Yelp and Small Business

December 23, 2014
December 23, 2014 Brandon Mullins

Yelp and Small Business

In today’s time of technological innovation many small businesses are using alternative ways to advertise online using social media. Many social platforms are gaining more exposure and making the communication experience much faster and easier.

With over 60 million registered users and over 20 million reviews posted on the site, it’s fair to say Yelp is still the dominant force when it comes to social review sites.

Restaurateurs know the value of increasing their star rating on Yelp. But other businesses make up 75% of the listings, showing that customers turn to the site to make decisions in regard to all sorts of local businesses.

Yelp is the big dog in local search that can be used to increase business exposure and can impact all aspects of your small business.

Yelp is a free marketing tool that can be used to increase sales and gain important feedback from consumers. The most important benefit that can be obtained through the use of Yelp is communication. The site is organized and constructed to be a type of digital word of mouth site that encourages reviews and allows people to express their opinions. If used properly, Yelp can have an incredible impact on your small business. See How 4 Companies Used Yelp To Woo Customers

However, Yelp is not just a one dimensional website focused solely on reviews. Events and reminders about your business can be posted for potential consumers to see. Messages can be updated often and Yelp even allows you to follow other users much like Facebook and Twitter.  Yelp even has the added convenience of allowing you to upload data directly from your Facebook account to your Yelp account for added convenience. This small business marketing site can be used to grab the attention of a wider audience that would be difficult to attain without it.

One thing to keep in mind when dealing with Yelp is that they use a sophisticated filter algorithm to remove “fake” reviews by business owners themselves. They want real reviews by real people. Don’t try to mess with the system by adding a ton of fake reviews – this will only hurt your page as Yelp does not take kindly to phony reviews.

It is important to constantly keep up with your Yelp profile. Reviews posted to your business Yelp profile can be very important to your sales. Yelp can provide you with tons of information from people that are familiar with your product and have an opinion. Every business can gain knowledge from establishing communication with consumers that use their product or service. These reviews can be seen by others and work as a form of free advertising for your small business. Small businesses need to use every innovation possible to level the playing field with larger companies that they are competing against, and Yelp can make up a big chunk of that.

Not all small businesses think Yelp is so wonderful. Brandon Mullins of Socially Buzzing, a local internet marketing company  in Cincinnati, Ohio, was interviewed by a local news station regarding Yelp’s less than appreciated attempts to coerce a small business client to advertise with them. Although the research is still ambiguous, there are some indicators that Yelp’s algorithm may punish small businesses for not advertising with them, but this has not help up in court nor has hard data been produced to verify it.

In order to reap all of the benefits associated with social media marketing sites it is important to have your business accounts on Yelp, Twitter and Facebook managed by a professional social media agency. A professional agency can help monitor and manage all of your social media accounts, and keep them updated at all times. Time to start using the best strategies available so  your business can punch above it’s weight.

Getting on Yelp
1. First, start by finding your business to see if you are already listed on Yelp.

2. If your business is already listed on Yelp click on the listing to view the details.
3. Click “Is this your business?”
4. Go to step one to begin unlocking your page
5. Fill out the form with your name, email and password.
6. This will then begin the phone authentication process, make sure that you are near the business phone you have listed and can answer it.
7. Your business phone will be called asking for the code that appears on your screen. Enter it into the telephone.
8. Your business account will now be unlocked and you can access the Yelp tools on your account page.

Basic Steps that help market Your Business Through Yelp

1. Make sure all your business info is correct; hours of operation, address, pictures, etc.). It is important that you list as much info as possible for the user and that all the info is accurate.

2. Add photos of your business, especially for hotels. Most people may not even bother visiting your website, they will have everything they need within Yelp to compare nearby hotels. Be sure that you show them the best up to date pictures of your hotel’s property.

3. Respond to all reviews, both negative and positive. One of the downsides to using an application like this is it’s potential to hurt your company’s image with bad reviews.  It is important that you use any negative reviews as feedback for how you can improve your business. You cannot remove a negative review and the best way to deal with it is to address it. You can post a public reply in which you should address the issue, apologize for any problems, and offer the customer a second chance to try out your company or hotel.  See the Yelp tips for replying to customer reviews.

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