Well it’s not the short, sharp bark or cry you think of when you say the word “Yelp.”
So now that we got that out of the way…let’s talk about the local-social networking community called Yelp.
Yelp’s purpose is to connect people with great local businesses.
Yelp states, “As of June 2010, more than 33 million people visited Yelp in the past 30 days.”
Now that’s some serious traffic!
Yelp was founded in San Francisco in 2004 and has received many accolades, some of which include Time Magazine, PC World, TechCrunch, Travel+Leisure, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Search Engine Watch.
So it’s the real deal and it’s quite popular….now are you beginning to see the relevance for your business?
In fact, Yelp is the leading US local guide for real word of mouth on every type of business out there in your local community. It’s basically like an urban city guide where people can go to to find events, special offers, lists and a place where they can talk with other Yelpers.
Yelp is also a place where customers of local businesses can review their experiences. According to Yelp, “Yelpers have written over 12 million local reviews, over 85% of them rating a business 3 stars or higher.”
Yelp is primarily for brick-and-mortar establishments or any business professional where there is a face-to-face interaction. It doesn’t work as effectively for eCommerce business.
How Does Yelp Work?
You first claim your business, then populate a full page of information about your business, including its history, specialty, announcements, events or even post coupons. Be as complete as possible, stand out from your local competition. Consumers will be comparing your site to theirs when they decide who to buy from.
When you post your announcements or offers, this gets seen by the larger community as it appears in the “offers and announcements” directory for your city. So there is a huge potential you will be found by people who have never even heard of your business before.
It is to your advantage to update your site frequently, especially with new offers and announcements to continually be exposed to a greater amount of Yelpers. Then sit back and interact with your customers and join their conversations.
Watch the video below for a quick Yelp overview:
Google Likes Yelp
Yelp profiles tend to show up prominently in Google’s search engine which is another great benefit for business. The more complete your profile is the more likely it will show up for important local searches.
Also, just by creating a profile on Yelp, you increase your business citations. Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms of the major search engines. Businesses with a greater number of citations tend to rank higher in theses search engines. Citations also validate that a business is part of a community and can dramatically increase your local search rankings.
How Much Does Yelp Cost?
Yelp is free to use for anyone, including business owners. Yelp makes money by selling sponsored ads to local businesses, which are not a requirement.
A Negative Yelp Review, Now What?
First off, don’t let the fact that your business could receive a negative review keep you from signing up. You don’t even have to claim your business on Yelp to get a negative review, they will be there regardless, so you might as well join the conversation, engage and try to remedy the issue. Ultimately it will look like you care and are responsive. When people see this and your kind behaviour they will likely dis-credit the negative reviewer or see that you are someone who will is aggressive in resolving any potential problems and making it right for the customer.
You can address negative reviews either privately by reaching out to the reviewer in a private message or publicly. You should get in the habit of responding to every review though-good or bad.
Many business owners have stated that dealing with a negative review has the potential of turning into a good situation and often the reviewer will even change their rating. With over 85% of the Yelp reviewers rating a business 3 stars or higher, odds are your business will receive more favorable than negative reviews, unless of course you don’t care, don’t respond or really do have horrible service. You just need to respond and engage and give value to your customers, that is what local-social marketing is all about. If you do this, you will be ahead of the game and ahead of your competition most likely.
Learn how a business owner deals with negative reviews:
Yelp also has an automated system (to avoid human bias) that follows an algorithm which performs like a review filter screen. Basically it looks for abuse in reviewers. There are also review general guidelines that must be followed. Yelp strives to maximize the trustworthiness of the site in this way.
Tracking Yelp’s Effectiveness
Yelp also added free business tools that become unlocked once you claim your business. One of the tools will allow the moderator to see the following lead-generation statistics from the Yelp mobile app:
- how many people looked at their business page
- how many people called their business
- how many people generated directions
- how many people checked into their business
I hope this helped to clarify how Yelp can be used for your business. Don’t forget to Claim Your Business on Yelp!
If you currently use Yelp, what has been your experiences? Or what are some creative ways Yelp could be utilized for more business exposure?
If you found this post useful, please share on your social sites, I would greatly appreciate it, or simply leave a comment below.
Social Media Manager
owner, Bee Social, LLC