Yelp can be a double-edged sword for businesses. You want a lot of reviews but you don’t want to risk getting bad reviews. So what should you do?
Here are 5 useful tips to improve your Yelp page for your business.
1. First of all, don’t be afraid of Yelp
Yelp is a great tool to advertise your business. And while it consists of consumer-driven reviews/ratings, there is still a lot you can do to help improve your Yelp review/rating. Despite its consumer-driven nature, Yelp does care about business owners. Yelp has an active business outreach team hosting free webinars and offering free workshops. What’s impressive is the international reach of its Business Owner Advisory Council with members hailing from Australia, US to the UK.If you haven’t done so already, claim your business on Yelp and start filling in business information to personalize your business and add useful information from an official capacity. Also feel free to start adding your own photos, especially a nice storefront photo. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recognized a restaurant from its Yelp storefront photo making it that much easier to find.
2. Encourage Yelp Reviews
While Yelp discourages business owners from asking their customers to review them on Yelp directly, it offers some “bling” for awareness for visiting customers. Printable Yelp-approved images can be found on flickr.com and code snippets for review badges to be placed on your business webpage are also available.
This is also where the information becomes a little mixed. As mentioned, Yelp discourages asking customers for reviews. Some digital marketers, such as Go Fish Digital in Ashburn, VA, recommend pre-qualifying your reviewers but have them be completely upfront (i.e. “I am a friend of the business owner and I think his business is great because…”). I personally feel it’s still better to let your consumers review your business themselves just like how you want your influence on Facebook to reach beyond just your family and friends. Besides, a recent study from Harvard Business School of NYC restaurants found that 16% of reviews on Yelp are fake. Restaurant owners with low ratings would write positive reviews for themselves and scathing ones for nearby competitors. Why risk being associated with fraudulent reviewers or worse, risk having your legitimate positive reviews get filtered (more on this below). However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to nudge your customers towards Yelp by telling them via signage or other types of encouragement (i.e. small discount with check-in) about your business’ presence.
3. Engage your reviewers: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Got a bad review? Don’t do what Pigalle did on Facebook (see Pigalle’s reaction to a bad Yelp review). Keep in mind that 70% of those who trash a business’ customer service wind up giving a 1-star review (from a Mashable report) and when Yelp converted its data on terms that popped up most in positive reviews into a word cloud, it becomes apparent that good reviews are a result of good food but most importantly, friendly service.
So what do you do when you have a bad review? Don’t panic. First, read the review and try to figure out what went wrong. A lot of people have bad experiences because there was a fluke in the quality of service/product or caught staff on an off-day. Definitely acknowledge the review and address the issue in a friendly manner. Pointing out how your customer is wrong is a bad idea, but rather, take the “customer is always right” approach and explain yourself. Yelp has some helpful suggestions that you should check out. Aaron Lee, a social media expert and contributor of askaaronlee.com, also suggests checking for bad reviews across all social media platforms and addressing them in a way that humanizes your business. If it’s a restaurant, treat the online conversation as if you were face-to-face with the complaining customer and make sure you not only answer the complaint but explain the problem if you can. He illustrates with the following example (review and response):
Make sure you’re consistent with your bad reviews. Don’t address one customer but ignore the other. Also make sure to reward those good reviews. Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation. Afterall, those are the customers you want bringing their friends who can give you the same rave review!
4. Monitor Your Presence on Yelp
Understand Yelp and treat the environment as you would your business’ physical address. Who are your competitors, who are your customers, what are the opportunities and where can you drive more reach/engagement? What are your ratings distribution and trend? Keep these questions in mind when you’re building out your pages. Make sure the photos posted are helpful and rather than rely on your users, why don’t you post some yourself? Also understand how Yelp ranks reviews/keywords and filters reviews. Below is a video introduction that you will find useful:
5. Leverage Positive Reviews Across Other Channels
Just got your first rave review? You can leverage that positive review across other marketing channels. Quote the reviewer on your website or social media channels. If the person has a food blog, ask if they wouldn’t mind writing a review.
Are these tips helpful for your business? What are some tactics you have tried for your business on Yelp that can be added to this list?