With more than 75% of adults turning to the internet to make LOCAL buying decisions, social networking sites like Yelp are more popular than ever. In June of this year, 33 million consumers visited Yelp to learn about local small businesses.
Whether you know it or not, your small business may already have a presence on Yelp. The question is – are you in control of it? Yelp is a social networking site that allows consumers to learn about – and rate – their favorite (and not-so-favorite) places to eat, shop, play, and spend their hard-earned dollars.
Ignoring social sites like Yelp isn’t going to make them go away or prevent negative reviews. Remember the golden rule of Social Media Marketing? SOCIAL MEDIA IS AT LEAST 51% LISTENING. And if you haven’t set up your listening station to be notified when people are talking about you (using Google Alerts, for example) on the web, you are missing a huge opportunity – or worse – you could be responsible for sabotaging your own business.
You don’t have to claim your page or set up an account for people to be able to post reviews- That’s right- anyone can add your business and review it. You may already be there and not even know it. This could be extremely damaging to your business. One local company I know personally had about 5 bad reviews on Yelp and didn’t even know it. Who knows how much business they lost because of that. If they’d known they could have taken some of the steps below to either correct the situation, or at least respond to the reviews.
Claim/unlock Yelp Scraper – go to Yelp to claim your business page and unlock all the tools that are available to business owners: like tracking number of visitors, demographic info of reviewers so you can learn more about your target market and how they found you, you can post hours, specials, photos, or anything else you want your potential customers to know about your business – and of course the ability to respond to reviews.
Respond to negative reviews – either publicly or privately – what a great way to turn a negative into a positive! We all make mistakes and most consumers will forgive a mistake if it’s handled appropriately.