Let’s make something perfectly clear: Yelp is as much of a social media platform as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, but the biggest difference is that Yelp is uniquely concentrated on collecting reviews for local businesses as provided by a hoard of enthusiastic patrons. Nearly anyone with a small business should take a moment to note the 89 million people who visit Yelp every month, and think about positioning your brand to receive a solid increase in sales with the help of Yelp’s massive audience. Taking into account how simple it is to integrate Yelp into your business model, and the benefits that come with a 4 or 5-star enterprise, Yelp is absolutely worth your time, and with the help of the Sociality Squared starter’s guide to Yelp, you’ll be collecting 5-star reviews and rocketing to the top of your local Yelp directory before you know it!
Let’s Get Started!
Your first step is either claiming ownership of the pre-existing Yelp page for your business, or creating a new profile entirely. Click here, search for your location, and follow the prompts to claim your business profile on Yelp. Once you are the proud owner of your official business profile on Yelp, do your potential customers a favor by providing as much information about your brand’s location on your new site.
Linking to your official website, listing critical information such as hours of operation, the average prices of your items, and stocking your profile with high quality photos of your products, business space, and at least one image of the building’s exterior helps to give new shoppers every opportunity to know exactly who you are and what you have to offer. If you need some inspiration, research the nearby competition, and see how they’ve built up their business profiles on Yelp — Can you find a phone number? Do they accept credit cards? Did they choose a dedicated category for their business so patrons instantly know what they sell (e.g., Comic Books, Tex-Mex, Auto Parts & Supplies, etc.)? If not, learn from their mistakes, and emulate Yelp profiles that feature plenty of helpful information and excellent photos.
Integrating Yelp Into Your Business
Now that your business is Yelp-ready, it’s up to you to leave such a great impression on your customers that they’ll be sure to leave you a shining review. Focus your efforts on providing the best experience that you can, and your fans will naturally take to Yelp to share their glowing opinions. Don’t be concerned with getting a bunch of reviews all at once, as one to five reviews per month is a great foundation for your continuing Yelp profile. More importantly, never pressure patrons to leave a review, pay anyone to give you a 5-star evaluation, or attempt to cheat the system by writing your own assessments. Yelp is wise to these sorts of dishonest tactics, and they will come back to bite you sooner or later, so just be happy with the organic Yelp reviews that eventually come your way.
While the best tactic is patiently waiting for incoming Yelp reviews, there are a few subtle ways to lure your supporters to Yelp. For example, you can place a Yelp button alongside your website’s other social media icons. Consider sharing snippets from positive Yelp reviews on your official site, as well as your brand’s social media pages. People really enjoy logging into Twitter and Facebook to find exclusive deals from their favorite retailers, and Yelp lets businesses share special offers too. Examples of Yelp deals include charging $30 for a $50 voucher, or providing customizable “check-in” coupons when customers launch the Yelp app at your location. Between offering top tier service and incentives to use Yelp, you will receive your share of reviews before you know it.
Interacting With Yelpers
Now that you’ve got the attention of your local Yelpers and the reviews are pouring in, it’s time to reach out to the people who took the time to share their opinions on Yelp. Adding an addendum to a user’s review is as easy as clicking on the “Add owner comment” button at the bottom of any review left on your business profile. Responding to positive reviews is easy, as you should thank them for their patronage, and kind words. If a negative review is sent your way, don’t panic. Calmly reply to criticism by noting things they might’ve been unaware of, or explaining how you plan on resolving the issues mentioned in the review. Whether it’s a glowing 5-star review, or a bile-soaked 1-star essay, responding with positive and polite professionalism will clearly demonstrate to future readers that this business is owned by someone who both genuinely cares about their supporters, and wants to improve their brand’s overall image wherever possible.
This doesn’t mean that you have to put up with obnoxious trolls and distracting fake reviews though! If a review posted on your business profile is threatening, an obvious lie, or is outright vile, feel free to report it by pressing the flag button under the review, and Yelp will take care of it — No worries!
Say yep to Yelp!
If you need more incentive that every star on Yelp counts, a study from Harvard Business School has shown that an increase of a single star on a Yelp profile brings a business an income increase of five to nine percent, and that’s nothing to sneeze at! Once you’ve laid the groundwork with your excellent customer service, expertly crafted Yelp profile, and left some positive comments on your incoming reviews, you’ll enjoy the benefits of being one of the best-reviewed local businesses in your field as seen by the countless residents who rely on Yelp to find the best of the best of all nearby establishments. Not only that, but if you’ve gone above and beyond to impress the locals on Yelp, they just might send you a legendary “People Love Us On Yelp” sticker for your businesses’ front window that proves that your business is a Yelp Superstar! Good luck, and have fun on Yelp!