Yelp allows local businesses to connect with people in the Yelp Community and share information with just an Internet connection. Every month consumers share and discover opinions about local businesses on Yelp using their mobile phones, tablets or computer which makes it a valuable resource for businesses to reach more consumers, entice an out of town audience and potentially generate a larger client base.
Getting Your Business on Yelp
Discover if your business is already on Yelp by going to http://www.yelp.com and searching for your business.
If your business is not already listed you can create a free account at https://biz.yelp.com/. Yelp for Business owners has a great video tutorial that will give you 4 tips for successfully getting the most out of your business account. Here is the short version of Yelp’s 4 tips to get you started with your profile and how to maintain it:
- Complete Your Profile: Every business has a story, so be sure to tell the Yelp Community about it in an interesting way.
- Respond to Your Reviews: Be proactive and respond to all reviews. Do not be afraid of negative reviews since this will give you valuable insight to a consumer’s experience. Whether you are responding to a positive review or a negative review make sure you respond diplomatically. Yelp’s algorithms seem to reward businesses that are active in managing their profile.
- Create Exciting Promos: Add excitement by running a ‘Yelp Deal’ which functions like Groupons. Yelp will promote your profile resulting in more visibility and it is a great way to drum up more new business.
- Monitor Your Traffic: Yelp metrics will allow you to keep track of how many consumers view your profile and engage with your business.
Manage Negative Reviews
Positive reviews are ideal for a local small business to start generating more business. But what if your business gets a negative review? Can you hide it? Maybe delete it? Or push the negative review down the page so it is likely not seen? Unfortunately, you do not have control over the order in which your reviews are displayed. Yelp’s algorithm will determine which positive and negative reviews are displayed on your page. There is also a filter Yelp launched in 2005 to help control fake reviews so even if you get a negative review that is flagged, it will just be moved to the ‘filtered’ section and consumers can still read it. Here are some tips to handling negative reviews:
- Do Not Get Upset: If you think you may take negative reviews too personally you can always find a trusted employee to manage them. Keep in mind that you cannot prevent all negative reviews but if you make the decision to learn from them and you may be able to prevent more in the future and fine-tune your business model.
- Be Diplomatic: As I suggested previously, you should reply diplomatically to all reviews especially the negative ones. Be professional. You also have the opportunity to respond either publicly or privately when you utilize Yelp’s free review. A public message appears as a comment under the consumer’s review and is visible to the Yelp Community. The private message will be delivered directly to the reviewer. In my opinion, I prefer the public message as it will allow other Yelp users more information on the review.
- Be Active: Keeping on top of responding to your business reviews signals to consumers that you are invested, engaged and most of all that you care.
Jennifer Hansen works for Professional Marketing International. She currently works as the company’s Corporate Webmaster and SEO Assistant. She likes researching and creating content for topics within her field and other topics that capture her interest. Jennifer enjoys being a mother of three. When she is not working, she tries to get outdoors or read a new book for fun.