After working at the tech company for over 4 years and using it as a consumer myself, I’m hoping these five pro tips will shed some light on using this platform and review site to your advantage as a business owner.
Take it from me, if you own a small to medium-sized business in 2019, you’ve likely heard of Yelp. Whether you update it frequently, or you are opting to ignore it, it is a part of your business and it is being used. So, what is the deal with this review site and how can you use it to your advantage?
This is in my opinion one of the most important ways to show your potential customers and reviewers that you care and that you’re listening. I am sure you aim to constantly improve your business one way or another, so this is also a great way to gather feedback and respond accordingly.
These days, a customer of yours is more likely to leave your establishment and write a review than come up to you and give you their honest feedback. This is why there is value in a response that is posted for everyone to see.
Given the opportunity for a face to face conversation with a happy/frustrated customer, your response to reviews should naturally be what you would say to that customer in that moment. It’s normal to be frustrated when a negative review comes in, but keep in mind, it is impossible to make everyone happy.
I recommend taking a deep breath, trying to see it from the consumer’s perspective, and then responding to each review in a calm manner. The way you respond to a review could turn a potential customer on or off, so it’s important that they are handled with care.
Sure, there are other business owners out there that are asking their happy customers to write reviews, but not you. Racking up as many 5 star reviews as possible is the point of being on Yelp, right? Wrong. In fact, historically, our numbers showed us that 3 star business on Yelp saw more traffic than 5 star businesses.
How could this be? Well, if you think about it, it’s realistic to receive a complaint from time to time. I am not arguing that you should strive to be a 3 star business by any means, but hopefully you’re more comfortable knowing that imperfection on Yelp is in fact welcomed.
Rather than asking your customers to write reviews for you, placing a Yelp widget on your website, a sticker in your window, and telling customers to check you out on Yelp are all great ways to organically grow your review count. The point being, you don’t want to make your customers Yelp users, you want to make Yelp users your customers.
Lastly, each and every Yelp review goes through a filter to make sure the community is given the most reliable local content. They are reviewed on three criteria: Quality, Reliability, and User Activity.
This also came up as a topic of discussion with business owners as many reviews can be placed in the unrecommended filter. This goes back to making Yelp users your customers–they frequent the site and are most likely credible reviewers, leaving ones that stick.
What is a Check-in anyway? A check-in essentially a user dropping a pin at your business letting their followers know they are checked in at your place of business. You want to encourage these–it’s a great way to see how many users are coming from Yelp as well as their demographic. Depending on your type of business, offering an incentive for checking in can be effortless.
For example, a successful check-in offer I’ve seen a restaurant is a free bag of chips with a purchase. Odds are, you are already offering a similar deal currently and can throw it on your Yelp page. It’s a win, win. Read more about creating the perfect check-in offer here.
One of the first things users will see when your Yelp business page is pulled up is the photo slideshow. Common sense will tell you that people buy with their eyes.
A few things to consider adding to your page:
These are all minor details that take 5 minutes to update that could lead someone to you, or draw someone away. It’s as simple as logging in to your business owners account (biz.yelp.com) and updating this information.
If Yelp is still a mystery to you, my biggest recommendation is to get in there and use it as a consumer. While you’re not busy running your business, I am sure you enjoy exploring new restaurants in your area or are wanting to write a review about an experience you’ve had.
Getting experience on the other side of the platform when it isn’t your normal viewpoint is insightful, not to mention, free. Anytime you’re in a bar you frequent, why not check-in and potentially help out a local business owner?
Additionally, you have the ability to recommend different local businesses, which shows up as public knowledge to the community.
In closing, when you view Yelp as a tool for your business, it can act as a tool in bringing you new customers and maintaining current clientele. Happy Yelping!
Feel free to reach out if you still have questions about Yelp or any digital service.