Yelp’s influence is undeniable. By the end of 2012, Yelpers had written more than 36 million business reviews, making the social network platform the the leading local guide for online word-of-mouth. Michael Zammuto, president of ReputationChanger.com, says the power and influence of online review sites are directly linked to a business’ revenues. “Studies have revealed that an enterprise’s score on Yelp or on TripAdvisor is directly related to its profits,” he affirms. “For example, a Harvard study found that a single star on Yelp.com translates to somewhere between 5 and 10 percent revenue. Likewise, studies have revealed that star ratings on travel sites directly impact a hotel’s bookings.”
With Yelp reviews carrying such massive influence on which businesses people decide to engage or avoid, it’s important to know how to use the website to find love for your business. Here are two simple tips to remember that will get you moving in the right direction:
1. Show Off That You Are Yelp-Friendly
Ever visited a restaurant and welcomed by a sticker on the door that reads People Love Us on Yelp? Businesses who get Yelp do so by letting their customers know they welcome all reviews–good, bad and ugly–by simply showing off the Yelp logo in-store, on menus or inside brochures. They are not afraid of bad reviews, and in fact, use it as their leading feedback tool to gain insight on how to improve their business. Most SMBs would have to pay a research firm to conduct a pricy survey to get this kind of feedback. Even then, it’s not raw and in real time as it is on Yelp. And Yelpers tend to look favourably upon businesses who are active participants in the Yelp community and are using the reviews to stop doing what’s not working, do more of what is and improve wherever it’s needed.
Active reviews of your business on Yelp also help you get some SEO love from search engines. SiteProNews suggests that Yelp and SEO go hand-in-hand for anyone looking to develop a local SEO strategy. The more reviews a company has on Yelp, the more content there is for search engine spiders to crawl.
2. Engage in Dialogue
Don’t sit on the sidelines and simply read through reviews posted about your business on Yelp—respond to them. Yelpers love businesses that engage in dialogue and acknowledge their reviews. It demonstrates good form and confirms to your customers that you value their feedback. Even better, tell them what you plan to do with their feedback in your reply. Many more customers are observing the dialogue between you and a reviewer, and it reassures them that you’re business is worth their loyalty. And for prospects, it’s a motivation to give you a try.
You can also engage in other forms of dialogue such as offering a discount or coupon when a Yelper “checks in” to your business during a visit. It’s another simple and effective way to get some Yelp love.