respond to negative reviews. Doing nothing is the worst thing you can do. It’s more destructive than never answering your phones, because with online review sites, the whole world can witness your inattention.
- Hire a PR firm to help.
Maintaining an excellent online reputation is more important than ever. Having a vigorous online presence with lots of listings that show genuine sentiment is crucial for your customers, prospects and search engine rankings, but this takes time.
Let Axia Public Relations help your company shape its online reputation and conversation. If your reputation is already damaged, we can help with that too. Contact us today to learn more or request a demo of our ReviewMaxer software.
Lisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
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