Small businesses are quickly realizing the importance of having a strong presence on social media, and platforms like Yelp are quickly becoming (almost) as important as having a quality product or service. If you’re still not convinced, consider the fact that Yelp currently has over 100 million unique users per month – and it’s still growing. If you don’t have an account, or you feel like you’re in over your head, we will take you through four simple steps that can help get your business set up, and found on Yelp.
1. How to Create a Yelp Business Account: The first step to creating your Yelp business account is to visit the Yelp for Business Owners page (https://biz.yelp.com), and search for your business. This ensures that an account for your business hasn’t already been set up, and that there won’t be duplicate accounts. After confirming that an account for your business hasn’t already been created, you will want to click the “Add your business to Yelp” link to enter your businesses information. Enter all applicable information. The more information you fill out the better! Once all your business information is filled out, enter your email address and click “Add”. Yelp will respond with an email to confirm your sign-up (which can take a few days) and allow you to view your newly created account.
2. Personalize Your Account Once your account is unlocked, it’s important to give your page a personal touch. It will not only make your listing stand out more, but it’s also a great opportunity to show customers what your business is all about. Adding pictures should be your first step. People love looking at pictures. This is a great way to visually represent your business and highlight some of your main products. If you’re a restaurant/bar or coffee shop, add pictures of your most popular dishes or beverages or a picture of your menu. If you own a boutique, add pictures of hot new merchandise. It’s also a good idea to have one or two pictures of the front of your store. This will let new customers know what to look for when they visit for the first time.
3. Build (Legitimate) Reviews At the end of the day Yelp is all about reviews. Having a large number of reviews legitimizes your business and provides social proof to potential customers. Getting the first few reviews can be difficult, but you should never try to solicit, or even worse, pay for reviews. If you get caught with fake or spam reviews, Yelp will put the below notification on your page for all to see. Not good! The best way to gain new, unbiased reviews is to encourage engagement. Here are a few ways you can increase your Yelp page authority and build a solid foundation of reviews:
4. Engage with Customers Some business owners shy away from responding to reviews, but Yelp rewards businesses that engage with customers and provide meaningful responses to their reviews. It seems simple, but responding to customers should be done methodically and with care. We’ve all seen instances where comments on the internet can be misconstrued or taken out of context, and your business page is the last place you want this to happen. Here are a few guidelines when responding to both positive and negative reviews:
Positive Reviews: Responding to positive reviews seems easy (and it should be), but often times business owners overcomplicate it. Simplicity is best. Don’t try to provide discounts or free drinks to customers who give positive reviews. This could come across as desperate, or worse, as bribery. A simple “Thank You” can go a long way.
Negative Reviews: Responding to negative reviews can be very difficult for business owners. Owners see their business as an extension of themselves, and sometimes it’s hard hearing customers express negative feelings towards their life’s work. You do not need to respond to every negative review. Pick your battles. If you are going to respond to a negative review, take a step back and try to understand the disgruntled customers’ point of view. Most of the time they aren’t looking for an immediate remedy, they simply want to know that their voice is being heard. The last thing you want to do is engage in a comment war over Yelp.Yelp allows you to choose whether you want to respond privately, or if you want to make a public response to a review. Private responses are best in situations where the customer was extremely unhappy or an issue has not, or cannot be resolved in the immediate future. A public response is best used to provide commentary about a specific situation or a resolution to a complaint. Again, pick your battles. If a review is too heated and a solution seems impossible, no response is the best response.If you’re a small business owner, let us know about your experiences or tricks that helped you get found on Yelp. In a follow-up article we will be discussing the different types of paid sponsorships Yelp offers to businesses, so stay tuned!