Update your profile
Your profile is your opportunity to shine, so include as much information as the platform will allow. It is crucial that you claim your business before anyone else. Understand:
- Images and logos (Geolocate them, this tells Google where the images are, which increases your visibility.)
- Web site address
- Opening Hours
- Price scale
- Miscellaneous information relevant to your business (The more you are crazy, the more I put on my page details about myself and what we do differently from the competition. I put as many words as Yelp will allow in each field of description.)
Networking In A World Led By Influence
Sixty-seven percent of consumers are influenced by critics when they buy. Encourage commitment without being too promotional. Consumers do not like being exploited as fodder marketing, so mentioning that you are on Yelp will get a better response than sending specific requests for comments. I recommend always asking happy customers to "consult us on Yelp, it really helps us to show people what kind of business we are."
Consider your key influencers as you plan your campaign. "Yelp Elites" are approved annually based on their activity and their franchise. The quality of their reviews has been rated as above average users, and many have pseudo-celebrities on the site, so this is the category of user you're looking at to hire.
Yelp events give you the ability to network with reviewers, and Elite members make ideal hosts. Keep an eye on events and focus on becoming a Yelp elite. When that happens, the strong Yelp members will find you. The site itself has an event section, but that does not mean that you are aware of the same events as the elites.
Including a basic Yelp badge on your site and on social networking pages will also encourage commitment.
Dealing with complaints
Negative reviews can erase your progress if they are not managed intelligently. Look for the problem before responding. Find out everything you can about the complaint and the influence of the writer. Take your time to carefully consider the tone, location and other details that might influence your response. Cautious and honest excuses are justified, but keep your answer based on the solution. For example, I always contact clients with a private message such as: "I am so sorry for your experience and would like to hear what is happening and do it for you." What is the best number to call you? "I keep on contacting them until they answer.
The use to your advantage
Users have accused Yelp in the past of punishing businesses that do not pay for advertising by pushing their ratings down. All the legal complaints attached to this myth have been rejected. Yelp has a powerful algorithm that nobody really knows how to beat, but you can bet that people will continue to complain about false reviews.
Enjoy your network. If you have a restaurant, go to Yelp and ask all your friends who have eaten at home to visit Yelp. Ask people if they know other people on Yelp who would be interested in coming for a private tasting or something related to your industry, and look at the reviews. My company has over 200 Yelp reviews and has been able to retain almost five star ratings.
One of the keys to success is to remember to use it as a tool. When you talk about a negative opinion, you also learn what you can do best as a business to prevent this from happening again. You can not silence online chatter about your brand, but think of each review as an opportunity to shape public perception. Humility, honesty and a proactive approach are the workings of a successful presence on Yelp.
Tommy Mello is the owner of A1 Garage Door Repair, a ten million dollar company a year. He is partner of Highest Cast Offer and partner / owner in more than 14 companies.