Today’s consumers are constantly connected, 24 hours a day. This “always on” mentality is both good and bad for businesses – good, because it can help to bring in new clients, but bad because potential bad press has a higher likelihood of ever to spread.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool – and social media and online review sites make word of mouth more powerful than ever, giving every Tom and Jane a way to broadcast their unfiltered opinions directly to huge audiences. One of the biggest platforms in today’s social media landscape is Yelp, and online review and resource site available for free to the public.
Beyond the website, there are Yelp apps for smartphones, tablets, and the like, ensuring that people have the 24/7 access they require. But why does Yelp matter?
“Speak into the Microphone”
Yelp is like a giant microphone – it amplifies people’s opinions to a larger audience than they could by themselves reach. Originally founded in 2004, Yelp today has a monthly average of 108 million visitors (based on Q2 2013) – that’s huge! There are more than 42 million reviews of local businesses on Yelp, not to mention event listings, message boards, and more. This huge community is a great resource for both businesses and consumers – provided that the reviews about your business are positive.
The net of it is that Yelp reviews have the power to reach millions – and a good review is likely to open up avenues to new consumers. Several good reviews are even more likely to bring in business – it’s a viral effect really; good reviews bring in new business – then those new clients leave reviews which will hopefully continue to grow your business.
Given the monthly traffic on Yelp, this site is one of the most important and heavily visited sites on the Web by people looking for information about restaurants, spas, stores, and more. Use it to your advantage.
How to Win on Yelp
As with anything, the question of “How?” remains paramount. For starters, market your Yelp reviews on your company website. Under each Yelp review there is a link that says, “Link to this review.” Posting the positive reviews directly on your website will not only draw readers’ attention to the positive content, rather than potentially negative content, but also lets potential clients know that you have a Yelp presence – so hopefully, after they visit, they will leave their own feedback about your business.
Also, you can have a hand in your Yelp page. Increase your business’ public image before visitors even reach it by building up your presence. Add images of your business, your phone number, map location, menus (for restaurants), and more.
As with any social interaction site, be responsive and involved. Respond to feedback – both positive and negative. By responding (professionally and honestly) to negative reviews, you are able to defend your business – but also acknowledge if there was a legitimate problem. Perhaps the review made you aware of an issue that you were not previously privy to – by publically thanking the reviewer for bringing it to your attention, you not only open a direct dialogue with the consumer, but also have the opportunity to explain publically any improvements that you have made as a result, improving your public image and also getting the word out about all of the positive things that you are doing.
Further promote your Yelp activity by letting visitors know about your Yelp presence onsite. All it takes is something such as a sign at the front counter or a simple table card that says “Find us on Yelp.” Take it a step further by making it easy for them to review – build in a QR code so that visitors can visit your Yelp page and leave their review while at your business.
How to Get Yelp Reviews, Legitimately
On a related note, while you can’t force people to leave positive reviews, you can take advantage of foot traffic and offer an incentive for positive Yelp reviews. For example, give diners 10 percent off their meal when they show proof of their Yelp review – you will not only receive more reviews, but will receive more positive reviews – after all, who wants to show proof of a negative experience face-to-face?
There are many ways that your business can secure positive Yelp reviews – just think outside the box and remember that this social platform can be a great asset to your business if you use it correctly.
How Do YOU Get Yelp Reviews?
You can help out other readers by sharing some of your own legitimate tactics below.