Yelp is one of the most, if not the most, popular social applications for sharing reviews on businesses. The application boasts a ton of features and with more than 127 million reviews made since 2005, you can bet if you’re a business you have a profile.
Yelp can be used on both mobile and website devices and is extremely user-friendly. It makes the process of finding a business as easy as typing “tacos” and “Albany, NY.” So, with today’s tech-savvy society and an easy-to-use review app, a business needs to get ahead of the curve, address any negatives, and make the app work for them.
Yelp’s integration with Apple allowed it to reach consumers where they spend most of their time. All it takes is a click of Google Maps, a question to Siri or a swipe of the home screen and people are inundated with information regarding nearby restaurants, bars, and much more.
Average Monthly Unique Mobile App User – 26 Million
Average Monthly Unique Mobile Web Visitor – 73 million
Average Monthly Unique Desktop Visitor – 84 million
The 127 million reviews are impressive, but what’s important is that over 50% of Yelp reviews are less than 5-Stars. Meaning, unless you’re a business doing a perfect job you’re likely to not receive many of the 5-Star reviews.
Think reviews are just for restaurants & bars? Think again. The highest amount of reviews are made on businesses in the shopping category at 22%. Followed by restaurants at 18%, home and local services at 13%, and other at 13%. What does this mean? That many of the businesses receiving reviews online are service or product based businesses. Things like clothing stores, gardeners, landscapers, construction companies, graphic design, and even marketing agencies.
Since there is a likelihood that you or your business will make its way onto the Yelp platform, here are some best practices for business owners to take back their control!
You have to be in it to win it!
You can’t do anything for your business unless you’re on the platform. Yelp for Business allows you to claim your business’s profile and set it up to reflect all that you have to offer. Once you’ve made an account, update your business’s logo, address, hours, pricing, etc. This will give people who are searching for what you offer more information and a better (more relevant) idea of who you are.
Don’t ignore negative reviews.
Many businesses make the fatal mistake of ignoring negative reviews. This is a bad idea, especially if there is a visible presence on positive reviews. For example, saying “thank you for visiting us, we really appreciate it” to someone who leaves a good review their first time visiting. There are really great ways to handle negative reviews, but just remember, everything you write is reflective of your brand and is seen by everyone. Don’t let negative reviews affect you personally. Remember opinions are like a**holes everyone has one.
Take advantage of the features.
Don’t just join the platform, exploit it for all it has to offer. Upload quality photos of your business to the photo gallery. Create a Yelp deal to help drive people to your business. Use targeted paid advertising to get your business in front of users first. Remove competitors ads from your profile. Create a call-to-action button to send people to your website or Facebook. There are a ton of business features that will help you take leads on Yelp and transform them into customers.
Ask for reviews.
Although Yelp frowns upon businesses asking for reviews, it doesn’t actually breach their user agreement. If you know you’re doing well, or know you exceeded a client’s expectations, ask them to post a review for you on Yelp. Make sure they mention what your business did and why they liked it so much. Have them mention the services you provided as well. Yelp tends to flag reviews as “not recommended” if they are just talking about how great you are but don’t provide actual substance. P.S. you can’t fight the flagging process either.
Flag inappropriate reviews.
Now, this one isn’t for someone to flag negative reviews, but if you see a Yelp review that is outrageously negative and doesn’t explain why the experience was so bad, flag it. In an ideal world, Yelp will see the review as pointless and inappropriate and will remove it from your profile.
Review the Yelp metrics.
Take advantage of the Yelp Metrics! There is valuable information provided to you on how many people visited your profile, clicked to your website, followed your CTA, called you, and more. It’s a valuable data mine that will allow you to see where you need to beef up your profile or what you need to do with your landing page.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this. Reviews are the new word-of-mouth. For the most part, people trust user reviews as much as they would if their friend had told them about it. Negative reviews will hurt your business. People traveling in the area are using Yelp to find nearby places, and if your business has a crappy profile with bad reviews, they aren’t visiting you. I understand that this is another task to add to your list, but it is an important one. Don’t brush it off, because if you do, the next thing you could be brushing off is your resumé for the job you’ll need to get when your business closes.
Andrew is the Founder & CEO of Tipsy Social. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & is a Masters Candidate in Marketing. He has worked in a multitude of industries and that is why he believes in order to effectively understand marketing you must first understand society and how it interacts.