The Struggle is Real: Yelp

Sep 24, 2015

Win the YELP Battle!
In 2004-05 the world was graced with the ability to find local restaurants/services, review our favorite places, and read recommendations and reviews from others.  Although consumers found this handy especially when visiting a new neighborhood.  The battle between business owners and Yelp began, and today a real struggle.

In 11 years time Yelp has found their advertising platform to be quite lucrative.  If you're a business owner chances are you get daily/weekly calls from San Francisco asking if you'd like to advertise or increase your advertising budget with Yelp.  Business owners complain that Yelp uses FEAR tactics to get business owners to pull the trigger.  Yelp is willing to bend over backwards to help you start an advertising campaign, but have yet to find a strategy to help you with fraudulent reviews, etc...

Before you read on, where I can't help you:

  • If you generally don't offer good/excellent customer service. 
  • You're interested more in sales, and less on customer engagement.
  • You refuse to acknowledge the power of online marketing. 

(Harsh, but true. This is business)

I understand where Yelp is coming from.  From a user prospective they can't delete a bad review because you say it's fraudulent.  Which is a catch-22 since anyone can post a review, true or not true.  

I intend on helping you the only way I know how, and the way I've seen work. 

Whenever I speak at conferences or to a group I always get asked "how do I clean up my Yelp," followed by "it's hurting my business."

Things to remember about Yelp:

  • It's ONE website. (Albeit a high ranked site, nonetheless - it's ONE site)
  • You can liven up your Yelp, it doesn't have to be a passive page.
  • You can respond to comments publicly and/or privately
  • Don't ignore Yelp. I repeat DO NOT IGNORE. 

Make use of Yelp for your business:

  • Use photos! Have at least 5 photos, high resolution images - happy customers/staff, etc...
  • List your current business hours
  • Be sure to list a current phone number and address
  • Provide an accurate detailed business description, with your keywords throughout

Yelp is ONE website
Yelp would love you to believe that they are the end all and be all of online business marketing. That with an advertising budget you can drive new business and bury bad reviews.  This simply is not the case.

I'm not saying NOT to advertise.  That's an internal business decision, and a separate conversation.  

Diversify your online efforts
Don't allow a bad Yelp experience to define your entire online brand.

Yelp is ONE website (have I mentioned that?)

  • Claim your business listing on all the major channels
  • Be active on social media channels that matter to your target audience (Facebook, LinkedIn Company Page, GooglePlus, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc...) 
  • Create a LIKEable persona online.
  • Be consistent AND strategic.
  • Have a plan? Need a plan?

A social customer is looking for YOUR service (AC service, coffee, bookstore, boutique, restaurant, etc...) they come across your listing.  They find:

  • A 3-4 star review, good reviews mixed with a few bad ones.
  • Responses from you 
  • Photos, links to current website
  • They find life. 
  • Regardless of the few negative posts (also pending severity of the problems and how you handled it)
  • You have a chance!

A social customer is looking for YOUR service (AC, coffee, bookstore, boutique, restaurant, etc...) they come across your listing.  They find:

  • 2-3 star review
  • Mixture of good, ok, and bad responses
  • No responses from you
  • No photos or life
  • Outdated website
  • No action anywhere else on social media.
  • Your chances of business are SLIM to NO WAY.

These are just two examples of MANY situations. 

In a nutshell:

  • Claim your Yelp page and give it life.
  • Have a #socialbusinessplan for all of your online strategy.
  • Diversify your online presence. 
  • Be sure your customers know you're on Yelp (post signs, links on email marketing, links on website, etc...)  This will remind your happy customers to share their experience. 
    It's against the Yelp rules to ASK people to review you (especially in return for something free), proceed with caution.

    You can say something like: "We're on Yelp! We'd love to hear from you" or "Connect with us for special offers". A review is not asked, only implied.
  • Document testimonials for your website. 


I hope this helps someone.  If you have additional questions or insight comment below or send us an email Connect (@) Socializela.com. 

Have a great week!
Margaret Brown
Founder, ANROMA - SocializeLA.com

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